The modern business software space is filled with jargon that can sometimes leave professionals’ minds foggy. To be more specific, the highfalutin acronyms are the usual culprits in the confusion. People sometimes mistake one term for another while others completely fail to identify what each of the initials stands for.

Below is a brief overview of the important software systems, familiar with their acronyms, that seem to be the buzzwords these days. If you haven’t heard about them, don’t get too overwhelmed. Be equipped with the latest in software marketplace jargon so that you can begin studying and – perhaps in the immediate future – start implementing such solutions to maximize efficiency and facilitate growth.

CRM

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. CRM applications allow you to manage your relationships with existing and prospective customers. They’re designed to provide you with a central hub for all the processes happening within your entire sales funnel: managing sales, customer service, and technical support, and the like.

Certain activities like pulling up a list of new leads from a certain date to a certain date, complete with contact numbers and email addresses can be done through your CRM solution. You can keep tabs on all your customer activity, or use the customer information you already have to analyze trends and reveal the direction where your business is going. CRM applications such as Salesforce is extremely popular among organizations today, especially among small businesses.

ERP

Enterprise Resource Planning or ERP software will allow you to integrate various business processes and functions into one complete and central system. Think about the various facets you need to run your business – inventory management, accounting, human resources, and even your CRM. These processes belong to different departments, but they need to be streamlined for you to have a certain level of efficiency within your organization. That’s where your ERP solution is supposed to come in.

For instance, you have a great idea for a new product. Your ERP system will help you create a list of all the materials you need to make that product, then help you determine the cost of making it, plus the profit you’ll get once you start selling it. Once you get the general idea, you start moving into production or manufacturing. Your ERP will help you set up your supply chain – the purchase orders, delivery schedules, shipment, payments for the materials, logistics, the works. While all of this is happening, workforce and financial information should also be automatically flowing into your ERP system. Products such as NetSuite lead the pack of solutions providers designed for these purposes.

SaaS

SaaS or Software as a Service is an alternative way of accessing business-critical applications. Instead of actually purchasing and installing software on your computer, you run these programs over the internet. All of the processing and file saving happens on the internet, with users accessing these functions typically through browsers or web-enabled applications using their usernames and passwords.

Say, instead of selling you a copy of an office productivity suite (spreadsheets, word processing, etc.) for $2,500, a cloud company sells you the same software for perhaps $5 a month. You wouldn’t have to install any special software, nor you would be confined to your office computer to be able to use the suite. Or instead of spending thousands of dollars on the typical business phone carrier, a physical PBX, and a specialized IT team for communications, you can pay for access to a sophisticated cloud phone system that even the average end-user in your office can deploy and manage. Products such as G Suite can give your typical installable office software a run for its money. In the communications front, RingCentral is the frontrunner you should be aware of.

With so many acronyms and jargon in the world of business software, it’s high time to start decoding them and discover how they apply to your organization. Maybe it’s time to take the plunge and start modernizing your business.

About The Author:

Klaris Chua is a digital content marketer who has written many pieces on startups and small business communications. She used to be a reporter for a business newspaper, but the conventional path of a writer didn’t appeal to her. You can connect with her on Twitter.

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