Thursday, July 21, 2016

Overcoming Lost Sales from Incongruent Data


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As fast-growing companies achieve greater market penetration, gain more customers and their organization grows, they often run in to a wall where internal processes struggle to keep up with continued demand. The key challenge to supporting that growth is laying the groundwork to scale the business effectively and efficiently while maintaining customer service and support.

Inefficiencies of a Standalone System Architecture

Businesses that select their systems over time can find themselves with a poorly planned architecture that handles short-term tactical needs sub-optimally while holding the company back from scaling efficiently over the long term. These inefficiencies can become so severe that they cripple growth. There are four primary issues that hinder growth when running a business with siloed systems:

Wasted Employee Productivity

If your employees are bogged down with inefficient and disjointed processes, it increases errors and takes time away from their more important core duties. Important processes such as order processing, invoicing, expense approvals and fulfillment, can take a lot longer to get completed if too much manual effort is required and are often erroneous. For instance, your employees may be spending hours re-entering order information into the accounting and invoicing system, while other employees pull that same information from your CRM system for their order fulfillment processes and to calculate sales commissions. If any orders are canceled in the meantime, your employees have to sift through mounds of data to reconcile this information again.

Lack of Real-time Visibility

When software systems are unintegrated, you have multiple overlapping databases and cannot easily get a view of business performance in a timely fashion. Reports showing performance across your finance, sales, marketing, service and fulfillment departments are crucial to giving you an integrated view of your company’s operations. Most companies simply give up on acquiring this information on a regular basis because of the amount of time it takes to source, extract and analyze this data. For those that do, countless hours are wasted trying to tie unrelated, error- prone and out-of-date information together. Consequently, businesses end up making critical decisions slowly based on inaccurate information, or they make hasty and risky decisions off of gut instinct.

Integration Complexity and Cost

With so many siloed applications, IT wastes an enormous amount of time and money on integrating, maintaining, upgrading, and acquiring new versions of these applications. Once new versions are purchased, even more integration and maintenance needs to be performed for all the different versions of software to work together. Consequently, valuable IT time that could be used to make the business more productive is wasted, while maintenance costs skyrocket.

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The Key To Success is Process Efficiency Across Your Organization

The key to avoiding manual, duplicative work is to ensure that your core business processes are seamlessly integrated from the front office to the back office. Automating such processes enables you to minimize employee time spent on activities that would otherwise be required to manage these processes, and redeploy staff to higher-value activities to help your business innovate and grow. Quantifiable benefits can be realized in critical processes such as quote-to-cash, procure-to-pay, accounts payable, and payroll, expense and incentive management.

Real-Time Visibility and a Unified Customer View

Getting an accurate view of your company’s operations can be a challenge if you have multiple disconnected business systems. Data is frequently fragmented and scattered across these systems, and spreadsheets are often out of date, error-prone and hard to maintain. Efforts to tie together multiple sources of data together can be time- consuming and incomplete. Traditional add-on analytics tools for these siloed applications are expensive to purchase and implement, and often lack the ease of use necessary to make them pervasive.

Financial reporting or revenue recognition can drag on for weeks as employees have to extract and sift through data from multiple divisions, geographies, subsidiaries and business units, each with its own set of order management, revenue and accounting packages. 

So how does a software suite provide you with the key business intelligence components that you need in order to have a holistic as well as detailed view of your business operations? Because all critical functions and processes are in one central database, it can instantly deliver personalized insights of the company’s performance tailored to each user’s need—be it CFO, controller, CEO, sales manager, marketing manager or inventory manager. Because all reports and dashboards extract data from a single, centralized data repository, the multiple versions of the truth that your employees currently obtain from disparate spreadsheets are eliminated.

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Significant Time and Cost Savings

Companies with disparate software systems have to contend with several types of applications ranging from accounting to financial planning, order management, CRM, ecommerce, and business intelligence tools. Multiple applications consume valuable IT time spent planning, deploying, managing, integrating, maintaining, and upgrading various systems. Capital-intensive hardware infrastructure and software licenses, combined with expensive, time-consuming upgrades, drive up your expenses and can get out of control the faster you grow.

 

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Accelerated Growth and Expansion

Expansion to new geographies, markets, product lines, and additional sales channels can be accomplished faster with an integrated system because of unified order and accounting management processes and data. 

Conclusion

Today, companies in virtually every industry are using sophisticated business software to manage operations but many are still struggling to keep up with their growth and manage costs effectively because a hodgepodge of siloed software applications is causing process bottlenecks and employee productivity issues. Integrated cloud business management software suites such as NetSuite are transforming how companies run, and enabling them to transcend growing pains that previously were holding them back from taking their business to the next level of profitable growth.



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