One of the biggest challenges that small businesses and even some mid-sized businesses face today is when their operational applications begin to show the strain of being asked to do more then they’re designed for. As your company grows, you become more and more dependent on your financial, inventory, accounting, supply chain and other standalone applications that you started out with.
The difficulty is that these applications, like QuickBooks, Excel and others were never designed to operate as enterprise-wide information management systems. And this is exactly what you need as you grow.
A bigger business needs the stability of one main data set that can be accessed and manipulated by different departments at any one time. That’s why we’ve posted three good reasons to consider hiring an IT firm to integrate your standalone applications together or into your new ERP system.
Reason 1 – Ensure the integrity of your data
The most obvious downfall to running ten different applications that don’t communicate with one another is that it’s very easy to create multiple sets of the same data. This breeds inaccuracy and can even be quite harmful.
It’s very easy to overwrite good information with bad, to confuse old data sets with current info and more. It’s critical, then, to be able to create and maintain one cohesive data set that’s accessed by different applications. Thankfully, it’s possible to create a software bridge between independent applications or even to tie them into an enterprise resource planning system like Oracle, SAP, Lawson and so on.
Reason 2 – Security
It’s easy to see how a bunch of low-cost and disconnected applications with many sets of data can be a security problem. With all of this information floating around, you can easily lose track. It’s also much easier for someone with less than honorable intentions to screw with you.
Integrating these applications through a single nexus provides a single point of security which can stand alone or be added onto the built-in security features of each application.
Reason 3 – You save money
Believe it or not, hiring an IT firm to create an integration nexus or to integrate your standalone applications into a larger system will actually save you a great deal of money in the long run.
There is certainly an investment on the front end, but it’s easy to show how streamlining your business processes becomes a tremendous advantage to your company in time management, productivity and cost savings. Any quality IT firm will include this analysis in its quote to do the work.
In the information age, a growing business can’t afford to be bogged down by multiple sets of duplicated data, cranky third-party applications that stubbornly refuse to talk to each other and you certainly don’t need to pay extra employees for the extra time it takes to compensate. Integration is often the intermediary step between moving from a set of independent applications to a complete enterprise-wide system. In fact, if done correctly, it makes the transition smooth and cost-effective.