In the digital age, business owners have plenty of choices when it comes to software products, apps, tailor-made programs, and other cyber work savers. What are the top choices among entrepreneurs in the 2020s, based on raw popularity and widespread adoption? Some answers may surprise you because they’ve been around for a number of years and are not even close to being considered cutting-edge technology. Service categories like outsourced IT security are not new but are near the top of the favorite tech list for owners of large and small companies.
Additionally, transport companies have been using fleet management software for years. But as that technology continues to grow in sophistication, more managers and owners realize that it is indispensable to the smooth operation of any delivery business. Likewise, tax-related products, AI-based investment planning tools, all sorts of CRM customer-relationship management) programs, sophisticated time card systems, and content editing bots are just a few of today’s most beloved, go-to resources for business owners who want to stay ahead of the competition. Here are closer looks at each tool.
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Outsourced IT Security
Unless you have a penchant for IT security work, it’s usually a good idea to outsource this crucial chore. Even small businesses have a need to avoid data theft, prevent malware from destroying their operating systems, and protect sensitive files. Fortunately, there’s now a cottage industry of stand-alone consulting firms that specialize in tech protection of all kinds and for organizations of all sizes. Startup owners are often pleasantly surprised to discover that the price of such services is reasonable and comes with long-term guarantees, especially for entrepreneurs who are willing to stick with one vendor for several years.
Fleet management programs do a lot. In fact, modern transport and shipping companies could not survive or compete without them. The days when owners could use manual systems to track vehicles are gone. Even operators of one-vehicle fleets use one or another version of a software product that keeps tabs on shipments, drivers, fuel use, vehicle maintenance, and scheduling needs. Electronic logging devices (ELDs) are a case in point. If you are a driver and have an ELD installed in your vehicle, you’ll never have to worry about exceeding hours-of-service (HOS) limits. For more information, review a comprehensive guide about electronic logging devices to see why they’re so important and how they save transport businesses huge sums of money by avoiding costly HOS violations by drivers.
As is the case with IT services, tax-related issues and their daily management are often out of reach of business owners. There are two ways to go in this situation. Smaller entities can opt for agile, comprehensive software products, have them installed by professionals, and not have to worry about reporting, filing, or overseeing taxation questions again. Of course, you’ll pay for installation and regular maintenance, but a full-service contract with a reputable vendor is the next best thing to hiring a CPA firm to do the work for you. Generally, the first option costs far less and will suffice for small organizations whose tax reporting needs are routine.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
Merchants large and small rely on agile CRM products to track sales, send follow-up emails to customers, contact buyers who never completed payment on a shopping cart, offer surveys to loyal clients, respond to inquiries or complaints, and do dozens of other essential tasks that help build stronger ties between organizations and their customer base. CRM products come in a wide variety of sophistication levels and prices. Startups can take advantage of several freeware offerings that are not only simple to install but give users a taste of more complex tools they’ll likely need after they gain market share.
Advanced Timecard Systems
Modern timecard systems use smart tools like biometric identity verification, detailed work tracking systems, 100 percent automation, payroll connected functionality, and much more. When workers arrive at the office or job site, these systems swing into action and record every pertinent piece of information for future use. For employees, there’s never a worry about whether they’re putting in too much overtime or missing out on PTO (paid time off) because timecard programs automatically calculate all the relevant data for every shift worked.
AI-based software products that have the ability to edit written content have come a long way in the past decade. Gone are the days when such programs did nothing more than simple spelling and grammar checks. Today’s agile programs do deep edits, search for odd grammatical usage, spot inappropriate jargon, uncover poor comma usage, and can even identify noun-verb agreement problems in lengthy sentences. Anyone who runs a blog, whether on a stand-alone vanity website or within a large corporate suite of sites, can take advantage of AI-based writing and composition products. Many are off-the-shelf versions, while others are built into online platforms and offered through web hosting companies.