Many companies have spent a lot of time and money developing solutions geared towards solving individual problems. Large companies may have hundreds of applications meant for different processes. Unfortunately, these applications do not fit well into the broad business architecture because they are designed to fulfil specific needs. They have limited inter-application communication capabilities, which make it difficult for them to help in adding new business value. This is why many companies are turning to integrated business solutions.This strategy helps in
This strategy helps in synchronising business objectives and cultures with Information Technology to ensure that technology is aligned with the goals and strategies of a company. The process absorbs IT as part of the business functions. Integration provides new programmatic interfaces to applications that are difficult to extend. As a result, existing applications will be able to interoperate and be orchestrated using new business process and logic rules.With integrated business planning, an
With integrated business planning, an organization will link operational planning, strategic planning and financial planning to provide a holistic model that functions across the enterprise. The areas that have been successfully integrated include:• Human and information-based business processes
- Human and information-based business processes
- Manufacturing operations
- Supply chain
- Product profitability
- Business policies
- Capital expenditures
- Customer profitability
- Competitive strategy
- Market demand curves
Benefits of Integration
There are many advantages associated with integrating different business solutions, including:
Speeding Up Processes
Integrating the development process helps in automating systems. If the period between design and deployment used to take months, integration will reduce it to a few weeks, and the speed will be reflected in all business decisions.Improving Efficiency
When an organisation maintains different systems for various departments, efficiency is bound to suffer. For example, the details of suppliers, prospects and customers will need to be entered into different systems. More often than not, however, this calls for entering details of the same people several times, which leads to wastage of time. With integration, the details only need to be entered once to update all relevant areas.Eliminating Data Silos
Eliminating Data Silos
This is another process that leads to improved efficiency. Here is an example.
When sales managers want to sell to existing customers, the customers are not likely to respond positively when there are some outstanding issues with their previous products. Consequently, the relationship between the customers and the business may erode further.
When a company uses an integrated system, the sales managers will have the opportunity to see all products and services that customers have had and their interactions with the business as a whole, from customer service to sales. Such complete visibility will help the managers focus on more promising prospects.Improving Customer Experience
Improving Customer Experience
When a company eliminates data silos, customers will enjoy a better experience. Customers mostly get in touch with sales representatives for such reasons as knowing the status of their orders. An integrated system will allow the sales representatives to have all relevant information at their fingertips to ensure that they give the right answers immediately. No customer will be put on hold or told to call later.How to Make a Successful Implementation
How to Make a Successful Implementation
Organisations must organise their top reasons for integration into three main categories, each of which has its own technology and business needs.
The three categories are:
- Efficiency improvers
- Cost reducers
- Revenue enhancers
It becomes increasingly difficult to get a full picture of what is taking place within an organisation as companies become bigger. Different departments may only have visibility of information relevant to them, leading to data blind spots. However, integrated business solutions bring together applications that are not necessarily related to improving all business processes. Businesses should not wait until they are large to implement the system. It is never too early to start.