The world of sourcing, manufacturing, marketing & distribution is changing very fast and companies are taking advantage of new opportunities being provided by newer technologies like Intern of Things(IOTs), Social Media, Mobility, Analytics and Cloud. Business are seeing radical changes in the working models and changes most of the time are quite disruptive in nature.

In the new environment data may stay in-house servers, hosted servers, cloud servers, cloud based shared systems etc. Life is becoming more complex when we consider third party online commerce platforms when the inventory and demand fulfillment has to be happen according to third party systems.

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
― Steve Jobs

Innovations are not so much planned that are connecting all the dots and therefore they happen to disrupt existing ecosystems and one has to keep working on connecting them to make best use of them. The quote of Steve can be extrapolated to connecting innovations happening around the world and most of the time in isolated manners. Organizations need to connect dots when the same is being implemented/consumed by them.
The data related to goods or services produced, sold, marketed, serviced by organization must essentially relate to each other to be able to generate meaning full results/decisions from the same. In case this data does not related to each or there are inconsistencies that leads to inaccuracies in measurement, evaluations and thereby in decision making.
In today’s environment we are in hurry to adopt new available tools and sometimes forget how they connect and relate to each other. I would like talk of some situations which better explain the matter.

  • Companies choosing Marketing, Communication, collateral and training systems which does not related to the backend ERP systems. Most of the time master data in these systems are maintained separately and they do not match with what exists in back end systems. Maintain data in two systems become challenge and most of the time they don’t relate to each other. This leads to incorrect communication, alerts, tracking, analysis etc. In case of data mismatches being able to measure effectiveness of different marketing initiatives become a challenge and therefore integration options must be evaluated during adopting some technology solutions.
  • Companies are adopting many cloud based application and leave the integration/interfacing aspect. This again leads to challenges of connecting dots and mismatching information which leads to inappropriate analytics and decisions.
  • Creation of mobility solutions which don’t share data with the backend ERP/CRM systems lead to quite ineffective usage of mobiles apps and many times application retiring much before the expected life.
  • Many times licensing and compliance considerations are getting ignored during initial adoption of solutions and they pose challenges as most of ERP/CRM Solution don’t allow data communication, without paying some licenses fees, with third party tools even if the solution exits technically.
  • Data existing in multiple systems poses challenge as some times business needs workflow based on data conditions in other systems.
  • Third Party eCommerce Platforms give option to sellers to generate invoice from their platform and challenge occurs in how data is to be taken ERP/CRM Systems. Generating matching invoice numbers, 100% of times, in two systems is not possible due to data mismatches in two systems. Therefore one needs to evaluate suitable workflows before adopting such business options.
  • Service solutions on Cloud, Corporate Websites and data shared by them, Cloud based CRM systems etc certain solutions which pose challenges and become lesser utilized in case integrations are not dully considered in the solutions architecture.

One comes across many such situations but the whole point is need to connect dot at least when an innovation is being put to use.

From: Virendra Rai – VP & Head IT, Lava International