What software do we use as a business and why...?

As a tech company you could say we’re extra picky about the software we use ourselves. But picky isn’t the right word. We like slick. And dislike crappy. We like empowering. And dislike clunky. We like obvious. And dislike slow. We freaking love beautiful UX. And seriously dislike negative and expensive co-decency. And the same goes for our hardware of choice too. Taking a quick virtual look around our cloud-based office I can see we all have iPhones, iPads and MacBooks. Obvs. All the software I’m about to share with you has become intricately woven into the fabric of our business and helps, even shapes, the company we are.

@Slack. In the early days of using Slack you could tell it was originally developed by developers for developers. It felt so simple you did initially wonder what value it would have. Or add. Fast forward three years and I can’t imagine it not being a part of our day-to-day existence. I use it, trust it and rely on it more than email and WhatsApp for communicating with my colleagues. And I use ‘communicating’ in the loosest sense of the word. Not because our communication with each other isn’t very good! But because it’s so much more than a communication channel. It’s a collaboration tool that enables us to have complete transparency over the most pressing things we need to work on. The suits of add ons allow it to be fully personalised to how you need or want to use it. So, for example, we have Trello integrated so we can mind map any new feature ideas we have and Slack conveniently organised this onto our boards for safekeeping and future reference. And there’s the fun, irreplaceable /giphys. The shuffle feature is obviously a much needed addition for the work place but I think some of the biggest laughs we’ve shared have been work inappropriate /giphys being posted! Slack is so important to our everyday existence it’s probably the most important tech we use as a company.

FreeAgent is an amazing platform for accounting, internal bookkeeping, expense handling and payroll. This one took me the longest to get used to probably because someone else had always looked after this side of the business before. Back in the day when we were a start up it was very important to keep costs to a minimum so all of this could be focused on development of the DigiRec app so it became necessary to handle all things ‘finance’ in-house. And FreeAgent does that. We can see incomings and outgoings, upload receipts for expenses via our iPhones using their app and process invoices instantly. Our bank transactions are automatically feed into the system and at least once a month we go through this to explain all of the transactions. Like all good software FreeAgent makes suggestions and predictions based on use so most of the transactions are easily explained and assigned. Even though now we could afford to have our accountant do more for us, there seems little point as using FreeAgent as part of our working day is now second nature.

Having worked on large-scale email marketing campaigns for many, many years I have used a lot of email marketing platforms. I will openly admit that I didn’t want to like MailChimp! My business snobbery got in the way, but you can’t fault it. It’s UI is so wonderfully simple that even if you don’t have an ounce of email marketing experience you can still expect a thoroughly enjoyable user experience to send your campaigns easily and simply. And obviously as a small and/or growing business, costs play a huge part and MailChimp nailed that side of things too. This was the first platform that ensured email marketing was affordable for all sizes of businesses. This remains the case today.

When it comes to virtual meetings software I really do feel I’ve tried them all! Skype, Gotomeeting, Zoom, WebEx, Join.me going all the way back to voip video meeting services when they first launched! For our weekly team meetings we use, Google Hangouts, which is by far the standout. Any of us can join from any devices wherever we are by clicking on the link automatically added to our calendar. My only grumble being you can still get calls on your phone whilst in the meeting. But other than that, it really is fantastic, easy to use and best of all, actually provides a clear meeting without any sound delays.

There’s one more piece of software I’d like to share with you, if I may. When it comes to our own recruitment, Bullhorn is our ATS of choice. 3 out of 4 of us have used various ATSs and/or CRMs for a combined total of over 60 years! Not only is it super simple and data driven but also the support is sublime. You really can’t fault them.

Thanks for reading and hope some of the recommendations help.

PS On a personal note I have to say that recently I’ve fallen in love with @Netflix. Why? Because it continues to be what Sky is not. Which, right now if it weren’t for Sky Sports, I’d happily get rid of. Netflix gets me. And what I want to watch. And what the kids enjoy. All for £7.99 a month! Does anyone have any box sets to recommend?!

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