5 Ways system integration can save you time and money.
Systems engineer W. Edwards Deming is often attributed with saying, “Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.” Whether Deming first said this or not, the idea is more than half a century old and wasn’t originally uttered with software in mind. However, this digital age of software platforms for every single thing is breathing new life into this concept.
Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets. Take a minute to think beyond your individual software platforms and try to visualize how all of your software systems currently are (or aren’t) working together as a digital infrastructure that supports your operation. Do you have an interconnected system that makes it easy to find accurate information fast? Or, do you have data silos that make it hard to collaborate, that force your team into duplicating work and that make reporting a nightmare?
Either way, you have a system in place and you know how to work within it. The question is: is that system designed to help you succeed or fail?
Systems integration should be a key focus for a better outcome.
If you weren’t able to picture your current software systems linking together like one glorious web of efficiency, it’s time to talk integration. System integration refers to the process of connecting all of your company’s software sub-systems (like your CMMS or ERP system, Salesforce or another CRM, your financial software, etc.) so that they function as one unified system. It’s expected to be a $530 billion industry in the next few years and it’s not hard to see why. Here are a handful of the most attractive benefits of getting your software systems to communicate the way you want them to:
1. Faster workflows
Without a doubt, systems integration creates efficiencies for your operation. It also means that the software magic behind it all converts data formats for you, eliminating the need to import and export from multiple places or reformat data types. Plus, you and your team have instant access to properly formatted legacy data you may need.
2. More accurate data
Having one centralized system for your company’s data cuts out a lot of the room for human error that comes with manual and duplicate data entry. It’s worth noting, too, that globally the cost of repetitive tasks (like duplicate data entry) is in the trillions. Yikes. In addition to fewer data errors, system integration allows real-time data sharing, which means that everyone can trust they are viewing the most up-to-date information. This can be particularly helpful when compiling compliance, insurance and other types of reporting.
3. Better resource allocation
Access to accurate, up-to-date data gives you the information you need to better forecast and plan. You can use this new superpower to help manage inventory, scheduling, production and billing cycles, and more, all to ensure you’re getting the best use out of every person’s and asset’s time. It’s data-driven decision-making at its finest. Not to mention that by freeing up loads of data entry and maintenance hours, you’ll likely find yourself with more labor hours to spend on higher-value tasks.
4. Improved customer service
Shared, real-time data also allows for a much better customer experience. Sales folks are armed with business intelligence data that creates a clearer picture of the ideal customer target. Account managers have accurate, detailed views into what issues their customers have, when they may need to place an order, where their invoicing stands, etc. Similarly, customer service people have the information they need troubleshoot faster and more effectively without having to chase down answers.
5. Happier people
By enabling communication between all your designated systems, you allow everyone to access what they need from the system they are most comfortable using. It cuts down on training time and actually fosters better, more informed cross-team collaboration. It’s not really a shocker, but the numbers say that happier workers are more productive workers. Studies show up to a 20 percent increase in productivity and nearly a 40 percent increase in sales when employees are happy.
If you’re working with a clunky, inefficient collection of platforms rather than that strong digital infrastructure, just remember – you’re working in a system that’s perfectly designed to make your operation clunky and inefficient. There is a better way to get the results you actually want. Interested in learning more about system integration? Take a look at this blog post about how to strategically approach software integration.