The types of business analysis software available vary according to whether they have a financial or customer orientation. Some software packages focus exclusively on investment projects, while others help maximize the activities of a sales force. Customer relationship management (CRM) software packages help the firm to organize its customer base, evaluate marketing activities and monitor purchasing behavior. Business analysis software may also allow organizations to receive predictions concerning probable strategic decisions, such as expanding operations to a new geographic region or the introduction of a new flavor to an existing product line.
Since business leaders must make complicated strategic decisions swiftly, business analysis software can help them to analyze conglomerates of financial information within minutes. A valuable type of software package takes data inputs according to an investment project's expected yearly cash flows. Business productivity software, such as a spreadsheet program, can compute whether a particular investment will produce a positive gain or a negative loss at the end of its life. For example, a firm can find out if the purchase of a new building will yield a positive cash flow at the end of fifteen years.
Sales managers might use a type of business analysis software that provides them with information related to the performance of individual sales representatives, product categories and markets. These enterprise-scale software packages are often integrated across various levels of responsibility and activities. For instance, a sales representative may spend his day taking orders and closing sales on a handheld computer. At the end of the day, that information is uploaded to a server interface program accessed by warehouse personnel, front-line managers and corporate executives.
Enterprise sales productivity software allows multiple users within an organization to see and analyze the same information for different uses. Company executives may be more interested in sales figures that indicate how regional markets are responding to individual product lines or the average amount of hours sales representatives are spending in the field. Front-line managers may be focused on whether all accounts are being serviced according to an established schedule. Representatives might use the same information to present business reviews to account level decision makers when attempting to produce incremental sales.
Customer relationship management software is a type of business analysis software that allows leaders to make strategic marketing decisions. These applications collect and analyze data related to customer and sales activity. Most CRM packages keep track of efforts as well as results. Strategic decisions related to advertising messages, brand positioning, promotions and target market segmentation can be made based on a CRM software analysis.