Many businesses have disparate data throughout. Some common examples are:-
1) Customer data – in your accounts system, and reps all have their own contact lists
2) Stock data – in your inventory system, estimating package, ms excel
3) Price Lists – in your accounting / inventory system, excel / word price lists, web site
Why is this bad? In 3 words – Errors and Inefficiency
Here’s a scenario that’s pretty common:-
Company A revises their product range and pricing. The accounting / inventory system is updated by one person, say the inventory controller. Someone in sales / admin may update the price list/s in excel. Someone in sales / marketing may update the website. Sales people then distribute the price list/s to customers. Customer information may have been updated in the accounting system and not their contact lists, or vice versa.
Customers start placing orders. These orders are despatched and invoiced. A higher than usual level of invoice queries are received because customers either:-
a) Were not informed of the changes (disparate customer data)
b) Were informed of pricing incorrectly (transposition error on the excel price lists)
Most queries involve 2-3 emails and/or phone calls. A credit or free product might be offered to compensate the customer. Customers may take their business elsewhere due to ‘being too hard to deal with’.
End Result – lost sales, lost profit
Here’s the same scenario where all data resides in a single database. Probably your ERP software.
Company A revises their product range and pricing. The ERP system is updated by one person, say the inventory controller. Price list/s are reports using this same data, and are formatted to how the sales team want them. The website is integrated to the ERP system so all product details and prices are updated automatically. Sales people then distribute the price list/s to customers. Customer information is shared from the ERP system including in sales reps iphones.
Customers start placing orders. These orders are despatched and invoiced. No extra queries or credits occur and the process has been quite seamless from end-to-end.
Different business might handle this process in various ways. The critical factor is ‘A Single Source of the Truth’ and sharing of data as opposed to silo’s of data causing you pain on a daily basis.
At Momentum we fix problems lkike this.