Let’s face it: Business is messy. At some point, every high-growth business must invest in solutions to wrangle its data and manage its expanding operations, from accounting software to fulfillment and inventory management platforms that must be managed through yet another software solution or spreadsheet.
But these are all standalone platforms. Systems aren’t compatible. And too often, solutions are built to solve one problem — but aren’t built with other solutions in mind. Still, you need a way to make sense all of the data they output in one place in order to make it actionable. So you build complicated workflows. You build workarounds into existing processes. You download plugin after plugin and rely on APIs to connect the systems you need with the systems you already have in place.
The result? A disconnected mess of spreadsheets, systems, and tools that leave you with more questions than answers. Here are three ways disparate systems are holding your business back:
1. Failure to innovate
There is a reason why people are so fiercely loyal to their legacy business solutions, whether it’s their horde of spreadsheets or the trusty fax machine. Problem is, while useful at a small scale, many of these legacy systems are difficult and costly to maintain—and simply don’t provide you with the insights you need to keep pace with modern business.
2. Lost productivity
In modern e-commerce, “business as usual” simply isn’t good enough. Inefficient and disjointed processes inevitably lead to even more inefficiencies and errors. Consolidating and making sense of the data from various disconnected systems also takes people away from focusing on what matters most—uncovering the insights that will move the business forward. Over time, these inefficiencies can be hugely expensive—both in real and opportunity costs.
3. Missed opportunities and revenue
According to a 2014 Ventana Research study examining the use of spreadsheets in business settings, users spend 12–18 hours each month performing “spreadsheet maintenance”—updating, revising, consolidating, modifying, and correcting spreadsheets. In fact, 81% of business professionals are manually combining data from an average of five different spreadsheets just to answer a single business question. Now imagine that same inefficiency scaled across every incompatible system and solution. You’re wasting time. You’re wasting resources. You’re missing opportunities. And worse, you’re losing money.
Today’s commerce businesses require a unified platform that understands an omnichannel retail sales model. From campaign performance to order fulfillment, you need to know what’s happening, right as it’s happening.
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