There are a lot of buzzwords about software right?
Buzzwords can be helpful within any industry (ours included) to make our repetitive descriptions more efficient, but they don’t help people who aren’t familiar, or even worse we’re all just making up our own definitions.
So I want to define some of the most commonly used software buzzwords. If you feel like you’re missing something when you hear the words ERP, cloud based, SaaS, CRM and more… read on as we breakdown the buzzwords.
BI or Business Intelligence
Every company seems to have a different definition of business intelligence, so let’s talk about the basics, and then how we think of it here at Milestone.
BI is a term used for analyzing and reporting on data from multiple sources.
Milestone Definition: Business Reporting is the rear view mirror, it tells you about what’s happening today and yesterday.
Milestone Definition: Business Intelligence tells you about more than what’s happening in your business today, it tells you about the future.
The cloud is a network of servers housed and maintained by another company, that you access via a SaaS (Software as a Service) or IaaS (Infastructure as a Service) application.
The basics: The Cloud is someone else’s computers, servers and hardware that you access on the internet through an internet browser.
Continue for our definition of SaaS and IaaS.
Core financials describe the base financial accounting suite that usually includes the general ledger, accounts receivable, accounts payable, cash management, fixed assets and more.
CRM (Customer Relationship Management)
CRM is software that companies use to manage customers, leads, quotes, contact information, along with customer support tracking and automating marketing and sales processes.
CRM helps you log all of the steps, and track the interactions that lead from the first contact to the closed deal. This gives management better oversight and the ability to track trends, campaign success and patterns in buyers.
ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning)
ERP is a shared database software that will serve as the backbone you use to run your business. ERPmanages your financials, order management, inventory, distribution, manufacturing, operations, production, job costing, reporting and more.
With everything under the same software ‘umbrella’ you’ll be able to streamline and automate processes.
Depending on your business, you may choose complimentary applications that integrate with your ERPfor additional functionality like CRM or more in depth supply chain management, business intelligence, etc.
AKA: Accounting software, business management software
What is everyone going on about implementation? Why is this such a big deal?
The basics: ERP implementation is the process of installing your ERP software.
The nitty gritty: An ERP software installation is so much more than any other software install process you will go through. When done correctly, every business process is mapped, analyzed, revised, and analyzed again. This ensures that the system fits your business and helps identify bloated processes and opportunities to automate. Every financial account, incoming and outgoing process is documented and mapped for re-creation within the system.
These things may not sound like software installation, but the process of mapping your entire business and redesigning them or recreating them in the software is what we call ERP Implementation.
IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)
IaaS providers rent you access to their computing power, that you access through their software, via the internet, from your computer or device.
Examples: Your website host, G Suite, Amazon AWS, DropBox or Microsoft Azure.
Automating a process could be cutting down on the number of clicks necessary to complete a task, or it could completely automate a process previously done by a person that took upwards of 5 minutes at a time, like eliminating the need to duplicate data entry in more than one system.
SaaS (Software as a Service)
SaaS is an application that lives in ‘the cloud’, and you access from your computer or device.
When you use Office 365, Google Applications or GoToWebinar for instance, you are using SaaSapplications.
A web portal is a special website designed to give customers access to account information, create support cases, check status’ and make purchases.
It’s a secure place on the web where they can login and see their own account information that is only relevant to them.
Some other ways to use a portal could be to provide access for relevant vendors/suppliers or employee self-service, updating HR information.