The main drivers of business growth are:
- Increase in new customers
- Increase sales to new and existing customers
- Produce more products and even increase the range of products
- Deliver more services to your customers
- Be on top of your finances and accounts
This means that all four business functions (marketing, sales, operations and finance) must work together and be aligned to the same goals. There will be an increase of activity in each of these areas and things will need to be more standardized and repeatable to accommodate this increase.
There is a risk that each business function will independently evolve into separate silos within your organization. This is dangerous because each of these teams will not have the visibility they need across the business to ensure they are all pulling toward a common goal.
Often each of the functions develops its own processes and implements its own systems with a focus only on its own processes rather than on the overall goals and needs of the business.
This can make communication between teams fragmented and frustrating, allowing more things to slip through the gap and increase the time it takes to do the fundamental thing that your business relies on — converting orders into paid bills. This can have a dramatic effect on your business performance.
From a technology point of view, using multiple systems for different functions makes it difficult to ensure information is passed successfully between teams as integration and security become a challenge.
To achieve a robust and scalable business, you need to have all functions aligned in a coherent way with joined up systems and processes. By unifying your business information into a single, centralized platform, you can secure information with everyone working off the same data set. Everyone can see the status and progress of work throughout the business.
Marketing can see which customers have bought what and where there is more opportunity. Sales can see what stage their customer’s orders are in and will know when bills have been paid or when accounts are on stop. Operations will see new orders allowing them to plan production, processing, inventory and shipping appropriately.
From the technology angle, you can reduce operational overhead by reducing the amount of systems you need to maintain, backup and upgrade. Training becomes easier, and there is less information loss or unnecessary duplication of data and effort.
To best ensure that all areas of the business drive toward the same business goal, you need to ensure a single, consistent view of the business as a whole. One source of information. One version of the truth. One common goal.
Investing in software is really an investment in your business’s future success.