Even if you don’t realize it, chances are your business wastes hours each week if your software applications are not integrated. And as we know, time is money! Here are some typical problems caused by disconnected apps that small businesses face every day.
1. Time wasted manually typing records from one app to another
Probably the most obvious problem. When you create a new sales order in your CRM system or a customer places an order through your webshop or Point of Sale software, how do you get that information into your accounting program? If you’re like most small businesses, you print out the sales order or email the details to someone who then manually types it into your accounting software. Another common example is entering staff timesheets into payroll software. Many SMEs then also enter that same info into a project management or client billing program. Three steps that take hours each week but which can be automated easily.
2. Inaccurate management information due to missing or wrong records
As the saying goes, ‘’you can’t manage what you don’t measure.’’ Yet many business owners rely on information that is not complete, or worse, wrong. If your webshop is not connected to your stock control records, are you sure that your inventory on-hand figure is accurate? If so, then either you have been extremely diligent updating your records after every sale, or you do a stocktake very frequently. Similarly, when you review monthly sales figures booked in your accounting software, how often does it tally exactly with the amount invoiced from your CRM system? If you’re like many businesses, probably not often enough!
3. Inconsistent records for the same customer, project or product across systems
We saw this regularly when we worked in the small business ERP software industry. A new client would ask us to migrate the records from their CRM and accounting software into their new all-in-one ERP system, but very often details for individual customers would differ between the systems, such as name, email or address. That might not sound like a huge problem, but here is a common scenario. A customer’s postal address in the CRM is up-to-date but the address in the accounting program is wrong. The accounts department sends an invoice to the address in their system, but only realize the problem much later – and after sending several reminder notices – when they ask the Sales Manager why their client hasn’t paid the bill.
4. Clerical mistakes entering data between apps
When typing dozens of records from one system to another, it’s easy to make mistakes. But clerical mistakes can lead to bigger problems, like cash flow issues because invoices were sent to the wrong address, dissatisfied customers because the product they ordered was wrong, or ineffective marketing campaigns because the email address was incorrect. And worst of all, most of the mistakes are completely avoidable.
Do you have examples of how disconnected software has cost your business? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.