The right software can give your company an edge over the competition. In fact, if you’re in an industry where competition is especially fierce, software can make the difference between surviving or thriving. For construction companies that rely on winning bids to sustain operations and grow, software can be a critical component in accurate and competitive bids.

You don’t have to take our word for it, there is plenty of research about the benefits of using software to improve efficiency. Harvard Business Review goes as far as saying that your software IS your company’s advantage, and Entrepreneur offers some of the advantages to be gained by embracing software to improve operations.

Types of business software

There are many types of software on the market to help your business run smoothly. Some are specific to tasks, like time tracking, while others may be specific to task and industry, like payroll for construction. Some software platforms handle tasks from several related areas of business, while others offer integrations that allow data to be more easily shared across multiple applications. Regardless of the type of software, however, the end goal is the same – simplify common business processes, reduce cost and provide insights that highlight growth opportunities.

You can find software solutions to help with just about every area of business, including but not limited to:

  • Time and attendance
  • Payroll and reporting
  • Project management
  • Purchasing and inventory
  • Estimating and bidding
  • Job costing

How software makes you more competitive

The day-to-day operations of a business can quickly become all encompassing, burying staff under repetitive, but necessary tasks. Since most administrative tasks are secondary to the actual work a company does, growth can be restricted simply by the volume of paperwork involved in taking on new business. Some industries feel this pain more than others, such as contractors that work on government contracts. This is where software shines, allowing companies to streamline and grow without the risk and cost of staffing up or outsourcing.

Here are a few of the critical ways software can give your company an edge over the competition:

Reduced administrative burdens: Administrative tasks can be particularly burdensome for smaller companies where one staff member is responsible for multiple areas, like invoicing, payroll, and scheduling. Software can solve this problem by reducing the time and effort it takes to handle common tasks, freeing up your team to tackle other projects. Companies that do prevailing wage work carry an even heavier admin burden that can limit their ability to take on new work. In this situation, streamlining processes with industry-specific software can be a game changer in both efficiency and growth.

Improved business insight: Having reliable data from all areas of your business is key to making smart business decisions. Ideally you want the ability to share and report on data between all related areas so you can paint a more complete picture of how you’re doing, what you can do better and where opportunities may be. This is where software comes into the picture, making it easy to gather and organize data in a way that facilitates better decision making.

Be more efficient:  Being more efficient is the cornerstone to growth, but there is a limit to how much you can improve without the help of software and automations. Software can limit the need for repetitive manual tasks, reduce errors and help you find and solve pain points that you may not have otherwise noticed. This can be especially critical for lean companies that depend on doing more with less, like smaller companies looking to compete with larger operations.

Provide better service or products: Using software can help reduce the number of things that “fall through the cracks.” This is even more critical if you have complex project management needs or tasks that require the coordinated efforts of multiple departments to complete. This is also helpful if you manage a large database of current clients, prospects or have complicated scheduling needs. The right software can help simplify your processes while tracking even the smallest details from start to finish.

Improved client / employee satisfaction: Your clients are likely to have a more positive experience when your business processes are both effective and efficient. This means that simply utilizing software to streamline operations can positively impact customer satisfaction and retention. Your employees are also likely to be more productive and feel more positive about their daily work. In turn, this can help improve staff retention and reduce turnover.

Easier to grow your business: Software can help you overcome staffing limitations that may be keeping you from growing. By freeing up time, creating efficiencies and automating tedious tasks, you’ll be able to take on additional projects or onboard more clients. You’ll also be able to more easily handle larger, more complicated and profitable projects. This is particularly true in highly competitive industries and for government contractors that have to comply with burdensome regulations.

How to implement new software

While it is easy to see the benefits, many companies are reluctant to implement software solutions, or update their current software and processes. This is generally due to the front-end cost and learning curve that is associated with onboarding software. It can also be difficult to get everyone to buy into a change, especially if it involves changes to fundamental businesses processes like payroll.

Fortunately, you can usually address concerns related to implementing new software by focusing on what, why and how the change will be handled.

What – What problem are you fixing? Sum up the problem in a simple statement and show how the software will address and resolve the problem. This is important because you can win or lose support if you don’t make a strong case.

Why – Why does it need to be fixed? This is where you show the impact of the problem and the benefits of fixing it through your proposed change. Be sure to use data where possible and show the cost of ignoring the problem. This can include the cost of extra time spent handling manual processes, the loss of revenue from being unable to take on new business. You may also want to include the issue of risk and reduced ability to compete.

How – How will you roll out the change? Changes can be disruptive, so be detailed when you describe the steps involved. Address concerns related to disruption of normal business operations, identify who will oversee the installation and discuss how training will be handled and offer a timeline.

Strategically using software to streamline business can make your organization more efficient. It also has the potential to help you save money, reduce risk and be more competitive. So while change may seem unnecessary because you are able to handle things now, it pays to consider new and more efficient methods.

Learn more about  how to integrate new software into your business.

The material presented here is educational in nature and is not intended to be, nor should be relied upon, as legal or financial advice. Please consult with an attorney or financial professional for advice.