Small and large enterprises alike are continually trying to improve ROI through smart investments in software applications and web-based platforms. Through trial and error, as well as significant investment across the spectrum, it's clear there are a lot of ways to improve efficiency and make money doing so. The following 10 ways demonstrate valuable improvements to ROI through tech investments.
1. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
CRM systems help to integrate aspects of business operations and sales cycle to convert leads into revenue. Salesforce.com is a Software as a Service (SaaS) solution for CRM that is customizable and provides a high level of data analysis on sales and has proven to be a good return on investment. For example, when Japan Post integrated Salesforce, it centralized data administration which saved time and millions in costs.
2. Big Data
Big data has become a hot new topic over the last few years as companies find new ways to analyze mountains of data. Hadoop is a programming technology that can integrate all types of structured and unstructured data quickly to provide instructive analysis much quicker than analysts could before. These platforms have incorporated the most common tools, like Excel on Hadoop, so that even small businesses with simple data can benefit from its quick data analysis.
3. Data Integration
Another form of big data is data integration. Previously, businesses and researchers spent a great deal of time collecting and comparing data. New software allows for different types of data to be integrated on one platform for easy comparison. Cancer research companies are taking advantage of this technology to streamline companion diagnostics in patient treatment, in turn helping reduce millions of dollars in expenses from additional testing that no longer needs to occur.
4. Social Media
Social media allows content to be distributed with exponential speed through networks of friends. Organizations that take advantage of social media can achieve incredible results. For example, the ALS Society's "Ice Bucket Challenge" raised hundreds of millions for ALS research based on a free social media friendly viral video, providing infinite ROI.
5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO that is optimized for e-commerce helps companies attract consumers that are interested in their products. For example, a shoe company may optimize its landing page for people that are searching for running gear. The company places a small investment into page design and receive a big return on new customers that are directed by results from the search engine.
6. Custom Training
Custom training services help employees administer and utilize software so that companies can effectively use what they buy. If a software does not have the right inputs of information, it will not be as productive. More and more training services are available on the market to help employers and employees optimize the tools they already have. This improves ROI on the software that is already owned without too much extra cost.
7. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
Companies like SAP have produced ERP solutions for years that help manufacturers organize their assembly lines. Today, more and more SaaS low-cost options like NetSuite are available. These help reduce spoilage, accidents and missing items. They also reduce the need to hold inventory, which is a huge capital cost.
8. Supply Chain Management
Global supply chains are more complicated than ever. Tracking, shipping and developing products to meet demanding schedules is extremely complex. New tools help mid-size companies create just-in-time processes that increase productivity and reduce costs.
Adwords is the ubiquitous tool from Google that e-tailers are using to jump-start or improve their web businesses. Adwords is so effective because it produces instant traffic from the Google fire hose of users. In addition, consumers of this product can monitor their exact ROI by seeing how much they spend, and how much revenue is earned from those dollars. They can easily alter the keywords that they use to optimize the best ROI.
10. Cyber Security
Cyber threats have become an enormous risk to business. Major companies like Target and Sony have endured serious cyber breaches that have cost hundreds of millions. While it is hard to compute an exact ROI from these tools, it is easy to understand the massive damage that a cyber attack could potentially create.
Overall, there are many new software and internet tools that can be used to boost company ROI, and with more tools constantly emerging, managing your business has never been easier.