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Small Teams Tell Us Their Favorite Accounting Apps for Under 10 People

By Lauren Maffeo, 14 August 2017

The most popular product isn't always right for you. This adage is especially true when it comes to accounting software. It might seem like you have hundreds of choices. But when you narrow those down to accounting apps for under 10 people, you'll have far fewer options—and that's not a bad thing. (more…)

Analytics vs Business Intelligence: Which One Does Your Small Business Need?

By Craig Borowski, 14 August 2017

Small businesses have a variety of questions about analytics apps and business intelligence (BI) tools. The most common of which is— which one do we need? And it's a great question because they're both in the same ballpark. And— thanks to the kaleidoscopic language some vendors use to describe them— both can appear to wear the same uniform. Only after a closer look does it become clear that while analytics and BI apps are in the same ballpark, they are playing different games. Still unclear? Let's try a different analogy: The difference between analytics and business intelligence is similar to the difference between knowing the answer to one question and knowing how to find the answer to it. One solves an immediate problem; the other prepares you to solve similar questions down the road. Still unclear? Read on below for our plain English comparison of analytics and business intelligence tools. We lay out the differences in black and white, provide some clear examples and hear from real-world small and midsize business (SMB) software users of both analytics and BI software. Analytics vs Business Intelligence Analytics Analytics applications are also called reporting tools and dashboards. While there are slight differences in how vendors describe and present them within the software UI, these three terms describe largely similar functionalities. To help you know what you're looking at, analytics tools will typically have some or all of the following characteristics: They're often part of larger department-specific software platforms, like those used by sales, marketing and customer service departments They report information in graphical form, often on a centralized dashboard They directly support business processes (as opposed to informing business strategy decisions) To “support business processes", analytics tools are designed to present the specific information upon which that specific business process relies. In the table below are some examples of common business processes and the types of related questions which analytics tools can answer: Business process: Process questions that analytics can help answer: Make sales call to an existing client How many units did the client purchase this week/month/quarter? Determine scheduling for customer service agents What is typical weekday volume of service requests? How many service requests does an average agent answer per day? Launch a new marketing campaign Which previous campaign has delivered the best ROI? Which email subject line has the highest open rate? Chances are, some of the software your business uses already provides some degree of analytics. But if employees spend too much time searching for basic data to carry out their roles, then there's a good chance that better analytical tools would improve efficiency and performance. Business Intelligence Returning to our baseball analogy, we're now going to throw you a little curveball. Because those reporting and analytics tools we just covered aren't actually a discrete category. They're part of a larger continuum of tools: “In reality, BI capabilities or techniques form a continuum from the relatively straightforward (e.g. reporting) to the highly complex (e.g. the use of neural networks or self-learning algorithms)." Clarifying the Many Meanings of "Analytics" (Available to Gartner clients) So when a SMB outgrows its analytics tools and reporting dashboards and starts looking to implement a BI tool or platform, what type of additional functionality can it expect? Generally speaking, BI tools can: Integrate and analyze data from multiple sources Let employees across the organization create department-specific visualizations, reports and analyses Build more advanced analytics models that can answer, for example, “what if?" questions Provide broader, deeper insight spanning many variables, helping inform business strategy decisions Let's look at some common use-cases, broken down by business department, to see how BI tools take analytics to the next level: Department Questions BI tools can help answer Sales What portion of customers who buy Product A come back within 30 days to buy Product B? How about products A and C? Which of these products should we consider bundling together for a discount? Customer service What's the relationship between last month's sales volume and this month's volume of customer service requests? How many new self-service articles would we need to put online in order for our daily service request volume to drop by 20 percent? The C-suite If we extend our free trial another month, how many additional trial users will become full paying customers? Would this strategy be better supported by hiring more service agents or more salespeople? Which tools are out there? Now that the difference between analytics and BI is clearer, we can make a distinction between software tools that are best suited for each. If you're looking for Analytics… 1. Netsuite's CRM platform includes analytics applications that are “able to integrate back-office metrics and data with front-office operations to provide upper management with a complete view of their organization.