Top IT Software Solutions in 2021
Before you purchase an IT software solution, it’s imperative to know your options. Discover the top IT software solutions on the market, along with each solution’s features, advantages, and price points.
The business landscape over the last ten years has become increasingly dependent upon information technology solutions to prop up business infrastructure and act as the foundation upon which growth and expansion are made possible. As a result, IT professionals are finding their roles to be increasingly complex when working directly for an organization. On the managed services side of the industry, service providers are being contracted to provide more and more customized software and services solutions in order to meet demand from B2B clients of all sizes.
In 2021, those trends have resulted in the IT industry placing an increased focus on systems integration, supply chain management improvements, increasing the efficiency of enterprise management solutions, and leveraging Business Intelligence solutions to provide consumers with the analytics they demand.
With these trends driving innovation, we wanted to focus on why it’s important to identify and partner with software and IT solutions providers who are capable of helping your business not only handle the day-to-day operations but also provide the framework for growth and expansion that will help to drive profitability.
Why Do You Need IT Software?
As we settle into the recovery stage from the global pandemic’s impact on 2020, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the businesses that embraced software solutions to address increased e-commerce and remote communications trends are the businesses that are thriving and evolving in 2021 as well. Information Technology software solutions provide businesses faster and more impactful methods for innovating and pivoting business models to meet the ever-changing demands of consumers. While IT software solutions are obviously a must-have for all businesses, the types of solutions and services your organization should seek out depend upon the industry in which you operate and your need for innovative solutions to keep up with the competition.
In this article, you’ll learn about:
- What Are the Different Types of IT Software?
- When Should You Purchase IT Software?
- Tips for Choosing the Best IT Software Solutions
- 30 Recommended IT Software Brands
What Are the Different Types of IT Software?
Software solutions come in as many varieties as the business solutions they are intended to provide. On the IT services section of the UpCity website, we provide a platform for businesses operating in these eight unique categories of software or services to communicate their expertise and educate visitors on the benefits of utilizing various IT software solutions.
With an increasing reliance on software and technology comes increased exposure to cyberattacks intended to steal or reveal sensitive client data. With the average cost of a data breach in the millions of dollars range, cybersecurity has become a top priority and concern facing modern businesses. As the field requires an increasingly specialized skill set and constant monitoring and attention in order to safeguard systems, many organizations are looking to outsource services or buy into software as a service (SaaS) model for cybersecurity solutions that help to monitor networks, encrypt data, various scanning, and detection tools, antivirus and firewall tools, managed detection services, and other services designed to detect, mitigate, and minimize exposure to modern attack methods.
Enterprise Resource Planning
Running a company is a complex mix of disciplines and processes that don’t always integrate well together. However, there’s an increasing demand by large and small businesses alike for software solutions that help to streamline operations. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software solutions integrate all of the processes necessary to run your organization into a single interface or dashboard.
It’s often a web-based portal that allows remote access and allows for real-time communication and access to the data necessary to make business-critical decisions. Rather than the business being organized into closed-off silos, information is freely shared across departments and allows for various departments to collaborate easier by centralizing the interface.
At the core, information technology services encompass the systems that enable businesses to create, manage, and optimize business processes and the information they generate and store. This can include the business’s internal network, the computers used by employees, and the storage systems used to house software and data necessary for daily operations. IT services are generally broken down into those who design these systems and software solutions, those who build and install them, and those who manage the ongoing operation of these solutions.
Managed Service Providers
In the modern economy, there is an increasing number of businesses focusing on streamlining operations so as to allow in-house staff to focus strictly on revenue-generating activities. This means that other business processes such as human resources, marketing, and especially information technology oversight are outsourced to managed service providers. The MSP relationship for IT involves outsourcing network management, software licensing, and other IT tasks to the service provider.
In some cases, businesses maintain a c-suite level information officer in order to act as a liaison between the service provider and leadership so as to maintain control over strategic IT initiatives. An MSP, however, can also provide a virtual CIO in order to advise and guide the organization’s IT initiatives and work directly with leadership as well. In the MSP segment of the industry, service providers find that their clients need solutions to handle any number of business case uses, from marketing to HR to accounting and beyond. In this sense, MSPs have to have a versatile team of professionals in order to meet the needs of clients across all industry segments.
Information technologies are increasingly being offloaded into cloud-based solutions. While many of these services are somewhat user-friendly, it makes more sense for businesses to offload the total cloud management of their systems to consultants trained in the use of such systems and managing these tools remotely, freeing up staff to focus on operational concerns. Cloud consultants work with a business to determine the right design and implementation of cloud infrastructure to meet client needs, and then help to migrate the client’s systems to the cloud solution. They will often be retained to manage and maintain the system.
One of the more popular cloud services, the Google Cloud Platform runs on Google’s infrastructure to provide clients with reliable cloud-based IT solutions. While it can be self-managed and offers users a robust array of tutorials to do so, Google Cloud can be managed by a service provider trained to understand how to manage your business’s remote-stored assets on Google’s cloud infrastructure.
Amazon Web Services
Amazon Web Services, or AWS, is Amazon’s leading cloud-based service solution that provides a fully-scalable IT solution for businesses of all sizes to host websites, manage data, manage and host applications for customers, track analytics, and any other IT solution a business might need to outsource in order to take advantage of the offsite infrastructure model AWS provides. Businesses can manage their AWS services themselves or outsource the process to a skilled service provider.
