Data Silos, Workflows and the Impact of ERP Integration
In the dynamic world of modern business, it's increasingly problematic to have unintegrated business systems that don’t work cooperatively. Ideally, you have a system that facilitates the movement of data from one department into the next, with the active process flowing from procurement of parts, to management of inventory, to accounting and shipping, all seamless and automated. Such a system reduces costs and manual effort, while streamlining the processes that make your business more competitive.
One critical area in which companies can improve their efficiency is through the elimination of data silos that exist between the disparate systems and software. By integrating these previously distinct systems into a unified ERP solution, your company becomes more cohesive and nimble, gaining benefits that impact all integrated departments.
The integration of your disparate business systems will allow you to enhance your business’ workflow, improving cooperative efforts between departments while providing additional functionality that is unavailable in a multi-system solution.
But what is a ‘workflow’ when talking about business and ERP systems? To put it simply, your workflow is the process your business follows from the point of sale to the day the transaction is complete.
With an ERP linking all components of the chain together, the system guides users and data through each step, ensuring accuracy and efficiency. These outcomes provide your company with stronger decision-making capabilities, helping you align decisions with business objectives and capacities.
Defining Data, Integration and the Benefits
As your company looks to improve operations, it's important to embrace technology for its plethora of benefits. The implementation of an integrated ERP solution is helpful to facilitate the sharing of real-time, accurate data throughout your departments, helping to automate your front-to-back end operative process. Many benefits of a unified system stem from the elimination of the need for manual data entry, which is costly and time-consuming, and can lead to errors. This is where we begin to see the value of ERP utilization.
With an ERP system helping to integrate your essential applications into a single unified system, your staff members can access critical data from all departments, with the software offering modules for everything from inventory control, finance and sales, to reporting and dashboarding. When your whole team is working from the same database, they function more like an actual team, one that benefits from shared knowledge and cooperative processes. As a result, data can populate from one department to the next instantly and automatically, with sales orders populating the fulfilment module and the finance department in an instant.
Now let’s look at some other key workflow benefits of ERP.
Breaking Down Data Silos
Both customers and employees benefit for system integration. While there is often the tendency for departments to work independently of each other, this can result in compromised operational efficiency. But with an ERP, these inefficiencies can be addressed, leading to a reduction in duplicate data entry and more accurate data. In fact, even if you had installed the most holistic solution imaginable if it's made up of disparate parts and those parts can't communicate effectively you may as well have no system at all.
Improved Communication Channels
Fewer points of manual data entry eliminates duplicate data input. Furthermore, you can stop treating your purchases as stand alone transactions and look at them as part of the bigger picture, examining the interlinking elements that make up the business workflow. An ERP system can provide you with an effective portal for collaboration, cooperation, and communication between your departments, ensuring that key data, such as sales orders and inventory counts, are available when and where you need it, regardless of department.
Data Accuracy Increased
Another benefit of breaking down system segregation is greater accuracy. Nobody like mistakes, but mistakes in your data can be more than a simple frustration. With a fully integrated ERP solution, your company can ensure the accuracy of data by having one unified location in which it is stored. This data is presented in real time, meaning that staff do not have to wait for the latest reports or emails from other departments to become informed on critical issues. Furthermore, the control provided by this model allows for business owners to better plan effective strategies that are informed by data they know to be accurate.
Financial Savings and Benefits
Through the integration of all your business systems into the same silo, you can achieve a reduction in infrastructure requirements and capital expenditure on business systems. With an ERP solution, only one system need be licensed, condensing your monthly payments into a single bill. Furthermore, with data flowing automatically through the integrated system, the finance department is afforded more accurate and more rapidly attainable business data, ensuring they can meet payment requirements or invoice clients in an improved timeframe.
A Competitive Edge in a Competitive World
In the competitive world of modern business, your workflow needs to be as efficient as possible if you want to compete with the big-box competitors that seem to lie around every corner. You must be the best in your industry, and to do so, you need tools that are designed to not only help you succeeded, but also to help you outpace the competition. The workflow integration that is available with a fully integrated ERP solution keeps your customers happy, improves the flow of orders through your operation, and dramatically improves the efficiency of your workflow.