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Undiscovered Maine

Information Systems & Technologies

Information Systems & Technologies

Small businesses need to use information systems in order to remain competitive. In this section, we will provide information on major systems to potentially reduce costs and/or increase efficiency.  In my information systems & technologies classes at the University of Maine Business School, the students do a lot of research for clients in their consulting projects to find affordable, user-friendly systems for their small business clients.  I have listed some of the common ones below.  If you are a small business and would like a team of students to do a free consulting project to help your business, please contact me.

Please note that we have NOT used these systems below and are just listing them from our research, so we cannot actually endorse any of these products.

This web site is a collaborative space, so please contact us with software that you have used and would recommend so that we can provide others with good information!

Types of Information Systems & Technologies

  • Accounting:
    • Xero accounting software has been found to be very useful by the student teams.
    • A free cloud-based accounting software is Wave.
    • Freshbooks is another cloud-based accounting software with a few other features like invoicing.
  • Broadband Internet:
  • Collaboration: The ability for people to collaborate & share knowledge
    • Zoho Connect: This starts with a free plan and then allows you to upgrade for more space.
    • Basecamp: a software to manage all of your information and keep track of it.
    • Facebook Workplace: This is a good social media tool for communication and collaboration. There is a free standard plan.
  • Customer relationship management (CRM):
    • Insightly has been found to be a good way to track and manage your customers. They also have a free (limited) version.
    • HubSpot: this is another free CRM system that looks interesting.
    • Pipedrive: “The leading sales management tool small sales teams love to use.”
    • For restaurants: PosIQ:  “The only true Restaurant CRM solution. Fully integrated.” Pricing
    • Zoho: This is a pretty commonly used CRM system for small and medium businesses.
    • For lawyers: MyCase:  case management software or Law Firm Marketing 360.
  • Digital Marketing:
    • IdeaScale: is a software that allows you to “to involve the opinions of public and private communities by collecting their ideas and giving users a platform to vote.” It has a free version.
    • Mail Chimp: “Mailchimp makes it easy to create campaigns that connect with your audience at the right time and the right place.  This includes email, landing pages, postcards, sign-up forms, Google re-marketing ads and Facebook ads.  Note- there is a free version.
    • MoonMail has a free version that allows you to manage your email marketing campaigns.
    • RedCappi: also has a free email marketing plan for up to 100 customers.
    • Klaviyo: is an interesting integrated marketing tool that has a free version for up to 250 customers.
    • Facebook Ads: This is usually considered a powerful, cost-effective way to reach your target market customers.  This website shows the different options available including ads, videos, etc.
    • Amazon Ads: If you have any products on Amazon, this is a good way to promote them.
  • E-Commerce Systems:
    • Shopify:  This is one of the most popular and respected e-commerce software solutions for small businesses.  It also integrates with many different apps to extend its functionality.
    • Amazon Channel Feed- Ability Commerce: “Channel Feed service to manage products on Amazon. Once you provide the inventory to sell on Amazon, Ability Commerce Amazon experts will monitor your products daily to help you position products better, motivate buyers and, ultimately, boost sales.”
    • Big Commerce: “Build your online store; Customize your site, manage shipping and payments, and list your products on Amazon, Ebay, and Facebook with the #1 ecommerce platform. “
  • ERP: This is a software solution that includes basically any functional area you might need including accounting, inventory, CRM, SCM, etc.
    • Versaccounts: This is a cloud-based full-featured ERP system that would probably be suitable for a more established business.
    • Running a restaurant?  Take a look at Toast.
    • Pet grooming or boarding:  Kennel link
  • Inventory management:
    • Clearly Inventory looks like an interesting option for small businesses.
    • Inflow: completely manage your inventory business,easily control your stock, manage orders, and run your business more efficiently.” Pricing
  • Procurement (purchasing): Here is one commonly seen e-procurement software solution: Procurify
  • POS (Point of sale cash register type systems):
    • Revel: i-pad point of sale for restaurants and retail. Supports mobile and e-commerce.
    • Harbor Touch: A good option for a restaurant or small retailer… students reported the price as $39/month.
  • Scheduling: According to an Inc. article, these are some good software solutions (note that this article has a lot of other interesting small business software recommendations which we have included in other sections on this page.
  • Social Media management:
    • Buffer: “Save time on social media with powerful scheduling and analytics”. Note- there is a free limited version.
    • Hootsuite: scheduling social media, managing content, analytics and more.
    • Brand 24: This software mines data from social media sites to see what people are saying about your brand.
    • Trust Pilot:  This is a free rating software: ” With Trustpilot, people have a place to share and discover reviews of businesses, and every company has the tools to turn consumer feedback into business results.”
    • Zoho Social has a basic free edition that lets you manage your basic social media posts.
  • Human resource management: Again, according to this article in Inc. they recommend:
  • Supply chain management: Adopting supply chain management software (which usually includes inventory management, procurement, inventory management and logistics) can help small businesses become more competitive by automating processes, reducing costs and increasing efficiency and effectiveness in these areas. This software advice websitecompares SCM software.
    • Bizslate: “cloud-based business management solution enables small- and mid-sized distribution and manufacturing businesses (SMBs) to compete more effectively, reduce operational costs, and gain greater visibility into their supply chain.”
    • Kintone: This is geared towards small businesses and provides many features including “demand planning; inventory management; order management; sales & operations planning; shipping management; supplier management; supply chain collaboration; supply chain planning; transportation management; and warehouse management.”
    • Pyrus: This software is also appropriate for small businesses and helps to automate workflow: “Create tasks, set goals, add team members,  automated business process workflows, Streamlines communication”
  • Other Information Systems & Technologies:
    • Online ordering system: ChowNow
    • Systems for consulting companies:
      • Collaboration: Axero Solutions
      • CRM: Bullhorn
      • ERP: Avaza
      • A great review site for business software! GetApp This web site has compiled software solutions in virtually every category
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