Perhaps one of the most valuable IT services on the list, system integration is an important IT practice that helps businesses fold new software solutions into their existing software infrastructure. This is especially useful when a client’s infrastructure includes a number of legacy software solutions that are difficult, if not impossible to link to newer software solutions out of the box. Integration is often achieved by building a unified dashboard that talks to all of a business’s software platforms and allows leadership and users to access the data from a single interface.
When Should You Purchase IT Software?
The increasing reliance on technology in business often leaves leadership asking the question during budgeting meetings, “Do we really need to buy this new piece of software?” The truth is, just as with any business purchase, it’s important to first establish your current business goals, and assess the gaps in your business capabilities that are preventing you from achieving your business goals.
Is your intent to improve the quality and quantity of inbound leads, and therefore you’re considering a new customer relationship management solution? Does your marketing team need more powerful SEO tools to keep pace with the competition? Do none of your existing systems talk to each other, and it’s creating a gap in data access that slows the decision-making process?
These are all very important questions that would lead to the purchase of new and shiny software that your business may or may not need. Before actually purchasing new software, it would be necessary for your team to determine that you’re using and leveraging all of your existing resources as efficiently as possible, and still seeing a gap in results versus your goals.
From there, once you’ve decided that you do indeed need to purchase a software solution to fill the business gap, it’s necessary to determine if you can go with an off-the-shelf solution, which very rarely will exactly meet your business requirements. You’ll often pay a premium for features you don’t need, or find out that it lacks a feature you desperately need, requiring you to track down additional solutions that may or may not be compatible overall.
In these cases, it is often more cost-effective to hire a development firm or managed IT services provider to build out a customized software solution to meet your needs. By doing so, you get more support and more of a fit with your existing infrastructure. However, if you must go with an off-the-shelf customizable solution, our community has some advice for you to help you make the right choice for your business.
Hear From Industry Experts
Read the latest tips, research, best practices, and insights from our community of expert B2B service providers.
Tips for Choosing the Best IT Software Solution
This process can be intimidating, and for businesses with little IT experience, it might be tough to understand what to look for in a software solution, or what questions to ask the service provider. And there are a number of pitfalls and dangers to avoid. To help you navigate this, we’ve asked our community what it is they look for, what questions they ask upfront, and what mistakes you should avoid making.
Traits to Look For In An IT Solution
Whether you’re shopping for a service provider or a software solution, there are some pretty standard traits you should be looking for in vendors. When we brought this question to our readers, these are some of the most important factors they said they considered before settling on a solution.
“You want to find a company with experience. Many problems that businesses face may have similar solutions, approaches, or obstacles. Experienced custom software development companies are more likely to have prior knowledge that allows them to produce a finished solution quicker and with better quality.” —Chana Charach, Chief Financial Officer, Income.ca
“User experience development is the critical point to consider. Who will be the software’s end-user, and whether or not the organization will provide the ideal user experience are the things you need to know upfront, which will be critical for your project’s success under a vendor.” —Tony Kelly, CEO, CameraGroove
“A key thing to look out for is integration and support. If multiple other vendors and software companies are willing to integrate their products with your chosen solution, this is usually the indicator of a robust, secure platform that has the trust of others. If you notice that other vendors are unwilling to integrate with your particular solution, it could be a sign that the platform is underdeveloped or it may simply not have the support you should be looking for in an IT solution.” —Mark Webster, Co-Founder, Authority Hacker
“Ensure you’re working with an experienced development team. If your software development project may need close collaboration with the project development team, always ask which technicians will be assigned to your project. It’s important to have some pre-development discussions with them to ensure that they understand your viewpoint and can design the program according to your specifications. This is critical, particularly if you’re working on a long-term project.” —Dr. Pooneh Ramezani, CEO and Co-Founder, Dr. Brite
“Make sure the service providers you’re working with provide cross-platform support. Although Windows runs on 90% of all personal computers, many businesses often have Macs on their network—often for marketing or artistic design teams, or as laptops for traveling employees—or even Linux devices such as web servers or firewalls. A strong IT specialist is capable of managing all of these situations, or at the very least knows where to find the required assistance.” —Bram Jansen, Chief Editor, vpnAlert
“You should always make sure the company supplying you with the software is known for good customer service. It is crucial to ensure that you receive fast and high-quality replies from the support team when you need help with any IT issue. It is also important to check if their product experts have enough time to answer all your questions in detail or just give you a few lines in reply.” —Ronald Samson, Research Analyst, Credit Donkey
“Check to see if a service provider is using the latest, most advanced technology available on the market. I believe when selecting a software development firm, new innovations and developments are essential. It is anticipated that they will turn your ideas into a software product, but it is a huge plus if they can come up with new ideas and tactics to help you create a good software product.” —Sam Browne, CEO & Founder, Find a Band
“It’s important to work with a managed services vendor who’s able to help you explore and fully understand software or technology solutions being presented by 3rd party vendors. Selecting a partner who has worked with clients in your field ensures they will have a greater understanding of your company requirements and will be able to advise you on the best approach.” —Todd Perry, Head of Content, Outdoor Gadget Review
“Cost is just as important a factor to consider as any other. You need to ensure that the software you want for your business is within your budget. However, remember that the price doesn’t correlate with the software’s value.” —Jason Brown, Founder & CEO, Approved Costs
“The first few traits that I look at before investing in any IT solution are related to the User Interface. Every IT solution, whether or not it’s hardcore tech must be easy-to-use by every person—that’s the whole point of technology solutions is to be able to ease the process for non-technical people.” —Sudir Khatwani, Editor, The Money Mongers
Questions to Ask IT Software Providers
Once they’ve assessed the products on offer, our readers also felt that there were some critical questions vendors needed to have answers to before contracting with them.
