As a new year dawns, the need for advanced software solutions only continues to grow. Businesses both small and large alike have need for a complex variety of software solutions, whether they be to tend to the day-to-day needs of customers or to more efficiently facilitate employee operations. While the need is universal, the understanding of how many of these software suites benefit businesses is more nuanced.
Most businesses and professional organizations utilize software and hardware infrastructures built around compatibility with Microsoft and Windows-based applications. Given the sheer rate of adoption of these services among the general population, it is not surprising that most businesses choose to adopt Windows-based solutions in lieu of other options (such as Mac and Linux).
With 2021 upon us, what software choices should businesses be making that are both compatible with Windows and provide real benefit? Keep reading to find out more.
Used by businesses and individuals alike, the Slack platform is a versatile Windows-compatible platform designed to bolster day-to-day communication efficiency. While email and telephone communications still have a place in business life, being able to reach an individual 24/7 – across a variety of platforms and regardless of whether they’re at their desk – is an invaluable benefit. Likewise, Slack can be used to reach not just one, but a plethora of individuals in real-time.
Slack offers direct messaging as well as group messaging features. Servers and channels can be configured to compartmentalize various departments, tasks and projects, helping to better facilitate collaborative functions where needed. Slack offers an experience for businesses that allows individual employees to be presented with the information, guidance and collaboration required for a job without overwhelming workers with a litany of distracting communiques.
Slack comes in three standard varieties: regular Slack (free), Slack Standard (approximately $7 per month per user) and Slack Plus ($12.50 per month per user). An enterprise solution also exists, designed for extra-large businesses.
Sage Business Cloud Accounting
With complex tax codes, budgetary concerns and a variety of expenditures to evaluate on a regular basis, businesses must have a solution that is versatile, professional and capable of living up to every accounting need. For a Windows-compatible solution, arguably the best choice is Sage Business Cloud Accounting. Offering a streamlined pricing structure (the premium Sage plan is $25 per month), businesses can access features capable of facilitating invoices, quotes, sales tax considerations, cash flow projections and multi-currency considerations.
Integrating accounting measures with the larger business infrastructure can sometimes be complex, which is why IT company assistance is often recommended in these situations. Kansas City Managed IT, a Kansas City IT support team that businesses rely upon, offers application and server support alongside cloud-based assistance – ideal for Sage Business Cloud Accounting use. While they offer local solutions to Kansas businesses, a Kansas City IT support team may not be optimal for businesses operating in a different locale. Nevertheless, the types of services this company provides is exemplary of the supplemental needs a business requires when utilizing cloud-based solutions.
Sage Business Cloud Accounting provides unlimited 24/7 customer support by phone and email, making it an ideal choice for businesses using Windows-based infrastructure that are in need of accounting solutions.
File storage that provides cloud-based functionality is a premier need for most businesses in the 21st century. Whether employees are working from home or side-by-side in an office setting, a reliable solution that allows easy updating, uploading and downloading of key business files makes Dropbox a prime contender for business software in 2021 and beyond.
Dropbox offers 4 unique plans depending on business needs. For individuals, their Plus and Professional solutions provide 2-3 TB of data and cost $9.99 and $16.58 per month, respectively. For teams and businesses, their Standard and Advanced plans offer 5 TB of data and up, with pricing ranging from $12.50 per month per user for Standard and $20 per month per user for Advanced.
Businesses operating via Microsoft and Window-based infrastructures will be happy to know that there is a plethora of productivity suites, including Trello. What does Trello provide businesses? For starters, Trello utilizes a graphical interface that promotes collaboration on projects and teams. Through cards, lists and boards, the premise of Trello is to ensure that team efforts can be tracked, organized and collaborated on while ensuring deadlines are met.
From to-do lists to file sharing and task assignment, Trello dramatically simplifies the project management process. Business pricing for Trello is currently $9.99 per month per user if paid annually.
While email isn’t the be-all and end-all communication method for businesses that it once was, it still serves a crucial role in the workplace. While traditional Windows-compatible email clients like Outlook cost more than $100 per user, equivalent feature-rich options such as Thunderbird can be procured for free. Even for businesses seeking to convert their Outlook inboxes, emails and address books to Thunderbird will only need to pay a one-time fee of $39 for the conversion (though this is through a third-party provider).
Thunderbird resembles Outlook substantially, but as a quasi-open-source solution, it provides additional flexibility to businesses not wanting to spend exorbitant sums of money. Designed by Mozilla, the Thunderbird client allows seamless integration of server-based and web-based email boxes – along with a library of third-party plugins that allow for additional flexibility.
Last, but definitely not least, LibreOffice is an incredible productivity suite that is comparable to Microsoft Office. Despite Microsoft down-scaling their pricing structure for businesses, the suite of options will still cost anywhere from $5-20 per month per user. With LibreOffice, no fees or purchases are required – this can save many businesses a ton of money on productivity software while still being completely compatible with Windows and Microsoft-based solutions.
Offering all of the functions you’d expect with MS Office, LibreOffice includes spreadsheet functionality, slideshow creation and word processing software in one suite. While LibreOffice doesn’t offer cloud-based solutions in its package, most businesses will find its offerings too good to pass up in 2021 when compared to the price tag associated with other productivity suites like MS Office.
Finding suitable software choices for 2021 and beyond that are compatible with Windows isn’t necessarily difficult, but some options offer better results than others. With these 6 options in particular, businesses can simultaneously enjoy the productivity they expect while also saving money when compared to more standard corporate solutions.