With each operational area having its own unique requirements and challenges, the need for integrated business management software is clearer than ever.
Business operations are complex and comprise many moving parts. Every department has its own unique requirements and challenges and, because of this, each one tends to operate in a bubble.
These bubbles are commonly referred to as organisational silos, in which different divisions in a business avoid sharing information with one another. Although business culture may be the primary cause of this, a lack of software integration is often to blame as well.
Organisational silos are the cause of many inefficiencies and the lack of a business’s ability to adapt to change. Moreover, a lack of interoperability between divisions whose responsibilities are closely connected, as is the case with sales and marketing, means reduced productivity and value delivery.
Where silos persist, business resilience and continuity are compromised. If accounting teams cannot communicate efficiently with sales and procurement, then business finances could be put at risk. If marketing cannot readily pass leads to sales teams, then the business could miss out on new customers. If customer support teams cannot easily pass on feedback to research and development teams, then it will be harder to make the improvements customers demand. The list goes on.
The problem with existing solutions
Successful businesses eventually reach a size when traditional methods of collaboration and communication break down. This can even be a problem for smaller companies too, especially those with distributed workforces. In such environments, sharing information verbally over the cubicle wall or leaving post-it notes on people’s desks is not just impractical – it is impossible.
With the rise of large office spaces and increasingly distributed workforces came the ubiquity of email. But email too is a wholly inefficient way to collaborate on projects or share documents and data. In situations where businesses rely too much on email, teams often manually enter data into different systems, which inevitably results in inconsistencies, not to mention a major productivity hit. All that translates into a greater risk of human error and higher labour costs.
Today, most organisations use rather more sophisticated systems than email to facilitate team collaboration. However, in many businesses, different departments use different software, and it is not always easy to transmit information between the two. For companies heavily reliant on legacy systems, sharing information may even be impossible without manual intervention.
Linking these disparate environments together can be a complex, long-term project due to the myriad data formats and standards involved. For example, the enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation lifecycle typically takes between six months and two years. Given the rapidly evolving nature of business technology, such timespans are hardly desirable.
What is integrated business management software?
Integrated business management system (IBMS) is exactly what it sounds like – a suite of integrated applications designed to facilitate core business processes. IBMS software provides a clear and uniform view of your organisation’s operations by way of a shared database serving as a single source of truth (SSoT). In a siloed organisation, by contrast, each department has its own apps and databases, which rarely function well together.
With IBMS software, all your management systems work together, with the individual functions of each department aligning behind the top-level goal of adding value to your organisation. An integrated approach streamlines efficiency and cross-departmental collaboration to improve operational resilience and business continuity.
This contrasts to the traditional approach to enterprise management software, which is largely monolithic and highly customized. On the other hand, such systems lack agility and are almost impossible to modernise and scale.
Modern business management systems, however, are fully cloud-enabled, which means they are not dependent on internal data centers and other resources. Instead, teams can access their cloud-based software from any internet-connected device in any location. This makes cloud-hosted business management apps essential for today’s distributed workforces.
Fuelling a cycle of continuous improvement
The only constant in the inseparably connected worlds of business and technology is change. Organisations must be able to adapt to change, which means maintaining complete visibility into business-critical information and being able to scale with demand.
Operational resilience is a process of continuous improvement and innovation, and it begins with having a consolidated technology environment. IBMS software directly contributes to risk management and operational resilience by giving stakeholders a clear picture of everything that is going on in their businesses. That way, they can make informed decisions based on real-time data, current trends, and past performance metrics – as opposed to waiting for reports from other departments.
Adaptability and continuous improvement also depend heavily on an organisation’s ability to scale its systems with demand. A cloud-hosted IBMS is inherently more scalable, since it does not rely on on-premises servers and data centers. Rather, it leverages a distributed computing environment whereby it is easy to provision resources, such as storage or compute power. By eliminating unnecessary redundancies, integrated systems also free up financial and human resources. These can then be reinvested into implementing and managing a growing array of cloud-hosted computing resources, including data storage and compute power.
Simplifying governance, risk management, and compliance
Information, whether in the form of intellectual property, customer data, or financial accounts, is the most valuable asset in any modern enterprise. That information also presents risk, hence the need for proper governance, risk management, and compliance (GRC). With an integrated technology environment, businesses can create and apply a unified GRC policy, rather than having to do so across a disparate operational infrastructure. They will still need to take a more granular approach to data itself, given that different types of data present different risks, but it will be much easier to do so once the technological barriers have been eliminated.
Every company depends on the ability of its various divisions to communicate effectively, and that is why an integrated approach to business management is vital for long-term success and resilience. Cloud-based solutions make that goal far more attainable.
ContinuSys is a set of integrated business management software tools designed to streamline your business operations, ensure continuity, and eliminate data silos. Start your 30-day free trial now to see how it works.