“What level of onsite assistance is included with the purchase. Many higher-priced programs should provide some level of on-site assistance. If it doesn’t, make sure both (service and support) are included in the contract before making a purchase.” —Dusan Stanar, Founder & CEO, VSS Monitoring
“What is the average time to patch bugs? Some organizations will promise to resolve software problems as soon as you report them. Others can compile a list of ‘error’ fixes and release it on a regular basis that is convenient for them. This can occur on a monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, or annual basis.” —Matt Weidle, Business Development Manager, Buyer’s Guide
“If your workstations or servers aren’t running Windows, check to see if they’ve worked with other operating systems before. Consider Mac OS X or Linux. Finding an IT company that can help your systems is critical unless you’re looking to move infrastructure. While most people in the tech industry are universal, expertise varies. You won’t get the help you need if the organization you’re considering can’t work with your infrastructure.” —Miklos Zoltan, CEO, Privacy Affairs
“Ask the company to outline the technology it uses and how it tests the software it builds. Determine if there are any innovations on which you would like your product to be developed. Inquire about the company’s expertise-especially if you have a preference for a particular software system. Additionally, inquire about research. Testing enables developers to quickly identify and correct mistakes. Your application will be completed more quickly, and the possibility of errors after release will be minimized.” —Chris Taylor, Marketing Director, Profit Guru
“If a service provider recommends a specific product, ask them to lay out both the pros and cons and how it would be specifically beneficial for your business. This will let you know if you can trust them as a vendor to be honest about their products as well as provide you with insight into any challenges that you might encounter. The best answer a vendor could provide would include ways to counter any challenges you might face, as it shows that they really understand both their product and your business needs.” —Lucas Travis, Founder, Inboard Skate
“Find out from the service provider or software creator how adaptable their products are and whether their solutions will evolve with your business. It’s critical to have software that can change at the same rate as your company in today’s ever-changing workplace. When a business expands and requires additional services from a technology provider, the new features and functions should be able to be quickly and smoothly implemented with simple modifications. As a result, the business owner can concentrate on the company’s objectives rather than the method.” —Chris Nutbeen, Founder & CEO, Nuttifox
“Realize that no two organizations are alike, so in choosing a software solution, you have to first understand your own organization’s pain points and what issues your workers face on a daily basis. Determine where internal processes are bloated or where your sales funnel is inefficient. In identifying these challenges, be sure to include a variety of viewpoints and stakeholders in the conversation, including the people who will be using the app.” —Ben Richardson, CEO, Development Academy
“Start by asking about security features. The provider should be able to give you a complete overview of the measures they take to assure the security of every business that registers a profile. Also ask about data storage and the collection of information (even anonymous data collected can sometimes cause unauthorized data to leak out to the wrong entities).” —Bernadette Welch, Technical Director, Uke-Turner.com
“Any good IT solution should come with fluidity and compatibility for the rest of your platforms. Therefore the questions you should be asking upfront should cover system requirements, the support infrastructure and procedures for the product, the total cost for implementation and integration, how often the solution is updated, and whether it can be customized to your needs.” —Karl Hughes, Founder, Draft.dev
“It’s a good idea to ask them to provide a case study of companies that operate in the same industry as yours so that you know the limitations and benefits of the solution to make a well-informed decision. I would also ask them how the software will integrate with our current existing infrastructure and how future proof it is for new software.” —Bowen Khong, Founder & Head of Research, ForexToStocks
Mistakes to Avoid
As with any major business investment, there are mistakes and pitfalls you want to avoid in determining what IT software solution to integrate into your business.
