By Ivan Moore, Apps Associates
Today’s businesses rely on technology as a foundation, however, forward-thinking businesses view technology as a competitive differentiator. In fact, most businesses rely on many different systems to manage each piece of their operation, from sales and marketing to delivery and production, to customer and employee management. As an example, pharmaceutical and biotech manufacturers use an average of 78 different systems to operate. With these applications running in the Cloud and databases installed on-premise, efficient systems integration and automation are vital to a business’s success providing a full view of its customers across the enterprise.
Enterprise-wide integration means that the different systems you use to manage your business, on-prem or in the Cloud, can speak to each other and share information in real-time to support the business. Sales opportunities, orders, and quotes can easily translate into manufacturing or work orders that are executed by the operation steam. Service agents have clear access to customer service orders, customer history, and invoices. In short, all of these separate pieces work in harmony together to create a winning strategy.
Here are some practical examples of the benefits of enterprise-wide data integration.
Improved Customer Experience
At the end of the day, the most important goal for any business is a satisfied customer, creating loyalty and repeat business. Every interaction you have with the customer matters, starting with making a good first impression. When the initial sale closes, that's just the beginning of the relationship; now you must deliver on what was promised in the sales cycle.
For example, ensuring the operation teams have access to contracts, quotes, pricing, sales notes, and supporting documents is a crucial step in optimizing the hand-off from sales to delivery.
A fully integrated IT enterprise enables organizations to capture insight into customer interaction, behavior, and trends creating a unified view of customer data available to all key internal stakeholders. This enables companies to provide elevated customer experience (CX), rather than passing the customer from department to department.
More Accurate Revenue Indicators
With information flowing freely between your enterprise systems, you can make more informed predictions for your business. For example, manufacturing businesses rely on accurate run rates to forecast revenue and manufacturing needs. With a platform like Salesforce Manufacturing Cloud, the best-in-class CRM has created a system specifically for manufacturers with detailed reporting capabilities, user-friendly dashboards, and top-notch customer support features.
When these factors are integrated into your enterprise tech strategy, your business wins. With more accurate forecasting your procurement teams can stay ahead of demand, managing supply chain logistics and manufacturing capacity. With clearer reporting, your executive team can make strategic decisions with confidence. The sharing of information between systems makes all of this possible.
A Happy, Healthy Company
A healthy company is more than just a positive bottom line. Happy employees are essential to the success of any business. While data integration may not seem immediately relevant to employee satisfaction, it is a crucial factor.
Important to the employee’s experience is providing employees with the data they need in one place (rather than navigating several disparate systems) and automating monotonous processes. In particular, in today’s hybrid home-office work environment, connecting employees with tools and centralized data, organizations can provide connectedness for employees and realize the benefits of a decentralized organization.
As one example, integration between your billing platform and project management platform can mean that your finance team has access to the real-time data that they need to produce accurate invoices, such as usage rates and credits can make the customer invoicing more efficient (and less painful).
Enterprise-wide technology integration is more than just a ‘nice to have;’ it is becoming ever more important for scalability and growth. Prioritizing data integration can open the door for even more improvement, like automation. When you are confident in the quality and availability of your data, the possibilities are endless.
About The Author
Ivan Moore is Practice Director of Apps Associates, a premier enterprise application advisory services leader with a customer-first focus. For more than two decades decision makers have turned to Apps Associates for end-to-end strategic counsel, system integration, and the services required to solve their most complex business and digital transformation challenges — applying expansive expertise in data and analytics, application modernization, automation, digital systems, operations, and change management.