In the best-run enterprises in each industry, the various departments tend to be closely aligned with one another in a complex web of activity.
Forrester specified integration as the first of five key best practices for more productive planning and execution.
Like the pieces of an intricate mechanism, accounting affects manufacturing planning, which impacts marketing, which defines the organization’s goals in business partner negotiations.
As your enterprise approaches maximum efficiency it leaves less and less room for project delays or surprises.
That is one of the primary reasons why you may have seen integrated business management solutions so high on CIO priority lists over the past five years.
Long-term planning for staying flexible in volatile markets demands a steady hand on financial controls from inventory valuation to currency normalization.
The best integrated management systems assure flawless data flow from ERP systems to CRM and everything in between. The goal is a virtual pane of glass with absolute visibility into every corner of the enterprise.
That is also how leading firms always seem to make the right strategic moves. They are not fortune tellers and they are not lucky: They just have better visibility into their own operations.
One of the beneficial outcomes of this intense concentration on pan-enterprise visibility is that providers of integrated business management solutions have crowded into a burgeoning market, driving down prices until practical for the mid-sized enterprise.
There is no longer a need for knowledge and data to pool inside spreadsheets somewhere deep in a forgotten network folder. There does not need to be confusion over which version is the most current.
With a single source of the latest data, servers can operate faster with more storage space available, since there are not countless versions of the same document sitting in email folders all over the enterprise.
That may also be why the departments most often leading the charge for greater pan-enterprise visibility are those responsible for governance, risk and compliance.
According to the 2015 GRC Maturity Survey, “90 percent of respondents stated the integrated approach to GRC has either met or exceeded expectations.”
The shared data that comes from integrated business management is the enemy of risk.
Free Data Flow
The top enterprises in each industry are able to free up time for innovation when they allow data to flow freely from department to department, whenever and wherever it is needed.
Sales teams can instantly answer questions about past orders, upcoming shipments and a related prospect’s stage in the customer journey.
Integrated business management solutions allow auditors to access payroll and reconcile their financials against posted accounts.
In the years ahead, enterprise data itself will be considered intellectual property and a competitive advantage.
The best data analysis tools put clear visualizations and intuitive decision support in the hands of everyone in your most pivotal roles. That is how enterprise teams, despite being geographically dispersed and tasked with conflicting priorities, can collaborate on realizing a singular vision.
Data as a Lighthouse
In ancient times, the lighthouse was the fixed point that guided ships through high risk and dangerous waters. In the economic storms of contemporary global market where local impacts are immediately felt around the world, centralized data is the new lighthouse.
Integrated business management solutions are how your enterprise can work with that data to establish visibility and certainty on where you need to go next.
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