“Affirm the quality of the sites you’re using to seek out reviews. Perhaps one of the most obvious giveaways that a review website isn’t authentic is if there’s very little variety in the selected software. This is especially true if reviews for each application include an affiliate link.” —Robert Brandl, Founder, Website Tool Tester
“Spend time educating yourself before making a decision. Clearly, the time commitment is as important as capital investment. Understanding what software you need to help run your company, how much you can afford to pay, and other appropriate questions can assist you in resolving all of your issues before making a secure decision.” —Edward Mellett, Founder, Wikijob.uk
“When it comes to choosing the best IT Software, don’t be afraid to dig for some referrals! Do some online research and ask trusted colleagues which software development companies they had good experience with. Referrals are the best and most powerful way in which you can get accurate information about the collaborations between businesses and software companies.” —Matthew Paxton, Founder, Hypernia
“Don’t go with the first software solution you see, shop around! Make sure you’re looking for a high-quality solution, preferably one that’s been around for a while and provides a good return on investment. The brand-new automation tool may seem to have all ingredients to get the job done, but due to its age, it will almost certainly go through a lot of adjustments and modifications, costing you more in the long run. Look for IT process management tools that have more total value than simple scripts.” —Hamza Ghayas, Marketing Manager, GSDLovers
“Instead of focusing only on your solution needs, make sure to also seek cohesiveness with your existing infrastructure. Many companies have trouble automating because they have so many tools competing with one another. Recognize that, although inadvertently, some automation tools can do more harm than good. Instead of competing and disrupting the flow of things, look for resources that complement the other programs and can be integrated easily.” —Naomi Bishop, Chief Insurance Officer, Surfky
“Do not ignore cybersecurity when considering solutions. 72% of security experts include consumer data among their top concerns. Any IT leader implementing a new system should prioritize software protection, particularly for ERPs. During the shopping and vetting process, keep this parameter in mind. It’s also a good idea to appoint someone to be in charge of maintaining the system’s security once it’s up and running. Many companies are creating completely new positions for this purpose, such as chief information security officers.” —Michael Robinson, Security Expert, Cheap SSL Security
“Don’t shop for a solution unprepared. You’ll have a better idea of what you’re looking for if you review your processes and document your needs. You are more prone to make the right decision on what would mesh best with your way of operating if you first consider your business needs and see what will fit with your current framework, rather than choosing anything based on a shiny new function that doesn’t really benefit your business even more than you thought.” —Ryan Dalal, Founder & CEO, JPG to PDF
“Don’t neglect training your team and follow up after launching a tool. It’s easy to forget making sure the team understands how to use the systems you’ve put in place. New employees aren’t often given enough training in some fields and can go undetected for long periods before major issues occur. It can continue to erode overall team morale or make it harder for them to get to terms with their work if it is not highlighted.” —William Munir, CEO, Groominghut.com
“With technology constantly evolving, we always advise against significant investment in IT infrastructure on products that will quickly become obsolete. IT departments are often prone to attempt for budgets to push for the latest and shiniest tools while finance tries to cut corners. There is a happy medium between cost and functionality.” —Nate Nead, CEO, DEV.co
“From a legal perspective, if your company is looking to implement a customized IT solution, take some time with the contracting process. Avoid simply signing off on a form, or attaching a sales proposal to a bare-bones contract. Read the document to make sure it delineates who has responsibilities for what aspect of the implementation and make sure you understand the billing and payment process, especially if there is an early termination.” —Andrew Flake, Partner, Arnall Golden Gregory LLP
30 Recommended IT Software Providers
With such clear insight into choosing the right solution for your business and how to avoid pitfalls and common mistakes, we decided to follow that inquiry by asking them to weigh in on their favorite and most recommended IT software solutions. Given that we talked at the start of this article about the driving trends in business IT services pushing for productivity tools, improvements to lead generation, and system consolidation in order to streamline data acquisition, the results from the community were little surprise and fell into several very clear categories that mirrored modern trends.
In this section, we’ll break down the responses from the community we received when we asked them to tell us their favorite brands and what features they were focused on in choosing a software solution.
Top Brands With Unmistakable Value
A number of respondents responded with their choice of brand at a very high level without naming specific software solutions offered by the brands, but rather the function they played in daily operations. Overall, five separate brands were named as contributing to the business’s need for tools that provided easy-to-use interfaces across an extremely wide range of solutions.
Adobe is the industry standard when it comes to its suite of design tools. Known for their solutions that connect content and data in innovative ways, Adobe’s various web design tools and graphic design tools provide professionals with cutting-edge storytelling and visualization software. The company has taken its creative edge and combined it with an ERP approach in their Adobe Experience Cloud, giving clients a way to “collect, connect, and activate customer data in real-time.” After a 14-day trial, businesses can take advantage of the full creative suite of solutions starting at $79.99/month per license.
“Adobe is one of the most successful softwares of all time, and one of the most client-centric software platforms. While it sometimes takes a long time to update, and the updates aren’t always of value to all users, you can’t ignore the value in Adobe’s easily accessible interfaces and available presets with every product.” —Gary Evans, Founder, Business Energy Rates
Whether we focus on the operating system pioneered by Microsoft, or on the brand’s office productivity suite that has evolved over the years to become an industry standard for businesses everywhere, it shouldn’t be a surprise that many respondents named Microsoft as a favorite. The 365 suite of solutions has emerged as one of Microsoft’s primary tools that allow businesses to focus on productivity and collaboration, while the Azure product has emerged as a leading cloud service solution. After a free month, business pricing breaks down by user and complexity of the Microsoft solution you’re looking for, with prices ranging from $5 per user to $20 per user, per month.
“Microsoft has always been the best IT software brand. They provide a wide range of IT solutions that can be used by any organization. Furthermore, it can operate within its own ecosystem, making it simple to use and accessible.” —Andriy Bogdanov, CEO & Co-Founder, Online Divorce
For organizations seeking innovative business solutions to their software needs, SAP emerges as a leading provider across multiple industries. Whether your organization needs customized solutions or off-the-shelf solutions, SAP is a leader in all categories of business software, and because they build all of their solutions to work together, there’s no need for costly integration solutions. They provide a full range of free trials, but pricing is broken down individually by all solutions and scopes, so it’s best to reach out to an SAP representative to establish a plan that works for your organization.
“Integration between different SAP Modules is very efficient. It doesn’t matter how big your organization is, it supports everything from small companies to giant high-tech organizations.” —Mia Green, Co-Founder, FindThisBest
Often reduced to a search engine service, the Google platform plays host to not only a robust cloud solution that expands the infrastructure for many businesses but also a suite of online software solutions that can supplant the IT infrastructure for most small- to medium-sized businesses. Ranging between $6 to $18 per month per user, pricing tiers are broken down by the scope of your business needs and how advanced a toolset you need to be successful.
