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Keeping Up with Business Software

Time Saved or Time Wasted?

If you take a look at the pace of human history, it’s obvious that something has drastically changed. Only 100 years ago, the majority of homes in America didn’t have electricity. Today, we live in a time of truly unimaginable access to information, connectivity, and data. Along with that access comes an absolute tidal wave of new software that seeks to “digitize” literally every aspect of your life. And with that wave comes the question: what’s worth keeping up with and what’s a waste of time?

Further, how much knowledge do you need of each piece of business software and how can you keep on top of the constant evolutions in business software? It’s a hefty ask. This blog isn’t a list of the software that’s essential and how to use it. If it were, it would be out of date in a month as new software comes online. Instead, it’s an exploration of how you can approach new business software to ensure your skills stay current without getting overwhelmed.

Baselines in Business Software

It is necessary to have a baseline understanding of a specific list of programs if you hope to get anywhere in business. Most of these are those we’re fairly familiar with: the programs like Excel, Word, PowerPoint, etc. that come preloaded on many computers. As of writing, these are absolutely essential to understand. 

In addition to these, you’ll also need to know the basics of the communication software your associates commonly use–whether that be email platforms, Teams, Zoom, instant messaging, or–more likely–some combination of all of the above. 

These are the baseline bits you need to begin approaching business communications and it’s already a lot. The good news is, however, that if you have the wherewithal to find and access this blog, you more than likely have a strong enough foundation to operate any of these tools. Now it’s time to grow.

Evolving with Business Software

Odds are very good that with every new job you join or position you take, there will be a new slate of technology you need to understand before you can be fully effective at your job. You can wait for that change, hope for the best, and take a crash course on the software when you get there… but we would recommend something different. Be constantly curious. Actively look for and engage with new business software programs as they emerge. 

Pick a new piece of software you don’t understand every month or every three months and just play with it. Find all the information you can about it and work through it. Don’t present it to your coworkers/bosses/etc as the “next big thing,” learn it for yourself. Make it a point to do this so that you evolve with the progress of technology instead of being left behind by it. 

This sounds like a large time commitment and it can be if you try to chase every new tech. That’s why we don’t recommend you chase every one, but pick one and pursue it every few months. This keeps your tech learning skills sharp while–hopefully–not exhausting you. So, where to go from here? 

Business Software Skill to Practice First: AI

Absolutely the biggest buzzword in the world, right now, is AI. Artificial Intelligence, we’ve been told, has the potential to fundamentally alter the way we and the world work. This may be true. Or, like the Metaverse of last year’s hype, it might be a colossal snafu. Regardless, now is the time to try out an AI-enhanced business software suite. Note, again, that we say “an” because just the realm of AI is already far deeper than the vast majority of people have time to explore. 

There are dozens of AI generators out there already. The one we suggest exploring for business, specifically, is Canva. No, Canva didn’t pay us anything to type this into the blog. It’s legitimately an easy-to-understand, easy-to-use tool you can quickly become proficient with and use to generate actually useful social content, images for presentations, and other business-relevant items. It’s a good pinkie-toe dip into the world of AI. 

In the long term, AI may end up being another flash in the pan that does little to change anything outside of Silicon Valley. Or, it may end up being as revolutionary as electricity or the internet. Regardless, having a grounding in Artificial Intelligence can help you evolve your business software skills and your tech skills in general. Who knows, maybe you’ll like it so much you’ll pursue one of the six-figure careers in AI prompting. 

The Last Word on Business Software

Going forward, we recommend keeping your eyes open for new business software, but don’t be taken in by shiny bells and whistles. Remember the “KISS” principle: keep it simple, stupid. If a software offers lots of stuff you don’t need, don’t use it. Also remember that slow is smooth and smooth is fast. So, if a software promises to speed up your operations, take it with a grain of salt. Look for the software that makes your processes seamless, smooth, and easy to understand. 

And, again, we recommend dabbling. Growing organically. Don’t chase every new software that’s out there. Pick one every few months that intrigues you, try that out. And, just as importantly, don’t try to force everyone else in your organization to chase the same software. This will lead to confusion and process breakdown. Implement things only if you thoroughly understand them and they are smooth and easy enough to understand that acquiring them will make sense to everyone in your organization.

If you have a personal assistant, virtual or otherwise, feel free to talk to them about what business software you should be exploring–their answers may surprise you. 

business person looking at various business software and applications


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