In recent blogs, we’ve been looking at the different IT components that every business start-up needs to function. This week, we are focussing on software – the programmes that run on your computer and allow you to do everything you need to do.
The operating system is the basic software that runs your computer. The most common operating system is Microsoft Windows. It is simple and easy to use and does everything that most businesses need. PCs usually come with Microsoft Windows as the pre-installed operating system. But if you for the more expensive Apple computers, you will have OSX installed.
OSX (OS 10) is the Mac operating system. More visual than Windows, it has some advantages in stability and safety. Though the expense is usually enough to put off all but developers and creatives, for whom the Apple is the ultimate machine to won.
Servers also require operating systems, too. This is a more specialised area, with several options, so talk to an IT expert about which operating system is best if you need servers in your office.
An office suite allows you to open, read and work with common business documents and files. Microsoft Office is still the standard and it is likely your employees will be familiar with this software. There are free alternatives, but sometimes these struggle with opening Microsoft Office files.
Google Apps, such as Google Docs, Google Sheet etc. are becoming much more popular with businesses. Here, access to your documents comes through your web browser and files are automatically saved and stored in the cloud. The advantage is that you never lose documents and be access them from any device. The disadvantage is that Google Docs don’t have the same functionality as the standard Microsoft Office Suite
To access the web and any online software you have, you need a web browser. These are generally free. Popular options include Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox.
Every year, some bright spark pops up to say that email is dead, and soon we won’t be using email anymore. This is nonsense. Email is arguably the most important tool that businesses have to communicate with clients, partners, internally and with virtually anyone.
Many companies use Microsoft Outlook to send and receive emails, as well as tracking calendar dates and activities. Although you can run an email service in house, most businesses find that using a separate email provider is more cost-effective and reliable.
Email services are available from most web hosting companies, IT suppliers and cloud email providers.
Software as a Service is a standard model for businesses who need to run processes such as accounts, payroll, HR etc.
Systems such as Zero, Quickbooks etc are perfect for online accounting and bookkeeping. To track your sales and customers, many businesses use CRM software, which can keep details and contacts alongside information about who is ready to buy from you.
Many of these software solutions are cloud based and available for a monthly subscription, and are known generally as SAS – software as a service. Most also offer mobile apps that run on smartphones and tablet computers.
The beauty of cloud services working online is that they don’t have to be installed just one computer, or computer system, and can be accessed anywhere.
For more information about setting up your business software, or for a free audit of your existing IT software systems, talk to us today.