“Businesses that can operate entirely from online sources are the most efficiently run companies. These are the companies that had no problem transitioning to work-at-home policies and were able to continue their operations. Sending emails, creating files, video conferencing, and everything in between can be conducted through Google.” —Michael Waxman, CEO & Co-Founder, Sundays for Dogs
The Oracle brand has an extensive history in the IT industry as a leading infrastructure solutions provider offering both hardware and software solutions to clients for more than 30 years. With the rising demand for Cloud-based solutions, Oracle has pivoted both infrastructure and software solutions to meet this demand. To break down what services you need and get a quote for services, Oracle suggests interested parties talk to their sales department.
“Oracle is one of my favorite brands of IT software providers, as they are extremely versatile. They develop business data management applications for network computers, PDAs, PCs, workstations, mainframes, and other devices. Oracle’s solutions are also used in multiple industries, including distribution, operations, marketing, finance, human resources, supply chain and manufacturing, and a variety of other fields.” —Edward Mellett, Founder, WikiJob.uk
IT Services and Cybersecurity Tools
Respondents were also focused on managing and securing their systems, devices, and methods of communications. The next seven products or services were touted by respondents as some of the most useful IT service tools and cybersecurity solutions available on the market.
A major component of securing a business’s IT infrastructure is being able to not only secure the network but also manage and update the security protocols on the devices used on the network. This is especially important when organizations have mobile devices operating in the field. The Sophos suite of cybersecurity tools helps to secure and maintain all elements of your business’s network and IT infrastructure. Each service comes with its own free trial, but specific pricing requires a call with the Sophos sales team.
“I like Sophos because it easily enables our IT personnel to lock devices, change passwords, clear out device memory, and perform updates and scans remotely. The security is airtight, which is important for us since we use phones and tablets for a wide range of critical company processes.” —Daivat Dholakia, Director of Operations, Force by Mojio
As mobile devices and desktop technologies continue to evolve and updates due to security concerns are happening almost daily, it makes sense that tools would emerge to help businesses and managed IT service providers quickly and efficiently configure and deploy devices. Hexnode’s mobile device management system is a recognized security and configuration tool helping businesses better serve a more mobile and on-the-go staff. Pricing ranges from $1 per device per month up to $5.80 per device, depending on the capabilities of Hexnode you include in your service plan.
“I find this software highly useful because it’s not always possible to operate from a personal computer. With 360-degree mobile app management (MDM), I’m able to track each device from my phone with great ease. Whether I want to manage content or security, it’s a breeze with this software.” —Max Harland, CEO, Dentaly
Part of the Freshworks family of solutions, Freshservice is an IT service-management solution for businesses to manage and track service tickets and manage IT activities ranging from project management to asset management. The tool improves efficiency through artificial intelligence and automation and provides a smoother employee experience. Pricing tiers based on service level start at $19 a month billed annually and go up to $89 before customers scale up to the Enterprise level of services.
“Freshservice is my go-to incident management tool. Troubleshooting a highly technical IT system is challenging for most people, especially since many users only have basic programming and troubleshooting skills. Freshservice shines from its competition because of its easy-to-use user interface. I also love their affordability at only $19 per agent, which is an excellent value for money for the IT service management features you’re getting.” —Stephen Light, Co-Owner & Chief Marketing Officer, Nolah Mattress
A global zero-trust solution for managing your team’s remote access to your business infrastructure, GoodAccess VPN provides a single dashboard interface that allows you to manage your entire team’s network at a glance. Track access and determine which systems need added protection. Small teams of users get access to the software solution’s simple single-click interface starting at $29, with larger teams’ monthly costs ranging from $59 to $199.
“The best thing is that GoodAccess empowers our workers with secure, anytime, and anywhere access without any hassle. I pinned my choice on this software because it’s agile by design and that is gold for us. Plus, its mobile compatibility on iOS and Android platforms ensures that our workers can use it as per their convenience.” —Jon Buchan, CEO, Charm Offensive
The Avast service provides an all-in-one cybersecurity solution that can scale to the client’s needs. From a small home-office solution to an enterprise-level, the cloud-based security solutions on offer from the company are accessible to those even with limited IT resources. The software comes as a free antivirus solution download, but scales up from there; users can protect up to ten devices for $45 to $60 a month. This pricing is currently being offered at a 50% discount.
“With antivirus often seen as the first line of defense against modern cyberthreats, Avast’s efficient and award-winning antivirus solution for businesses of all sizes protects clients from today’s advanced threats. And with a wide range of tools such as Wi-Fi inspector, security browser extensions, remote access shield, firewalls, and other tools, your business will be well protected.” —Alex Claro, VPN Analyst, Credit Donkey
With cyberattacks becoming increasingly complex and aggressive, many of the endpoint protection solutions on the market are failing to keep up. Malwarebytes has taken a more proactive approach to protection and remediation with precise threat blocking measures integrated into the program’s cloud-based platform that can scale for organizations of all sizes. Pricing is dependent upon whether you use the product for protection only or protection and privacy and ranges from $3.33 to $8.33 per device monthly when billed annually.
