Knowledge is often referred to as the currency of power, and nowhere should that be more evident than in business leadership. In this case, the power we refer to is the power to drive the company forward in the best direction for the future. The way to do that is through informed decision-making, and informed decision-making is fueled by knowledge.
Leaders must have a full understanding of operations across their organization, and they can get that knowledge through business management software systems. These systems are a tremendous boon to businesses when integrated correctly. But, if left separated across the organization, these systems could cause some far-reaching and expensive problems.
The Cost of Information Silos
The biggest mistake a company can make is allowing business software to operate in silos. This means that each department or business area has taken an independent approach to business management software systems by purchasing and incorporating limited software solutions specific only to their function. That may not seem immediately problematic—until you’re tasked with building a dashboard or database that represents information across the enterprise.
As each department develops their own business solutions, these individual silos become isolated islands of information. These silos introduce several inefficiencies that ultimately hurt your business and your bottom line.
In smaller to mid-sized organizations, the issue of siloed business systems can occur as the search for more economical software solutions leads individual departments to opt for off-the-shelf solutions that may meet the immediate needs of the department, but not fully meet the needs of the company.
This leads to a company with several different business solutions storing data in numerous individual databases. Separate customer information may be found in accounting software, order management systems, sales force databases, and marketing spreadsheets, and the data may not match up across any of the disparate systems. Since the databases are separate and disconnected, employees may end up spending hours manually transferring data from one database to another.
Prone to Errors
Siloed systems do not speak each other’s language, so data will often need to be transferred or combined manually, opening the door to mis-keyed information. These data entry errors may create data discrepancies across the company leading to inaccurate historical records at best, and shipping/order errors that alienate customers and cut into the company’s bottom line at worst.
When management can’t see integrated data across multiple systems, it’s very difficult to obtain a 360-degree view of the business. This can be especially problematic for the CEO or CFO who needs to see information correlated across all areas of the business in real-time.
Without an integrated business management system, it’s impossible to develop dashboards that provide immediate information and help leadership proactively respond to issues the moment they occur.
The Case for Integrated Business Management Software Systems
The difference between a business that has software in silos and one that uses integrated business software is staggering, and many case studies prove the benefits of integrated solutions. In one example, Bell and Company implemented Acumatica, an affordable cloud ERP solution, and saw increased efficiencies from the mobile capabilities, improved customer support, and reduced IT support costs.
Some of the most significant advantages your organization could see from implementing an integrated solution include:
- 360-Degree View
Integrating a business software solution across all departments throughout your organization lets you develop dashboards that wouldn’t have been possible before. With a 360-degree view of the organization, you can customize dashboards for specific roles that bring in information from all areas relevant to what each role needs to know.
For example, a shipping manager could view orders-to-ship compared with current resource demands to determine more accurate delivery dates. Salespeople could view inventory and supply dashboards and provide more accurate promises to customers during sales calls. The CEO or the CFO could customize their own dashboards to see the most important information from every department throughout the company.
- Greater Productivity
When information is integrated across the business, meetings are more productive and teams can make better-informed decisions.
Troubleshooting issues or performing a risk-analysis is extremely difficult if the decision-making team can’t easily see information from throughout the organization. Teams often need to invest a lot of time and resources into implementing data-collection methods and extracting the information they need to make an educated decision.
With integrated business management systems, the team can save resources and time by looking at existing dashboards or quickly creating new ones to analyze the issue they’re responsible for. As a result, decisions become more efficient and produce better results.
- Reduced IT Costs
When a company must maintain multiple software products across many areas of the organization, it may also place a significant burden on IT resources.
IT analysts often need to create custom solutions to integrate all the separate database for the siloed software solutions. Sometimes integration isn’t feasible and only manual data entry is possible. Consolidating all these software solutions into a single integrated business management system significantly reduces overall IT costs.
- Improved Customer Relationships
An integrated business management solution gives you a complete picture of your organization’s situation before you even pick up the phone to talk to a customer. With this integrated access, develop better pricing models, provide more accurate delivery dates, and offer customers more timely information. All these things lead to reduced time customers need to spend on the phone, a better overall customer experience, and ultimately more sales.
Create Your Integration Solution with ASI
Is it time to get rid of information silos and integrate your systems? Accounting Systems Inc. (ASI) is a leading provider of business software solutions to companies across the United States. With face-to-face training or online classes and support, ASI will ensure your business gets the best system for your needs and all your users are comfortable navigating through it for the information they need.