Effective database management is as much a need of small businesses as it is of a medium or a fast growing ones. Any new business or a venture is an investment that demands setting up of infrastructure, systems, and a general streamlining of the processes. It is a humongous task at hand. At this point of time, an entrepreneur is not really thinking about integrated automation of processes. With the focus solely on getting the structure of the business on track, automation, even if given a thought is perceived in silos or as individual software for each process.
However, overlooking the need for an integrated solution for streamlining a business initially, poses a hurdle in the long run, especially when the business spurs up on its growth track. Software working in silos duplicate data at many locations, leading to redundancy. A sole instance of error in data recording will have a ripple effect of wrong information percolating down from there on. For instance, consider a manufacturing unit with a warehouse. If there are individual spots for stock tracking at the factory and the warehouse, there would be multiple tracking and recording of the same stock, leading to discrepancies. As the business grows, so does the need for keeping a track of the activities along with interdepartmental interactions.
This is where integrated systems come in. With an integrated system in place, data from various departments can be stored at a central location, which can be updated in real time and edited or deleted as and when required. This would most importantly negate duplication while keeping the data sorted and clean.
However, the lack of realization and enthusiasm for integrated software solutions of the SMEs for their businesses is quite prominent. Though an integrated software solution can help a business save on so many expenses like on processes, resources, time management, etc., yet there seem to be bottlenecks, which cause a lackluster attitude of the SMEs towards adapting an integrated software solution.
Simplifying the Complex
One of the evident factors that affects the decision-making in favor of integrated software is the perceived complexity of the systems. Integrated systems are easier to handle as compared to some of the individual software. This is due to the self-explanatory buttons and the easy-to-navigate systems of integrated solutions.
Another bottleneck is the compatibility of systems. For instance, for a retailer of garments, two of the most important needs of the business are inventory and accounts. If the business is already working with an accounting system and wants to migrate to another system that manages inventory, can the team do it? This is a genuine dilemma and the answer is most likely to be a ‘No’. The solution here lies in understanding the need for an automation specific to one’s business in the very initial stage.
The next step would be to look for a software solution which can work to serve the purpose of automation. The last leg of decision would include looking at automation in silos or as an integrated system, which would mean that one either wants a specific application for each process or that your applications are in sync with each other. In the last case, for instance, Deskera has modules for management of financial services, human resource, and customer relationship management software along with inventory management. All of these modules are compatible with each other and can work simultaneously while sharing the database. Restricting data sharing is optional.
Pricing of an integrated system is also a perceived bottleneck that is often contemplated on. Here is something to rethink on. Infrastructure and human resource will usually take away a good chunk of the expenses. However, with an integrated automated system in place, businesses could do away with a part of infrastructure expense along with a lot of human resource expense. An integrated software solution from Deskera can be conveniently hosted on cloud, which would bring the cost of a physical server and its maintenance to nil. Physical servers eat into precious real estate, add to power bills, incur maintenance costs and would need constant technology upgradation. When systems get automated, need for human resource gets minimized.
On hindsight, it is also a fact that automation gives businesses an edge and earns profits in various ways. With features to aid real-time database updates and auto report generation, one saves on time; TAT (turnaround time) for customers is almost instant, and forecasting of business strategies based on database becomes easier.
Integrated enterprise software is a need of the present times, especially with growing customer expectations, competitive businesses, and instant service and grievance management being the need of the customer. Adopting an integrated software solution will not only keep data sorted and updated on real-time basis but would also provide impetus needed to propel the business towards a global high.