“Malwarebytes is by far my preferred cybersecurity solution. I like to use it because it has the most comprehensive vulnerability protection and remediation approach for businesses of all sizes, all of which can be handled remotely from the cloud.” —Ansh Gupta, Founder, Empire Crafter
When it comes to comprehensive IT management solutions, Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s Intelligent Management Center leads the way on a platform built for efficiency. The interface is designed for easy configuration, tying together your network configuration and performance with accounting, device management, security, and other business functions related to your IT systems. With the sheer diversity of HP’s offerings around this product, a call to the sales team is the best way to work out possible monthly costs based on your needs.
“We use HP IMC to manage our network systems and security. It’s easy to navigate and works well with cloud systems like ours. It’s also scalable, so it’s accommodated our network as our business has grown. I have never seen a need to switch to another brand.” —Ravi Parikh, CEO, RoverPass Campground Management Software
Productivity and Project Management Solutions
In the wake of the pandemic, businesses continue to embrace remote collaboration tools and platforms. In the IT industry, there are a number of established software solutions that are favored, as they provide a solid solution for improving and maintaining productivity.
For a feature-rich team communications platform to function well, all of the components have to mesh well together and provide value for the team as a whole. Few platforms provide the level of collaborative interaction that Slack does. Taking the concept of threaded conversations to the next level, the platform also allows team members to video and voice chat, message each other directly, and communicate with third parties securely. The platform also allows file sharing and integration with other production and project management tools to keep your workflow familiar and contained. Depending on the features you need to take advantage of, pricing ranges from a free access model to $12.50 per month.
“Slack is one of the most powerful, if not the best, team messaging app. It comes with different settings and options that our team enjoys. We use it everyday to discuss our plans, talk about our projects, and work on support tickets. Our team can also share articles, content, and files related to work.” —Jason Brown, Founder & CEO, Approved Costs
When it comes to software development collaboration, few platforms have the recognition and legitimacy as an industry-standard as GitHub. Used often by individuals and small organizations to manage open-source projects, GitHub also provides larger software developers to build a collaborative space for their team to work in and track and update changes to projects, as well as collaborative channels to communicate those changes. With code review tools and integration with other development and communications tools, GitHub acts as a strong centerpoint for any development team. GitHub is free for individual users or organizations with basic needs. Businesses can also gain access to more useful tools for prices ranging from $4 per user to $21 per user per month.
“Software innovation happens best when working in a collaborative environment, and there’s one project management tool that helps make the group effort effortless. GitHub’s customizable open-source development platform means that you can keep your project within the safety of your team, or enjoy the secure input and insight of a base of more than 40 million developers.” —Shiv Gupta, CEO, Incrementors SEO
Since agile methods emerged as popular with project management for software development teams, agile project management tools began to flood the market. Atlassian’s Jira tool stands out from the competition as one of the best tools to help software developers ship early and ship often. The platform embraces all flavors of agile development and includes Scrum boards, Kanban boards, and roadmap visualization tools. Where it really shines is in the reporting functionality, where teams can track sprints, generate burndown charts, and track team velocity. Pricing for Jira is based on the number of users and level of services your business needs and steps up from the free level to $1750 a year to $3500 a year.
“My favorite piece of software is Jira. As a software development company, we need to make use of Agile strategies. Jira helps us to keep track of both project completion and employee productivity, while still being able to remain flexible and agile in our approach to projects. It also allows our employees to keep working without constant check-ins and interruptions because all tracking is done automatically.” —Ronen Yemini, Founder, Eyedo
The Asana platform provides businesses with a shared workspace with adjustable project views that include lists, timelines, and boards. Asana also includes routine automation to free your team up from the small repetitive tasks and allows them to focus on the big picture of completing the project. Integrates with all of the tools you’re already using to organize and communicate. Aside from the free starter plan, the project management platform offers pricing plans ranging from $11 a month to $25 a month and goes up from there based on the scope of the enterprise solution to which your organization needs access.
“Asana is my favorite project management tool because it allows me to see my team’s progress at a glance. As their manager, I can easily get a birds’ eye view of what everyone is working on instead of checking up on everyone individually. Top features include the kanban view and the timeline view. It gives me two different perspectives—what people are working on right now and whether we are on track to meet our goals and deadlines.” —Carsten Schaefer, Founder & CEO, Trust
The Notion platform provides businesses with a team wiki, project management tools, and a platform for document sharing. There’s also functionality for posting meeting notes and allowing follow-up discussions. For remote teams, threaded conversations can be posted to facilitate communication and collaboration. Notion is accessible through the web as well as a mobile application. Notion’s free access plan shifts to more complicated service offerings ranging from $4 to $8 a month, with Enterprise solutions requiring a call to the sales team.
“Notion is the perfect way to catalog all of your data and information. Notion is also a great tool to have handy when meeting with clients or investors because you are able to show them exactly what every single one of your employees has been working on.” —Joe Parenteau, CEO & Cofounder, Fablehome
Another entry from the Atlassian software team, Trello provides users with interactive planning tools in the form of visual customizable boards that can be shared across your team and accessed via the web or mobile devices from anywhere. With formats matching popular agile project management systems, Trello is a powerful collaboration tool that will keep your team task and on schedule. Individuals can use the platform for free, with business teams paying $10 per user per month. Large operations can contact the sales group to establish services that meet their needs.
