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How multiple management systems can stifle business efficiency

Datel Sage Product Specialist Ian Mowbray looks at the pain points caused by operating multiple, unintegrated business systems and how a single, unified solution can remedy these points to drive business-wide efficiency and productivity.

Whether it's finance and HR or distribution and manufacturing, it’s natural that a business might start with a single management solution to cover a critical aspect of its core operations. From there, it’s likely the business will introduce additional systems to manage other departments as it grows.

These unconnected systems might provide the functionality that the business needs, but may not provide that functionality as efficiently or effectively as a single, unified system. It’s easy to see how the pain points caused by multiple systems that aren't integrated can be seen as a necessary side effect.

And yet they don't have to be. Here are some of the problems a multi-system set up can cause for your business:

It makes onboarding new starters more difficult

Each system will have its own interface and its own set of training requirements. This might make for a protracted on-boarding process for new starters, as they have to learn each system and access different educational resources.

What’s more, the addition of each system introduces an additional learning curve for both new starters and employees, draining efficiency and wasting time.

It makes visibility and reporting time-consuming

Typically, a business with more than one management system will have software dedicated to a particular department. For managers and executives this means accurate and timely reporting is virtually impossible, as getting a business-wide overview demands they delve into each individual system.

Operating multiple systems can also impact your customer-facing experience, as service representatives - such as sales people and customer support staff - can't access detailed customer data rapidly.

If data could be retrieved from a single system, a salesperson could access customer data on the go to secure that repeat custom, or a customer service representative could tap into that single pool of knowledge to deal with customers’ needs in the most effective way possible.

It wastes time entering data into more than one system

Some systems may require data from another solution to function properly - but may lack the ability to communicate with and retrieve data from those solutions. The result: employees have to needlessly enter the same data into more than one system.

In addition to wasting time, this increases the chances of entering data incorrectly, as more entries mean a higher chance of miskeying that data - particularly if it’s entered by the same person in a tedious, drawn-out process.

It makes managing business systems more resource intensive

If your systems are interdependent, that means a problem with one system could impact others. Consequently, you might also require multiple sources of expertise within your business and various support teams, each with their own operating hours and contact points.

A multi-system operation also requires differing technical requirements. It may also mean additional costs, from purchasing and implementing each system to supporting, patching and upgrading those systems.

If these systems are integrated, identifying the source of any particular issue might prove to be difficult and time-consuming - and might also require software vendors or support teams to coordinate with each. Naturally, vendors may be reluctant to admit it's their solution at fault and erroneously blame others.

The benefits of a single business management system

With all this in mind, a single, unified system - even with add-ons and additional modules - can provide a range of benefits, such as driving efficiency and growth. It can remedy the pain problems offered by a single system in the following ways:

A business management system is provided by a single vendor and supported by a single reseller. That means you have a single point of contact in solving system issues. It also means that additional functionality, patches and system management revolves around a single piece of software, reducing costs and man-hours.

A business management system can grow over time to include functionality for different parts of your business. Not only can the system evolve alongside your business - but system users won’t be daunted by a completely new system each time new functions are added. System growth can be made in small, incremental steps to suit your needs.

A business management system stores all your information in one place. That means one point of data entry and one point of retrieval. Reporting, then, can be rapid and comprehensive, as it's produced by a single system designed with in-depth reporting and visibility in mind.

A business management system can provide singular, web-based access. Web-driven access to a single solution unlocks the means to access that information on the go from a mobile device or laptop. So, not only can you can you access critical data from a single point of access, that point of access can go where your business needs it to.

A business management system is designed to be adaptable. That means add-ons, modules and bespoke development need only be applied to a single system. If you want to modify multiple existing systems, you need the relevant expertise and development time for each respective system - and all the associated cost that entails.

All these benefits add up to a particularly notable benefit: more time. Single-system efficiency enables your employees to do more in less time - that’s more time to spend on developing the business, from improving the customer-facing experience to developing innovation and driving growth.

Find out more about the benefits of a unified business management system

Identifying problem points caused by numerous business management systems is the first step in understanding how a single management system can eliminate those problems, drive efficiency and guide growth across your business.

To find out more, get in touch with Datel's Sage experts - and see how a single solution can unlock multiple benefits for your business.