The best-run companies emphasize communication, transparency and teamwork in the workplace. Yet, we often see companies that practice these principles, but still struggle. What’s going wrong? The reality is that no amount of meetings and good will can make up for data and systems that cannot communicate transparently and enable effective teamwork. Today, people and organizations are only as good as their systems. For example, can a business afford to risk customer relationships because departmental data is stuck in silos? This article explores some of the performance struggles that arise when companies resist embracing modern Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems like Acumatica and instead cling to legacy systems.
Where do you start when there are multiple software systems?
Operational inefficiency, resulting from departments that are systemically disconnected from one another, is the norm in many organizations. Silos have evolved in different directions over time, without hope of connection. It happens. IT is beyond frustrated. It has been the nature of doing business and is no one’s fault.
For example, in sales and service departments, even simple things such as customer titles and contact information can be incompatible or formatted in ways that prevent systems from engaging with each other. Alternatively, automated programs might continually inundate customers with marketing emails, even after that customer has been converted and bought a product.
When the downside of such disconnection becomes apparent, though, companies need a solution to update to a solution that works. It’s a matter of profit and loss, most of the time. Indeed, the downside can be measured in dollars. For example, when outdated systems lack coordination across warehouse systems, sales and shipping, the results will include problems like excessive customer complaints, high overhead for processing returns and so forth. Supply chains are delayed and hamstrung. Decision makers who are trying to address the difficulties are working from different or incomplete information. This is where the competition can take away your business.
In parallel, the nature of work is changing. While IT departments have to stay on top of disparate, un-integrated systems, each with a data silo, workers are increasingly going remote. This is a formula for trouble. Mobile employees who lack unified information about customers and orders are going to make more mistakes than ever.
If processes are siloed and not centralized, how do we integrate everything?
Best-in-class companies use modern cloud ERP. Operations that leverage the power of cloud-based ERP solutions like Acumatica are able to deliver collaboration across the organization and elevate profits. The challenge is one of integration. This is not a big secret. Business managers and their partners in IT have long understood this. The trouble was realizing the integration cost effectively and establishing an integrated set of systems that would survive the test of time. This was not easy, or even possible, until the advent of modern, cloud-native API-based solutions like Acumatica.
Now, it is possible to link previously separate operating areas of the business by provisioning functional modules that work across multiple business processes. For instance, sales, accounting and customer service can now share a common data set and workflow. If a customer has a question about a bill, that question can flow easily from the sales department to the accounting team for resolution. The customer gets the answer quickly, and accurately, while a newly efficient team gets things done with greater productivity.
An integrated ERP platform can also connect critical inventory and supply chain information with sales, marketing, customer relations and production data. All departments will have access to accurate data in the form they need it. Correct and efficient workflow, information and alerts, communication and outcomes will convert to profits. Accounting can reconcile orders and invoices so the company gets paid more quickly—sometimes instantly. Operations and Finance will see proven and trackable return on investment (ROI). Modern ERP can also address legitimate concerns that arise about potentially sensitive information that lives in HR, Compliance and Legal. These are departments which historically don’t easily interoperate with the rest of a business.
To learn more about how ERP can modernize your business and help you escape from the money-losing downside of the old way of doing things, contact us for a software demo and free consultation.