Understanding the decision-making process regarding software-based business solutions — from assessing business needs to evaluation and selection through implementation and application — can significantly impact your organization’s success.

The Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC) online Master of Business Administration (MBA) includes a course titled Software-Based Business Solutions, which focuses on selecting appropriate software tools to match management applications. Business intelligence (BI) tools, data analytics software, cloud-based computing services and other software tools are integral to success in today’s technology-driven business environment.

Managers must understand how to choose the right technologies for a business’ needs, integrate them into processes and use them effectively to create solutions and maximize their positive impact on business outcomes. Here are some of the important considerations in every step of the process:

Types of Business Software Solutions

Most business software solutions either automate or streamline business processes, resulting in greater efficiency and profitability. Here is a small sampling of the types of software that graduates of the MBA program may consider, evaluate and use in their careers:

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): ERP solutions consist of software modules that streamline and automate various business functions. Modules may include accounting, inventory management, e-commerce, human resources and customer relationship marketing (CRM). Together, one system operates from a centralized database so personnel can collaborate using real-time data. ERP systems provide business intelligence and actionable insights through dashboards and reporting tools.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM): These systems enable marketing and sales professionals to collaborate in order to manage the sales funnel from lead tracking to lifecycle customer management. Functions include managing marketing campaigns, communicating with customers and tracking order progress.

Supply Chain Management (SCM): These solutions enable supply chain and logistics professionals to streamline the process from procurement to distribution. They provide data on raw materials, vendors, order processing, inventory management and distribution.

Software Evaluation and Selection

Software exists to solve business problems and improve business performance. Once you have assessed your business’ strengths and weaknesses and determined that you have outgrown manual processes or legacy software solutions, there are many potential gains to consider as you evaluate and select the right software solutions for each business function. Here are some of the most essential considerations:

Boost your company’s efficiency and productivity: Modern software enables business professionals to accomplish more in less time. To remain competitively profitable, businesses must perform at the highest levels of efficiency and cost-effectiveness. An analysis of efficiency gains considers employee time management, productivity, labor and operational costs.

Enhance your team’s skills and capabilities: The types of software you choose will determine the skills you seek in the labor market, and your team’s evolving skills will guide your software investments. For example, sophisticated CRM solutions are most effective when you have expert digital marketers who can optimize the technology’s potential. Modern software solutions — using technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning — also expand your business’ capabilities.

Invest in scalability and accessibility: Cloud-based software infrastructure has enabled businesses to invest in software as a service (SaaS) through a subscription model. It has reduced or eliminated the need for extensive hardware and IT personnel investments. Now, businesses can purchase just the software they need at the moment and upgrade as their needs evolve. With this model, the vendor manages cyber security, system updates and ongoing maintenance. Because the software is hosted online and not on local servers, personnel can access it from anywhere, including on mobile devices.

Project Management and Implementation

TAMU-CC’s online students develop comprehensive business acumen through core courses in accounting, finance, economics, statistics and decision analysis, marketing, operations and organizational strategy. Then, applying this diverse skill set in the program, they learn how to manage inter-departmental teams on projects and lead their organizations toward optimal decision-making. While many business professionals have specialized skills in one business discipline, the ability to assess and manage the needs of different business functions makes MBA graduates natural leaders in this process.

Graduates of this program are also equipped with the skills to lead people, processes, data and systems. They know how to work with human resources to match personnel to the new system capabilities, map business processes to the software, analyze data and business performance and put all these pieces together for success.

Learn more about Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi’s online Master of Business Administration program.