January 24, 2017
In a growing business, it's often the case that salespeople, bookkeepers, and warehouse staff all use different applications to manage their respective aspect of the business. The use of these specific types of applications is very much necessary for the effective functioning of the different departments of the company. However, the problem with such disparate software is that there is a high chance of the data being inconsistent at times.
What happens when your apps don't talk to each other?
Let's imagine a situation in which a customer asks a salesperson over the phone about the availability of a product. When the salesperson checks his CRM system, he finds that the product is out of stock and conveys that to the customer. However, what that salesperson doesn't know is that the purchase department, which uses its own separate inventory management tool, has recently placed an order for that product. If the salesperson had known this, the sale could have been completed. But, because these two teams use two siloed applications, the company lost that sale due to data inconsistencies.
Usually, businesses find themselves drowning in a pool of inaccurate or inadequate data when multiple software are involved. Employees are then forced to spend a lot of time on data entry and re-entry, validating data integrity, etc. If this sounds familiar, you can change the way you run your business by connecting your applications so that they work together.
Since different departments in your company share a lot of information, it is of utmost importance that this data is consistent across all apps. Not having the same data can lead to confusion and that's the last thing you'd want. In an integrated system, all information is usually stored in the same database. When data is altered in one app, those changes are immediately reflected across all other systems, which means all your data is always up to date.
Faster business decisions
A good software leverages the power of the data from other applications to provide you with valuable and timely insights. Armed with this information, you can assess the performance of the different departments and get a complete view of your business operations. Since all related information is available in real-time in one place, you can make well informed and faster decisions because you don't have to sift through multiple databases, tying the information together.
In the earlier example, we can see that if the salesperson had access to the purchase department's data, he would know that the product would be restocked soon, and would place the customer's order. With an integrated solution, it becomes easier to obtain such important pieces of information and make better business decisions.
Minimal data entry
According to a study, 71% of sales reps feel they spend too much time on data entry. They lose even more valuable time on data re-entry, time that could instead be spent on making more sales. When your warehouse staff do a stocktake and enter the new quantity in the inventory management system, the same has to be entered in the accounting and CRM systems as well. If all these apps are connected, the information is relayed automatically without the need for any manual intervention and you can greatly minimize the costs associated with manual errors.
Emails, phone calls, and conversations during coffee breaks are not the most effective ways to collaborate as a team. By automating the flow of information across apps, teams can easily share their information with other teams, and stay updated. When every team in a company can easily access data across all departments, then the company as a whole can streamline operations and work more efficiently.
With an integrated suite of applications, it's easier to transfer data across multiple software automatically. Coud-based software talk to each other seamlessly without you having to spend time figuring out a way to tie the information from the different apps; this is not easy to achieve with most on-premise applications. In the long run, not only do you save time and effort for your teams, you also gain more data-driven insights that help you make the best decisions for your business.