“Trello helps our team easily stay organized with labels, categories, and plenty of room for note-taking. You can access Trello on your phone as well for quick, on-the-go updates.” —Divya Gugnani, CEO & Co-Founder, Wander Beauty
Marketing Tools Packaged as System Integration Software Solutions
While this discussion is focused on the role of technology in everyday operations, we’d be remiss if we didn’t fold in the growing importance of marketing and client management relative to other core business functions. As organizations seek to grow market share and increase both the quality and quantity of qualified leads, they have embraced AI-driven automated marketing solutions alongside more data-driven tools and best practices. As such, marketing software products have emerged as powerful and comprehensive system integration tools. Our respondents named some of the major players in the marketing industry as their favored platforms of choice.
Building a stronger relationship with existing customers and learning how to better connect with new customers is the driving force behind Salesforce’s extensive CRM software infrastructure. Organized into clouds of functionality, each Salesforce marketing tool serves a specific business function, but it’s the MuleSoft tool that brings data integration to the table. Allowing data from any platform to be brought into your decision-making dashboard alongside the data from Salesforce’s own tools will allow business leaders to make more informed business decisions. Because the scope of services is based on the complexity of API connections and integration necessary, MuleSoft’s sales team will provide quotes on request.
“Salesforce is my favorite IT brand because of the consistency of quality and customer support they have to offer. Throughout their series of software, they are able to serve their customers with the highest quality of services. The best software from Salesforce is their CRM software which we use to understand customer needs and render our services accordingly to improve profitability.” —Gideon Rubin, CEO, Pandio
Marketing is a multifaceted discipline that requires your marketing team to have eyes on every moving part of your inbound and off-page marketing assets in order to assess what’s working well and where your marketing strategy could use improvement. There are few tools capable of bringing all of your SEO, content management, research on the competition, and advertising outlets under one interface, but Semrush’s more than 40 tools combined with the deep insights reporting systems offer exactly that. Plans range from $119.95 per month to $449.95 per month based on the size and scope of your business needs.
“Semrush is a real-time software that I use daily. It gives me the ability to see what my clients, and their competition, are doing in their field. It allows me to see the budget I have, and from that information, I can determine the best course for my clients.” —Kerry Lopez, Marketing Analyst, Incrementors Web Solutions
With an ever-evolving ruleset from the likes of Google and other search engines, keeping pace with search engine optimization (SEO) standards and best practices within the marketing industry is next to impossible without the right tools. SEO involves so many different components of your website and other factors beyond that it takes the software equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife to handle all of the associated tasks in order to keep your site and content at the top rankings within your industry niche. Ahref’s all-in-one SEO toolset provides users with a centralized dashboard to handle everything from a single interface. The lower-tiered plans for Ahrefs start at a 7 day trial for $7 and then go from $99 to $179 per month. More advanced plans range from $399 to $999 per month and allow multiple users.
“I love the SEO tool Ahrefs as it is surely our most favorite tool for various facets of SEO such as keyword research, rank tracking, competitor research, SEO audit, viral content research, and much more. Here you can add your site and those of your competitors to it, and it shows the sites which have back-linked to your competitors but not to you.” —Salvador Ordorica, CEO, The Spanish Group LLC
Business Management Solutions Packaged as ERP and System Integration Tools
Our final group of suggested software solutions covered a wide gamut of business cases and often overlapped all of the categories we’ve talked about to this point. Given the scope of the business problems these software solutions are meant to bridge, we felt they existed somewhere between system integration tools and enterprise resource planning solutions.
A full end-to-end business management tool, ProofHub provides planning tools, collaborative platforms, organizational interfaces, and tools to push the final deliverable out the door on schedule and on budget. Communications are housed within the interface, ensuring everything remains organized and accessible, preventing the need to go dig through messy email threads. Clear unified organizational tools coupled with a single project calendar ensure all deadlines are communicated and easily tracked. Flat billing costs currently range from $45 to $150 normally, with the service offering a discount on its Ultimate Control tier at the time this piece is being written of 35% off, bringing the price down to $89 per month billed at an annual rate.
“ProofHub is a robust business process management software and framework that includes all of the tools you’ll need to run your company. With ProofHub, you can automate your operations, store and exchange files, and share feedback all in one place. Its mobile app is compatible with both Android and iOS users.” —Sasha Quail, Business Development Manager, Claims UK
We’ve talked about how complicated a fully realized marketing solution can be, but HubSpot takes the entirety of your marketing needs and folds them into a solution that also integrates your sales and services software platforms into a single interface. In addition, HubSpot also provides integrative hubs for content management and operations to give users a fully fleshed-out ERP solution. Beyond the free tools on offer, the scope and mix of services available through HubSpot require potential customers to determine what mixture of services and costs meet their budget, or a consultation with the sales team will help customers put together a unique combination of solutions.
“Hubspot Marketing Hub helps companies combine their sales and marketing tactics into one perfectly organized platform. Hubspot has been incredibly helpful with our social media marketing and content management. Having all of our marketing data in the same place as our consumer relationship data allows our company to cross-check our tactics and adjust them accordingly.” —Tyler Boyd, Chief Strategy Officer, Squeeze
Some software developers take the approach that certain industries are so specialized that only custom solutions will provide value, so it’s refreshing for platforms like Apptivo to provide solutions to such a wide base. Recognizing that business activities around CRM, project management, invoicing, procurement, and email marketing can be adapted to any industry’s specific needs, Apptivo boasts a platform with all of these solutions on a single platform that can adapt to the challenges specific to travel and hospitality, manufacturing, retail, real estate, energy, and nonprofits. After the free trial period, the four service tiers range in annual cost from $8 per user to $20 per user, with the full enterprise solution requiring a consult with the sales team.
