As companies with numerous siloed software systems and databases grow, a number of challenges arise. These challenges will often have a severe impact on the continued growth and success of the business. Here is a summary of the six main issues that can impact your growth if you run a business with disparate business software systems:
Reduced or Wasted Productivity: As your company grows, it is critical that every employee is working as efficiently and effectively as possible, without the hindrance of poor data or disconnected systems and processes. If this is not the case, it can increase errors and take far longer to fulfil their day to day activities. The use of multiple systems throughout the business can result in employees from different departments using different datasets for the same purpose and eventually additional time and manual processes may be required to reconcile records and information. The additional requirement for manual processes will reduce the company’s ability to react quickly when necessary.
Lack of Real-time Visibility: Disparate unconnected data, held in multiple systems makes it extremely difficult for companies to accurately report on key metrics for the business. Analysing data across multiple departments such as Sales, Finance, Support, Warehousing etc. is extremely difficult and results in reports that are cumbersome and time consuming to produce. As a result, companies are often in a position where they wait until the end of the month to review this data, by which time it is too late, and end up making business critical decisions on error prone and out of date information. Clearly in today’s world businesses should, and can, be able to make decisions based on accurate and real-time data.
Reduced Customer Retention: Customers have become increasingly more sophisticated over the years and competition has increased dramatically, making it more and more important to maximise the potential from every customer interaction. Providing and excellent customer experience is key to a company’s ability to retain customers and attract new. Speed of response, accuracy and the meeting of expectations are at the heart of this for many, if not all, customers. The ability to draw upon a single, up to date, accurate view of the customer and their purchases or support issues makes it far easier for employees to engage with your customer and exceed all their expectations and needs. Without this view, we are back to time consuming processes and delayed or inaccurate responses.
Seamless Processes: It is extremely difficult to streamline processes that rely on systems and data that are not tied together. The result of disparate systems is likely to be more cumbersome and a time-consuming manual processes. It is also difficult to produce effective workflows or automation with unconnected systems. What should be a simple process can often become overly complicated and unwieldy resulting in more time being taken to fulfill the process and result in a slower outcome. With joined up systems and databases simple processes i.e. Expenses or Sales Commissions can become far more efficient and less onerous.
The Cost of New Systems: In many cases the above issues are blamed on the systems as companies seek to overcome them by investing in costly new systems to do the same job as the existing without resolving the main issues of multiple databases and applications. The cost of the new system is obviously only one issue, there is also the time taken to evaluate and procure a new system, project manage the implementation, train staff and handle all the other aspects of change management. As an alternative, companies could look at utilising their existing systems more effectively by integrating them and sharing the data in real-time.
Staff Satisfaction: Staff satisfaction is key to a company’s ability to retain staff expertise, to attract new and provide the customer experience that will generate increased revenues and profitability. Laborious, time-consuming and unnecessary processes to report, analyse or reconcile data take time away from employees fulfilling their core activities and can often be demotivating and lead to dissatisfaction. Employees that can undertake their daily tasks and flourish within a business using systems and data that enhance and add value are more likely to be more productive and engaged and as such more satisfied in their roles.
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