The success of your enterprise depends on the tools you use, to a large extent. It means that the software systems you rely on should be the most effective, secure and powerful. With such solutions, you get continuous well-oiled working mechanism which will run like clockwork. In this article, we will tell you what tools are necessary to get to manage your business efficiently, teach you how to choose the best and the most effective ones, and how to save money on them. And as far as Ruby on Rails is one of the most popular technologies nowadays with a giant community which creates hundreds of open source apps every day, we decided to list you the best Ruby on Rails open source web applications which were designed to boost your business.
Tools needed for effective business management
Despite the fact that there are thousands of different kinds of businesses, they all have many things in common. And a set of instruments which are needed for efficient management is also very similar for most of the enterprises. Below, we are going to name the most required ones, which can automate, improve and simplify all processes in your business.
The most required business instrument
Money management tools
Money management tools. No matter how much money you get (even if you are 9 and you sell cookies to your grandparents). Still, you need a tool to manage your accounting (if you are 9, you can use a notebook and a pencil). If you are older, and your income is more than $10 a month, you need something more serious.
Modern accounting systems have thousands of useful features. Here you can recognize revenue and expenses, count taxes, salaries and much more. If you work with invoices a lot, then you definitely need to find an open source Ruby on Rails app which can perform this task online.
Customers management tools
You have to know your customers, communicate with them, know their emails, social statuses, places of living, and occupations. This information can help you define your strengths and weaknesses, find your auditory and measure customers engagement. Good relationships with customers is a key to your business success.
To keep all the required data in order you would need a nice CRM system. Some of them are so advanced, that they can send letters instead of you according to a schedule, keep your correspondence and remind you of important phone calls and meeting. You can also find some marketing instruments very useful for your business. These tools allow you to track contacts, conduct social media marketing and email marketing campaigns. Along with all that, you can also get reports which would display your success and progress.
Sales management tools
e-Commerce is the future. First of all, a lot of people simply don't like going somewhere to buy things, so they prefer to make purchases online. And second of all, you don't need to rent a place, hire staff and pay salaries, buy a security system and so on. So, if your business is somehow connected with sales, online sales is what you need.
An essential step here is to create your site to sell there your products. And there are some open source solutions Ruby on Rails e-commerce CMS platforms you can try for free. But, we'll talk about that later.
One matter is if your company consists of one person - you, and it's quite another matter if there are lots of employees in your company. Or if your partner(s) are in another country. In such an instance, you need a system for communication. Services like Skype or Slack are very useful, however, nowadays, more and more companies are choosing mobile apps. In our previous article, we explained what benefits you get using Telegram for your business. You should consider a possibility of Telegram application first and foremost because it is free.
There are also platforms focused on collective decision making. They are needed if a lot of controversial issues appear all the time. With such an online app, it doesn't matter where your colleagues are, so the decision-making process becomes much easier and less painful when all the participants can make the arguments and justify their points of view. We are going to describe one of such platforms in detail below, as well as some other Ruby on Rails project management software.
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Top 7 best Ruby on Rails apps for your business
Now, it is time to find all these instruments among the best Ruby on Rails open source projects. We've chosen only 7 the best ones, nevertheless, there are many more on Github and other repositories.
Business Ruby on Rails applications examples
Solidus.io is an open source e-Commerce Ruby on Rails solution, an out-of-the-box platform which you can start using straightforward. The system is easy to customize, very scalable and stable. It is one of the best Ruby on Rails CMS and it is constantly improving due to external experts who are willing to make it better. The program is very agile, so there won't be any problems with it. If you want to use this platform for your e-Commerce site, you just need to find an experienced Ruby developer, who will set everything according to your needs.
Loomio is an online platform for a team communication. The main goal is to make the decision-making process easier, especially if you don't have time a meeting or it is simply impossible to arrange one. How does it work? A person creates a group and invites other participants. A group can be public or private. The participants create an account via Facebook or Google. Participants establish a discussion where everyone can express their opinion. As well as that, various polls can be held in order to collect members' points of view. The tool improves transparency, makes meetings more efficient, gives everyone a chance to be heard and builds understanding.
