Growing companies constantly struggle with selecting the right business system to manage their expanding operations. They usually opt to focus on short-term revenue goals instead of properly planning for the sourcing and implementation of an integrated business process management solution. But when an organization relies on disparate systems to do its work, it begins to run into bottlenecks. The result is a series of business applications that are crippled with process inefficiencies and software integration challenges.

The Architecture of a Typical Business System

In its early stages, a company is usually more concerned about addressing existing problems than planning for future growth. Typically, it first installs accounting software such as QuickBooks to manage its bookkeeping tasks. As it expands and acquires more customers, the business upgrades to standalone management systems together with a few separate systems for inventory management, order management, and fulfillment systems.

The company then opens new branches in many locations and embraces additional sales channels, which require complex processes (such as billing) for e-commerce integration. Unfortunately, because of its short-sightedness, this company will ultimately end up with a poorly planned system that prevents it from scaling efficiently and inhibits productivity.

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The Challenges of Disparate Software Systems

When growing companies have many separate software systems, each with their own functions and dependencies, they run into many business challenges that prevent them from reaching their full potential. Here’s a summary of the main issues that can impede your company’s growth if you rely on disparate business systems:

  1. Decreased Employee Productivity

Your employees must perform at their optimal productivity to sustain your growth projections. However, if they’re bogged down with inefficient and isolated processes, they’ll inevitably run into errors—and waste precious time trying to fix them. Manually executed operations are particularly susceptible to human error and take too long to complete.

For example, suppose one employee spends hours entering order information into an accounting and invoicing system, only for another employee to pull that same information from your CRM system for order fulfillment and to calculate sales reps’ sales commissions. Now, if those orders get cancelled, the employees will have to comb through massive amounts of data to update the information, which is a labor-intensive and wasteful process.

  1. Lack of Real-Time Data

When your company’s software systems aren’t integrated with each other, you may end up with data consistency issues—and run the risk of making wrong decisions because you used stale or incorrect data. Without an integrated solution, you will always have to go back to every source to make sure the data is current.

  1. Expensive Management

It is costly to run, manage, and integrate disparate applications and business systems. Imagine, for a moment, that to complete a report on your sales numbers compared to the number of new leads generated, you have to go to 3 or 4 applications. Repeat that over the course of a week, month, year. These resources would be better utilized in other productive areas of your business.

  1. Poor Customer Service

Customer acquisition and retention are essential to a company’s success. When your customers are unable to quickly get information on the status of a ticket because your systems are not integrated, they will be less satisfied, and you’ll risk losing them to your competitors. An integrated system ensures that your customer service reps have access to the latest and correct information at all times, enabling them to serve your customers more efficiently.

Benefits of an Integrated Software Solution

We’ve seen that disparate systems hamper your business’s growth and that integration is essential to running a well-oiled machine. To address many of these problems, Microsoft launched the Dynamics 365 Business Central software suite. This integrated, cloud-based solution consists of advanced features that will seamlessly connect your employees and process through various activities, such as data sharing and reporting.

  1. Increased Flexibility and Reduced Costs

Dynamics 365 has a modular licensing model. This means businesses can use a variety of apps to build tailored solutions that best fit their requirements without paying for apps they won’t use. Dynamics 365 also has a dedicated app store packed with a number of Microsoft-approved extensions and plug-ins developed for a wide range of industry-specific needs. And since it’s cloud based, Dynamics 365 affords businesses greater flexibility—you only need an internet connection to access it.

  1. Increased Productivity

Breaking down data silos and allowing business applications to receive and share information from a centralized system helps your employees work more productively. Microsoft has incorporated many artificial intelligence features into its Dynamics 365 products to automate repetitive tasks and as well as giving you a better grasp on your current reality..

  1. Improved Security and Compliance

Since Dynamics 365 is cloud based, you no longer have to worry about keeping your applications up to date and secure. This allows you to concentrate on your core business activities. Dynamics 365 also has a robust security model that ensures both the integrity and privacy of your data.

Worried about user privacy in light of the GDPR? Dynamics 365 also provides you with the tools necessary to safeguard individual privacy. For more information on how Dynamics 365 and the Microsoft cloud help keep your organization compliant, check out Microsoft’s article on the subject.

  1. A Simpler Way of Working

Dynamics 365 offers a unified, user-friendly interface that gives your employees everything they need to perform their work. You can more easily customize your business solutions with solutions like Microsoft Flow, which allows users to create workflows based on third-party interactions and easily integrate them into their Dynamics apps.

For example, suppose you have a digital marketing campaign, and you want to integrate Twitter—your chosen social listening platform—into Dynamics 365. This is as simple as setting up a workflow in Dynamics 365. You may want to generate a new lead in your sales application each time someone tweets a particular word or phrase, or you may want to do something else—that choice is entirely yours with workflows.

The Dynamics 365 package also includes Power Apps that enable users to create mobile apps tailored to their individual needs, all through a convenient drag-and-drop interface. Allowing your users to create apps without the need for writing complex code ensures that they can get the most out of Dynamics 365’s functionality.

Conclusion

If your business has reached a certain size and a certain number of employees and clients, you are probably at the point where you need to streamline your processes. Dynamics 365’s ability to integrate seamlessly and analyze data in real time along with the ease of use make it the obvious choice for businesses searching for a process management software.

Written by Mathieu Pipe-Rondeau Marketing Communications Specialist @ SherWeb