When you run a business, there are a lot of different systems and services that you need to consider in order to work as efficiently as possible. If your company grows organically, for example, you can find yourself taking on new pieces of software or digital services to meet brand new needs, until you have so many systems the entire business becomes excessively complex.
That’s where systems integration becomes advantageous. Learn more about what systems integration is, how siloed software can cause major issues and the role of ERP platforms in good business.
What is Systems Integration?
Systems integration, put simply, is the process of taking all of the systems, services, software and platforms that a company uses and putting them into one simple integrated alternative. Companies that go through a systems integration process interlink and connect all of their otherwise disparate systems, ensuring that there is a consistent flow of data from department to department.
There are several ways of achieving this. Some organisations use software APIs to import data from one platform to another, with other companies choosing to use ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems to bring all the information into one simple location.
The Challenges of Siloed Software
There are a lot of difficulties that companies face as they grow financially and increase in complexity. Siloed software can be one of the biggest issues, referring to packages or systems that act almost entirely independently within a business without any interaction from any other pieces of software or services that the company uses. Some of the biggest challenges that siloed software presents include:
Secure data is becoming more important in a company’s operations. In recent years it has been a significant part of legislation in Great Britain, across the European Union and beyond, with people getting more and more rights regarding their information.
If there is data stored in multiple places across a company it can be much harder to keep secure. When companies breach GDPR they can face significant fines in addition to needing to overhaul their IT systems. Having siloed systems in these instances isn’t worth the risk.
Less Efficient Collaboration
Some businesses rely on collaboration across departments to complete a series of tasks, such as Human Resources working with an IT department on controlling employee data. However, if all of the individual systems are distinct from one another and use different forms of data, it can seem impossible to collaborate between these tools efficiently.
People spend more time converting information from one format to another than actually doing the work, which adds further pressure to the amount of money that a company spends on employee hours.
Disagreements Between Departments
When the systems, services and tasks that a department works with are completely separate from others within a company, there is a greater risk of a “silo mentality” occurring. Employees within a department see themselves as belonging to that department rather than the entire organisation and could harbour resentment for the other parts of the company.
For example, an IT support team might become isolated because it uses systems that nobody else does, in addition to seeing other staff members as customers. Silo mentalities can seriously harm morale.
What is Enterprise Resource Planning?
Enterprise Resource Planning is a type of platform that companies use to manage the essential parts of their business. One of the most important aspects of ERP is the fact these platforms are completely integrated, pulling the essential operations of a company into one simple system. These platforms have developed and evolved over time, with the majority now being online or cloud-based systems that support people working in other locations.
ERP systems tend to be highly flexible and modular, with a selection of features and modules depending on the needs of the individual company. This is ideal for modern businesses looking to develop more effectively, as it adds another level of scalability to support a company as it grows. There are lots of ERP solutions available for procurement managers, so take your time when doing research.
Benefits of Systems Integration
There are plenty of benefits of integrating a company’s systems into one more cohesive way of working, including:
Using a unified platform for all of your services is much more financially efficient. The first reason for this is that companies can cut additional software licensing costs associated with using multiple systems, with any duplicate data that inevitably exists no longer being necessary, so the company can also save money on storage.
Depending on the Enterprise Resource Planning system that is in use, companies may also simply spend less on software licensing, saving money without having to look for any further efficiency savings throughout the company.
Communication across a company is much simpler when you have all of your systems bound into one platform. Previous companies may have used different communication or messaging platforms from department to department, simply communicated verbally or used notes attached to documents such as IT support tickets.
By pulling everything into one more coherent structure, management is able to design policies that enable communication between different departments so there is no confusion when people complete projects that stretch across groups.
Data Insights, Reporting and Analytics
Data is an increasingly integral resource to companies all around the world, with experts analysing the information their company receives and making intelligent decisions based on that.
Integrated systems pull all of your company’s data into one place. You don’t have to spend as much time collecting data from several sources before analysing it, saving you time that could be put into generating greater insights to build a company’s future from. Most ERP solutions come with powerful Business Intelligence (BI) tools as standard.
Become More Integrated
If you run a company and need to become more efficient, focus on integrating all of your systems. It’s a relatively simple change that you feel the benefit of for years to come, pulling all of your work into one place and improving the standards and financial efficiency of your company. Start researching ERP options today or read the articles below for a better understanding of sourcing and implementing ERP software;
- 10 Signs You Might Need ERP Software
- Cloud ERP vs On-Premise ERP Comparison
- ERP Implementation – A Step by Step Guide
- Top Benefits of an ERP System
- The ERP Selection Process Explained
- Building an ERP Implementation Team
- ERP Cost Benefit Analysis
- What is an ERP Consultant?
- Top 10 Tips for a Successful ERP Project
- Popular ERP Implementation Strategies
Why Choose Eventura as your ERP Implementation Partner?
Eventura has been providing robust business solutions to countless organisations for over two decades. We are ERP experts and can identify all of your business needs, and deliver a comprehensive ERP solution that works for you.
As Sage 200 Partners and NetSuite Solution Providers, we can help you identify which solution will fit your business needs the best. Our expert team of business analysts, developers, consultants, technicians and support staff can guide you through your entire project, from initial scoping through to implementation and on-going support.
We’re also managed IT service providers meaning we can help you identify your entire IT infrastructure requirements from day one. If you would like to speak to one of our ERP experts to discuss your options or request a free demo, you can request a free call back here.