Bernice is a CMO in a midsize enterprise. She’s sitting in front of her computer, trying to make a list of projects her company has done, the names of people who have worked on the project, the time they have spent on work and calculate the marketing ROI. It sounds like a simple enough task, and it would be if all the data was easy to access.
It’s not. The project data is a part of a separate project portal, some of the details regarding the clients can be found only on the CRM, the data regarding people who have worked on the project is in yet another tool, while the man-hours spent on the project are available only on separate system that tracks attendance. So, she has to dig for the data, manually collate it on Excel, and try and make sense out of it all. Needless to say, this eats up a lot of her time.
Siloed Data is too Often Buried Data
Sadly, it’s not only Bernice or CMOs who faces the problem of finding the needle of information she wants in the haystack of digital data. Not only CEOs and Managers, but employees at every level within organization encounter the difficulty of finding the information they need. At the root of the problem is data scattered across systems, and data stored in separate silos in applications that do not talk to each other. When you add paper documents to the mix, the complexity rises one notch.
And the problem is not just restricted separate systems and applications for internal use – there are many organizations that have 30-40 customer-facing websites with often overlapping, and sometime even conflicting, messaging.
While everyone knows about problems that are created by scattered data, most organizations continue to add new, unconnected applications and systems that capture and process data. So, the question that most CIOs end up asking is, “How can I make data for different sources easily & quickly accessible? How can I turn fragmented data sources into a coherent whole?”
When you look logically, there are two broad ways to solve the problem of fragmented enterprise data:
The idea – that if you have a single system that can help manage all the functions of one business, it will be a lot easier to consolidate & manage all data – has prompted many organizations to implement ERP solutions. And it is a fact. Smartly implemented, ERP systems will make data easier to access.
However, it’s not a definite solution: not only do business often have more than one ERP system implemented, but there are always stray applications developed on an ad hoc basis to tackle specific tasks. Needless to say, ERP systems do add a lot of value to business and help consolidate data up to a degree – but are rarely a single-shot solution.
Another popular method used to provide users with a good overview of data involves integration between various applications and systems. EAI (enterprise application integration) is usually the most obvious path for enterprises that need to fetch and display data from a number of disparate sources. Usually referred to as ‘spaghetti,’ such integration depends on middleware that connects different applications to each other.
Want to discuss what’s the best way is for your business? Let’s talk about it.
While there’s more than one way to skin the cat, simply integrating applications won’t solve all your problems: you also need to display the data in an easy to understand format.
By building intelligent dashboards, you can offer real-time data on specific aspects of your business in simple-to-understand visuals. Armed with integrated data and enterprise dashboards, your workforce has access to business-critical data in real-time, which in turn leads to quicker and more effective decisions.
Want assistance with enterprise application integration? Want help with implementing intelligent enterprise dashboards? Let’s talk about how we can make it work for you.
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