“ Analytics dashboard in Netsuite CRM This makes it possible to track and monitor a wide range of business processes, all from a centralized analytics dashboard. As one reviewer writes, “Since everyone in your organization is connected to the customer relationship management software, you can track each employee's workflow, task-completion ratio and progress reports." 2. TeamSupport is a B2B customer support platform with built-in analytics dashboards. Reporting dashboard in TeamSupport One advantage of analytics and reporting tools over full-fledged BI platforms is their relative simplicity and ease of use. This means they're much more likely to be used by the people and departments who need them most. This point is mentioned frequently in reviews: “TeamSupport is very user-friendly. The ability to organize tickets with tags, types, and owners is a tremendous value to our support team. Our Support Team particularly loves being able to insert images into our customer responses. TeamSupport reports are also really helpful and easy to use." 3. Highspot is a sales enablement platform that helps sales and marketing teams work together more effectively. Analytics for content performance help marketing teams track their success over time Platforms like Highspot that connect two or more departments to help unlock the most elusive of business buzzwords, synergy. To unlock it for your own business, look for reviews that mention the multi-purpose value of cross-departmental software solutions. Like this one, for Highspot: “My team loves this software. We are able to conduct trainings and present online content to our customers very effectively!" 4. Asana is a task and project management solution designed to increase collaboration and efficiency. A streamlined, personalized dashboard in asana showing an individual's most relevant analytics Some platforms allow individual team members to create and view their own personalized dashboards. This can be a great benefit to individual performance and can help increase adoption of the platform across the organization. As one reviewer writes: “Asana has amazing options for manipulating each task are incredible and are close to exactly how I would have hoped they would be. It is really laid out well visually (thanks, in part to the section headers), so, being a visual person, I can easily find the task I'm looking for, even in lists of 30 items. This has saved me a lot of time and confusion that would result in endless task list reorganizing before Asana." More about Analytics: How to Choose Data Visualization Software for Business: A Handy Checklist Beauty by the Numbers: 4 Data Visualization Apps for Business An Excel Alternative for Instant Analytics That Transforms Your Sales Processes If you're looking for Business Intelligence… 1. Sisense is a mobile-friendly BI platform that helps companies summarize and analyze large datasets with visual and reporting features. Lead generation dashboard in BI tool Sisense As mentioned above, one of the main benefits of BI software is that it lets employees with little or no background in data science create tools which are, nevertheless, based on data science. As one reviewer confirms: “I'm a product manager, not a data scientist or linux guru. I needed a means of developing business analytics tools quickly that would meet my customers' needs. Sisense provides a platform for ETL, and web-based dashboard design that works really well." 2. Domo is a cloud-based BI platform designed to create real-time dashboards that pull from a wide variety of sources, including from third-party platforms with help from Domo's numerous “Connectors". A dashboard created with Domo showing a very wide variety of information about a company's eCommerce activity The best BI tools strike a balance between usability and the number of features and functions they offer. If too many features are added, the product's usability can go down, especially among less tech-savvy users. Reviews of BI tools often emphasize their usability, “[We] introduced DOMO into our organization in 2014 and it has been instrumental in making business decisions. The product itself is intuitive, attractive, and robust. There are a number of data sources that already have API links making it easy and seamless to feed data into DOMO from other SaaS products." 3. Halo is a BI platform for supply chain management that collects and analyzes data from a wide range of sources. BI tools like Halo help visualize patterns, trends, and relationships among complex and interrelated datasets BI tools help visualize the “big picture" when other more specialized tools might only help visualize smaller components. Additionally, since BI tools often handle larger datasets, many will include tools for data preparation and validation. This can lead to faster, more reliable results. As one reviewer explains, “The other real benefit we experienced was the ability to import data from multiple sets of systems, integrate them into one cohesive data set, validate the data, and deliver actionable prebuilt templates for our industry." 4. Chartio is a cloud-based BI tool with a focus on usability. It can incorporate data from a range of formats and sources, including PostgreSQL, MySQL, Amazon Redshift, Google BigQuery, Salesforce, Google Analytics, and Twilio. One final advantage of BI tools that's definitely worth mentioning: They can, on occasion, give answers to questions you never even thought to ask! Simply by giving more employees more power to explore existing data, BI tools can help uncover relationships, strategies, and metrics which had simply been overlooked. As one reviewer writes of Chartio, “This helped us discover key business metrics we should have been watching more closely. As well as help set benchmarks to strive towards!" More about BI: What Is Business Intelligence: A Beginner's Guide What to Look for in Business Intelligence Software: A Handy Checklist How to Choose a Business Intelligence Application for Your Business

