Take the following cases. Say you are in the headquarters of your firm and you have a branch office in a different city or country. You needed the latest sales figures from this branch to carry out a minor business operation and you request the branch for the same. However, when you receive the figures, you see that it is in a format that is completely different from what you follow internally and converting these figures into your format takes a lot of time.
Or let’s say that your firm acquired another firm recently. Your employees need to collaborate with employees from this acquired firm but are unable to do so because the systems and software you use to manage your business are vastly different from theirs.
Needless to say, in either case, business suffers. This is what happens when businesses use disparate systems to manage their businesses, a modus operandi that has many disadvantages. The productivity of employees decreases as they have to key in the same information multiple times, the senior management gains little to no visibility as they have to tackle multiple systems, and employees waste effort and time trying to get these systems to work together and avoid data silos.
Disparate systems come to exist due to other reasons as well. Many organizations deploy IT solutions to digitize their business processes. However, most of the time, this is done on an ad hoc basis instead of being implemented as part of a coordinated organization-wide strategy. Due to budget constraints, lack of will on the part of the senior management, or some other reason, organizations deploy one solution at a time, which means that different vendors provide different solutions that don’t communicate with one another.
So, how do we counter this issue? How do we ensure that there is no loss in employee productivity?
One of the ways is to integrate these disparate solutions after they have been deployed. The organization has to engage an IT consultant to get the systems to collaborate with one another. This approach, however, is highly unadvisable. Today, many organizations are deploying SaaS solutions and integrating these solutions with legacy on-premise systems has become a huge challenge. Not only is this a highly effort-intensive and time-intensive task but it also costs the organization a lot in IT consultant’s fees.
So, what other options do we have?
The best option is to create a comprehensive and coherent IT strategy for the digitization of the entire business and follow it up with the deployment of packaged integration platforms that help the organization with end to end business process management. Unlike stand-alone solutions that have to be bought and integrated, packaged integration platforms come pre-integrated.
The scope of a platform is much more than that of a stand-alone solution. Any platform is developed around a single business process like expense management, HRM, CRM, or procurement management and comes with multiple integrated solutions (called modules) that cater to other business processes. For example, an expense management platform will have travel booking, expense management, and asset management as its core modules and HRM, CRM, online signature, and procurement as add-ons. This way, the platform provides a single interface from which to manage all the business processes.
There are multiple advantages of platforms. They address all the issues about disparate solutions that we raised earlier – they improve the productivity of the employees as systems are interoperable and prevent the creation of data silos. They allow organizations to standardize and optimize their business processes across the organization, including any other locations where they might have offices. Senior management now has complete visibility in real-time as they have all the information they need in one place and can access it whenever they need to.
In line with today’s changing business demands, SaaS packaged integration platforms can be deployed in very little time. They need very little intervention from the in-house IT team and allow organizations to manage their businesses without hindrances from technical issues. Users can also integrate their own applications that they have developed with the platform to further extend its scope.
To conclude, deploying multiple disparate systems is not a viable option for growing businesses today. To standardize the firm’s business processes and to ensure efficient end to end business process management, SaaS packaged integration platforms are an organization’s best option. If there still are any doubts, here’s a statement from Larry Ellison, the former CEO of Oracle to put you at ease. “The customer doesn’t want to be the integrator of 30 separate applications from 30 separate vendors,” Ellison said. “No different now. Just all in the cloud now…We think we’re in a great position.”
SutiSoft offers a variety of platforms dealing with different business functions. As mentioned earlier, platforms comprise of a core module and multiple additional modules. Today, SutiSoft offers platforms for Expense Management (SutiExpense), Human Resource Management (SutiHR), Online Procurement (SutiProcure), Wireless Expense Management (SutiWEM), and Customer Relationship Management (SutiCRM).