Traditionally the business data capturing process was done manually and characterized by information leakages, poor data management, manual consolidation and analysis which led to delays in decision making and, in some cases inaccuracies. Today with the advent of technology, data can be captured on computers for efficiency, better record keeping, automation of processes and easier accounting. However, a major concern today for businesses is enterprise data integration.
Data collected from different systems and used by different departments should be able to contribute to producing timely, meaningful, accurate, and reliable results as well as empower management to make quality decisions. This should also enable predictive suggestions about the organisation at any given point, with the aim of driving business at the speed of the market, while boosting responsiveness. During manual consolidation and analysis of information from fragmented systems, information may change without the user noticing. Working in a uniform, integrated system with real time data minimizes this risk. Thus, businesses today need to rely heavily on well-integrated systems to make sound decisions.
In this era Enterprise Resource Planning Systems (ERPs), are at the core of integrated business systems. With the aid of 21st century technology, information captured and stored in servers can be integrated in real time with ERP systems. Adopting these solutions enables one to attain instant access to detailed, real-time information, and execute with confidence gained from unique, predictive insights across your entire enterprise, which is vital for the competitiveness of the business.
So, how does integration edify enterprise processes?
With enterprise resource planning systems, users work in only one system. All available information about a business’ functions is continuously integrated into one seamless system at one location. At any time every process participant can see which part of the process is currently being worked on or which activities are currently being conducted. This reduces errors and also leads to a higher data consistency.
For instance, in a manufacturing company, with a typical setup of departments such as finance, sales, production, procurement and storage. The individual departments, use one system to facilitate communication transmission of information across all divisions. Let us take an example of sales, when a sales invoice is uploaded, an automatic update on stock values is made for the production and warehouse department to see available stock levels and production quantities required to meet target stock levels. A journal entry that credits the revenue account and debits the customer account without human intervention is also made automatically to the finance department for record consolidation.
The same applies to smaller businesses where automation aids in ensuring that the inflows and outflows are reconciled.
This ability of enterprise resource planning systems to integrate data when effectively implemented, leads to centralized data storage which reduces storage costs and minimizes risk of working with outdated information. It provides an integrated view to the entire process leading to efficient administration as system administrators only have to manage one system. In addition to this, it enables consistent reporting with easier analysis, reduces duplications and helps the business achieve higher data consistency.