Billing and Invoicing software features guide: Things to look for when choosing a solution

By Deeksha Malik, 11 August 2017

Regardless of how big or small your business is, or what products or services you are offering, managing billing and invoicing process sounds about as exciting as going to a dentist. Billing and invoicing could be your least favorite type of paperwork, particularly if you're managing multiple clients. It's unfortunately one of the most important tasks that demand complete diligence and accuracy with no scope for mistake. Without a streamlined billing and invoicing system, you could see major delays in receiving payments that could have a negative impact on your finances, as well as the overall performance of your business. (more…)

5 field service management challenges and how to overcome them

By Rhian Davies, 10 August 2017

Field service managers need to do more than ever before to keep their organizations afloat. Ensuring that customer expectations are met, and the work of field technicians and office processes are harmonized, all whilst ensuring the safety of staff and turning a profit are just some of the targets that field managers need to meet. Yet 73 percent of field service organizations say that they're still struggling to achieve growth in revenue. (more…)

The Best Project Management AI Apps for iPhone

By Lauren Maffeo, 9 August 2017

Does it seem like AI is everywhere these days? It's not your imagination. Artificial intelligence impacts aspects of our lives including work, entertainment, and especially software. (more…)

How to Choose the Right Franchise Management Software to Manage Multiple Outlets

By Abhishek Singh, 3 August 2017

According to the 2016 Top Markets Report Franchising survey, franchising has been a significant industry sector of the US economy, accounting for 50 percent of retail sales across 75 industries and generating one in seven jobs. The survey, conducted by the US Department of Commerce, said that approximately 780,000 franchise businesses employed over 8.8 million people and contributed over $890 billion to the US economy. (more…)

6 free website chat apps to keep customers on your site

By Suzie Blaszkiewicz, 3 August 2017

You're doing some online shopping, looking for the best deal on your next big purchase, when a chat box pops up in the lower right hand corner of your screen. (more…)

Marketing Automation Features Guide: Things to Look for When Choosing a Solution

By Deeksha Malik, 3 August 2017

A growing number of marketers nowadays are technology dependent. They are utilizing technology and software inside the organization and also externally to communicate with clients, customers, and vendors. If you have a marketing automation software, would you say that you are using all its functionalities? What if you're overlooking a valuable feature just because you don't know about it? (more…)

How to choose issue tracking software to squash bugs quicker

By Rishabh Saxena, 3 August 2017

No matter what kind of project or product, bugs and issues are ever present. They hold up the development process. Precious time is lost in sorting out problems. Even greater time is wasted if the right issue tracker is not used - whether working on a website, application, design form etc. This is why issue tracking systems are a vital part of any development team's tools. However, working out how to choose issue tracking software is often more complicated than squashing those bugs. Here are a list of points that should be considered when deciding what issue tracking software your team should be using. Adaptability Most projects today involve different technologies, frameworks, and tools. Each of these are subject to the constantly evolving needs and priorities of the project as well as their scalability. Ideally, the issue tracker should be independent of the underlying technology. Some conventional issue tracking systems require a back end setup on a specific database such as MySQL. While these conventional systems can be good log based systems in certain projects, they may not be suitable for projects which are less text-based and more visual-based. If working in web development, most modern tools and frameworks such as React, AngularJS etc. heavily focus on the visual aspect and user interface of applications and websites. These kinds of projects would benefit from using visual issue tracking platforms. Suitability for teams If an issue tracking solution is not suited to the team, it can be a complete disaster. The team will be bogged down even further in navigating through the system rather than solving bugs, that they might as well not have a system in place. Choosing the right fit for your team is paramount. All teams in an organization don't need to use the same kind of issue tracking system, as every team will not be performing the same function. Neither will all the teams be working on the same kind of projects. That being said, choosing an issue tracker that makes it accessible for as many stakeholders to participate in the process as possible is always good. For one, it saves resources - both in terms of money and time. Setting up different systems for developers, designers, managers, quality assurance testers etc. can be a painstaking process. Log-based systems can be tedious for managers and external clients to access and discern. A website issue tracker, on the other hand, needs to have enough functionality to satisfy the technical requirements of designers as well as developers. So whether you for a visual website issue tracker like zipBoard or a project management oriented bug tracker like JIRA, make sure it works for your team. User friendly The matter of who the end user is should also be an important part of your consideration. Some organizations have issue trackers set up only for internal teams. But a growing trend is collecting customer feedback that registers as bugs on the system. While there is the option to set up a support system (such as a live chat) on services like Zendesk or Intercom and then integrate them with issue tracking systems, some companies want bug and issue tracking systems that can be accessed directly by the end user. For example, in websites, this can be done by embedding custom JavaScript code into the native code. Another option is to let users submit bugs and issues in the form of a publicly shareable link that can give context to the product team with an image rather than just text. Either way, having an issue tracker that is suited to the end user can help teams cut down on the process of collecting user feedback via separate channels. This can save time, and streamline the issue tracking process. Cost Each team does not have access to the same kind of resources so, rather than choosing an issue tracker that runs parallel to all other development tools, teams are opting for subscription-based trackers. The advantage of using a software-as-a-service (SaaS) issue and bug tracker is that: There is little to no technical overhead on your side Having all the data in the cloud makes remote web development collaboration easier Scaling as per needs is quick and easy as you can easily add (or remove) users when required. How to choose issue tracking software: next steps Finding the right project or website issue tracker is important to get your team effectively iterating on core development. Moving forward with new features is difficult without addressing the backlog of issues. To do so efficiently, consider the points listed above on how to choose issue tracking software. If you're already using an issue tracker, go ahead, leave a review on GetApp to help other users understand how it works for your team. Rishabh Saxena is a digital marketer with an interest in web development and designs. To read more of his articles, find him on Medium.

Avoid rent discontent: 5 fully-furnished mobile apps for real estate agents

By Abhishek Singh, 28 July 2017

Being a landlord or a property manager can pay handsome dividends, but it can also be a living nightmare. From trying to get your properties listed, through managing a bunch of maintenance contractors, up to trying to squeeze rent out of your tenants, the process of property management is fraught with headaches. Thankfully, help is at hand as there are plenty of mobile apps for real estate agents that can help you with managing leases, renting, maintenance, and more, for all types of property, including: (more…)