Technology is complicated, and it’s often a challenge for business leaders to understand what should be top priority. Acronyms everywhere, a seemingly endless selection of products designed to provide a niche business function, and vendors more than happy to help. But what is the most important? What should you look for first when improving your technology stack? Glad you asked.

Software Priorities: What Leaders Consider the Most Important Technologies

One of the many questions asked of business leaders in our 2020 Business Software Outlook Survey asked respondents to rank the technologies they consider to be most important to them in 2020. Using a 1-5 scale, leaders were asked to determine the impact each of these has on their business. We took these data to create a weighted average, finding the following were ranked highest. Below, you will find our takeaways.

Accounting and Financial Management Software

With more businesses ranking this as a “5” than any other category, accounting and finance software was found to be the most important of all products, receiving a 3.79 average overall. For most businesses, ERP is the name of the game when it comes to managing finances, delivering a variety of functionality that often goes beyond financial management.

ERP often delivers a variety of functionality—accounting and financial management, human resources and payroll (ranks 4th on our most important list), project management (5th), and often delivers business intelligence functionality (6th).

ERP Defined

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software allows a company to manage various aspects of a business — such as accounting, inventory and human relations — in one place. Companies purchase the enterprise software modules that are relevant to their business and use the ERP software to view all the data collected by these modules in a uniform manner.

Cloud Management, Hosting, and Storage

A close second to accounting and financial management, cloud management received a 3.77 weighted average. An overarching delivery model, the cloud often represents a way of doing business. Whether companies are looking for something as simple as storage, leveraging the cloud to deliver security, or using pay-as-you-go software, many businesses put high regard for the clouds they use.

Important Cloud Definitions

Here are a few terms you may want to know:

  • Cloud Management Platform (CMP) – A cloud management platform is a suite of integrated software tools that an enterprise can use to monitor and control cloud computing resources.
  • Cloud backup – Data backed up in the cloud is transferred from a business to the data-storage provider’s servers over the Internet. Cloud backup, also called online backup, can be set up to occur automatically, making it a convenient data-storage option. It’s also an affordable service because it does not require the use of any additional hardware on the part of the business.
  • Cloud Security – A broad set of policies, technologies, applications, and controls utilized to protect virtualized IP, data, applications, services, and the associated infrastructure of cloud computing.

Customer Relationship Management

Another highly ranked part of a business technology stack, customer relationship management is a vital part of the ales process, the customer service process, and when integrated with ERP, a better quote-to-cash process.

CRM Defined

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software – Customer relationship management is the term used for the way a business collects and manages data about its clients. Companies use CRM software to keep track of all the information they collect on clients, such as service calls made, or previous products purchased. This helps businesses close future deals and grow relationships with customers.