Decision-making platform - Loomio
FatFree CRM is a customer relationship management solution based on RoR framework. The CRM has such features as group creation, lead and campaign management, list of contacts and tracking opportunity. One of the greatest advantages is that the system is 100% customizable. Which means you can add as many features as you need here. It works out-of-the-box, the code is available on Github.
Redmine is a Ruby on Rails project management solution. With it's help, you can easily manage lots of tasks, see what all your workers are working on at the moment, track issues and many more. The system was designed specifically for software development teams which follow Agile development methodology. Nevertheless, the platform would also be useful to manage non-development teams in different kinds of business. The great peculiarity of the system is it's blog, where you can post various announcements or birthday congratulations.
Happy Hours is a very useful Ruby on Rails application to improve your team productivity. It helps track time spent on different tasks. Workers need to indicate how much time they needed to perform one task or another. In such a way, you'll get a lot of insights on your team workflow and get a chance to improve it. One of the brightest advantages of this Ruby on Rails app is that it's free for teams with five or fewer members.
Time management tool - Happy Hours
Kanban is a free Ruby on Rails chat app. It is a highly secure and stable solution with lots of fantastic features. It is Ruby on Rails web app which supports Chrome, Firefox and Safari browsers. It also has a large emoji collection to help users express their emotions.
Chatting platform - Kanban
Notes is an easy open source Ruby on Rails app where you can create your notes, to-do-lists and make them public or private. The system has a very simple intuitive interface and is good for business people. Notes is compatible with Google Talk. Users can add new notes from Google Talk with the help of a bot. One of the advantages is that there is a reminder feature. The platform can send you reminders by email or SMS.
Benefits of the open source web apps built with Ruby
You can use fewer or more tools for your business. The most important is to find the instruments which you would be satisfied with. The variety is huge, still, we offer you to choose open source apps written in Ruby on Rails. RoR is a very powerful instrument to build apps, the reasons why we like it so much you can find in our previous article about the benefits of RoR. However, right now we want to persuade you that open source solutions based on RoR can help your business survive.
Why you need open source tools on ROR
You never buy software. You always rent it. Therefore, you have to pay for rent all the time you use the programs. And when you feel you are fed up with paying too much, you still have lots of problems getting all your information back from the system and keeping it somewhere before you find something decent. As a rule, open source projects are free of charge. Or, at least they offer you a free trial period which is necessary to understand if you really need this tool before you pay anything.
It is a very important peculiarity of Ruby on Rails projects with open source. There is never a perfect tool. Whichever instrument you take, you would always need to add some specific functionality to it. And here, you have three options. First one - you can hire a team of developers and create a software solution from the scratch specifically for your needs. However, it will cost you more than an existing solution. The second option is to find an existing solution with an API for developers. In such a case you can hire a developer and improve it. The third option is to take an open source app. Such app code is easy to work with and you can change it as many times as you want.
Want to find the best technological stack for your project? Check our article about all the benefits of open source libraries!
Open source products are developed by enthusiasts with a great idea. People who create proprietary software want to make money on it. That is why they can compromise quality in order to cut the development duration. When you release your open source app for free, first of all, your motivation is to improve it with the help of other developers' ideas. This is one of the main reasons why such solutions are often updated and are constantly improved.
Open development means that many more people would get access to the code. It also means that the chances to find bugs are also higher. All developers can check the security issues in the open code and report about a weakness. These factors help creators improve their programs constantly.
Ruby is a great programming language which has many assets. It has a big community with lots of enthusiasts who constantly provide us with some great open source RoR business solutions with all those great advantages which we've listed above.
Having even basic knowledge, you can work with many programs and systems and advance your business management at all levels. Even if you know nothing about coding, open source platforms are more user-friendly and more advanced than the close developments. Moreover, it is much easier to customize to your needs. If you chose some programs for your business from our list and faced some issues, you can contact our managers and get qualified assistance.
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