“Apptivo offers a broad range of customer relationship management features (CRM). Managing projects, invoicing, and timesheet capabilities, also aid in the growth of your business. It is simple to configure the business process if it has any unique requirements.” —William Munir, CEO, Groominghut.com
A global all-in-one business management solution, StudioCloud takes on HR management, CRM, marketing, accounting, project management, and retail all within a single platform. Additionally, automation tools and integration allow you to bring in the tools you’re already using to simplify and streamline your business, allowing your employees to remain focused on the bottom line. The free service can be scaled with add-on services costing from $10 per add-on to unlimited access to other add-on services ranging from $30 to $60 a month.
“StudioCloud has quickly established itself as a dependable market management platform and business management framework. It’s a one-stop shop for all of your business needs, with all of the tools you’ll need to run your company from anywhere at any time. Please take a look at this business tool to help you organize and make your life easier.” —Hamza Ghayas, Marketing Manager, GSDLovers
Zoho’s One solution takes on the primary issue facing so many businesses today: everywhere you look, businesses are trying to cobble together a business model out of a patchwork of cloud solutions, legacy software platforms, and manual processes. Instead, Zoho One offers a single operating system approach to providing your business with a solution that meets all of your needs in a unified landscape of apps and functionality. At an annual rate, the Zoho One program can be subscribed to at a lower rate if all employees are enrolled, at $37, while you can pay on an as-needed per user rate of $90 per month.
“The CRM platform from Zoho is an all-in-one hub for business workflow. In one system, you can manage almost every aspect of your company. Especially useful is that with online document storage and sharing, it promotes collaboration and simplifies business workflows by automating them. It also integrates seamlessly with its rival, G-Suite, for better usability and business intelligence.” —Miklos Zoltan, CEO, Privacy Affairs
One of the goals in streamlining operations into a single data feed or interface is to increase efficiencies and increase profitability. Scoro takes that process a step further by focusing the stream of data from the application integrations on how your team is spending its time and what that time is either generating for you in terms of income or what that time is costing you. With a focus on productivity, you can change how your team operates to improve work habits and remove efficiencies. Scoro service plans scale from $26 to $37 per user monthly billed on an annual basis based on the mix of services put into play, while the full range of services will require contacting the Sales department.
“Scoro allows you to handle work more effectively and be more coordinated in all aspects of your business. Some of its most useful features include the ability to plan and monitor your work, track and maintain clear time records and then invoice for finished work, and the ability to monitor and manage the entire company from a single platform.” —Andrew Smith, Founder, CozySeating
With a focus on consultancy and billing, the iBE framework has modules for handling project management and task scheduling, HR functions related to time management and expense tracking, CRM, and accounting. The platform is adaptable and customizable, taking the approach of fitting the software to your business rather than forcing your business to operate according to the solution. Service costs are based on the number of users and the amount of storage in use, with costs ranging from $299 to $749 a month, with additional fees for additional users at each tier.
“With iBE.net, you can fit your whole company into the palm of your hand. It’s got some fantastic features like allowing users to create their own dashboards to fit the business’s needs and provide useful insights and visualizations that allow leadership to analyze and organize the results for easy review.” —Todd Perry, Head of Content, Outdoor Gadget Review
Marketed as a separate product line from Oracle’s other solutions, NetSuite is designed to streamline mission-critical processes and allow your business to focus on serving its customers rather than be bogged down by operations-related tasks. The NetSuite ERP provides a cloud-based platform based on providing decision-makers with visibility and control of operational components with insight provided by powerful business intelligence tools. The website prompts visitors with a chat invitation to talk with sales about pricing for the various combination of services.
“I appreciate that NetSuite functions the way our company works by providing industry-specific solutions and support. For my employees, we enjoy the social interactions the platform facilitates over the cloud-based interface, especially the fact that we can access important management tools over the mobile-enabled interface. My managers appreciate that the reports and primary performance metrics we use to make decisions are easily accessible.” —Naomi Bishop, Chief Insurance Officer, Surfky
This exciting take on workflow automation combines software integration and centralizing your operations around streamlining common tasks. Integrating more than 3,000 applications, you can set triggering events from one platform to in turn perform a number of other tasks across other applications. These enhanced workflows are designed to save your team hours of productivity a day by truly allowing them to focus on client management and revenue generation while the platform still builds customer relationships and improves engagement in the background. With Zapier in place, a small team can operate at a much more efficient scale and compete with much larger competitors who aren’t leveraging automation. The free option can be upgraded across four separate service tiers ranging from $19.99 per month to $599 monthly, billed at an annual rate.
“I like Zapier because it allows you to connect different software together, making your job a bit easier. For me, Zapier is a simple and flexible solution. Their user-friendly Zaps allow you to integrate actions from different software without having to know any code.” —Matt Barnett, CEO, Bonjoro
Need More IT Software Solutions to Fit Your Budget and Your Business Needs?
In this discussion, we broke down best practices for assessing and choosing an IT software solution that fits your business needs and how to avoid some common mistakes along the way. Our experts in the field then provided thirty of their favorite brands and solutions helping them navigate the modern business landscape. If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, or you need an IT professional to help your team establish a clearer understanding of your business IT needs, check out our experienced IT solutions providers in both the United States and Canada to get the help you need today.