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The Importance of Data-Driven Processes In Scaling Your Business

In the professional world, data-driven processes are vital to successful scaling efforts. While many companies collect data, its real value lies in extracting insights that lead to growth-oriented decisions.

Whether you’re a start-up founder in the early stages of building your business or an executive responsible for decision-making in multiple departments of an expanding company, having data play a more prominent role in your processes makes sense.

Stay tuned to learn more about data and why it’s a powerful yet often overlooked asset in many businesses today. We’ll also share seven innovative approaches to implementation so you can start scaling your business with data-driven processes today.

What is Data, and Why Does It Matter?

In a business context, data refers to the raw facts and statistics collected through customer information, sales figures, market trends, and operational metrics. In simple terms, bits of data are like pieces of a puzzle that help businesses see the bigger picture within their unique industry.

In the early stages of business development, data collection may seem trivial. But as companies experience market expansion and daily operations become more complex, using data to make informed decisions becomes essential for sustainable growth.

Don’t just take our word for it. The proof is in the digital pudding. Statistics show that data-driven organizations are 23 times more likely to acquire customers. Businesses that use big data increase their profit by 8 percent, and insight-driven companies are growing at an average of 30% each year.

Data provides tangible evidence to support decision-making. Businesses can mitigate risks and better spot opportunities by reducing reliance on intuition and guesswork and focusing on data instead.

Implementing data-driven processes throughout multiple operations and departments takes time to happen. Instead, most companies find it to be a journey of continuous improvement, finding inspiration to embrace data further as they gain ground on the competition and boost revenue.

7 Data-Driven Processes to Implement for Business Scaling

Scaling requires a strategic approach that includes data-driven processes. Here are seven ways to help you make data a central and transformative force in your business.

1. Invoice Processing for Efficient Financial Operations

Manual invoice management can be very time-consuming. Over half of businesses spend over 10 hours manually processing invoices and supplier payments weekly. As a business grows, keeping up with manual invoicing becomes more challenging. 

More invoices increase the chances of data-entry errors or missed payments. Processing may also be delayed, negatively impacting cash flow with consequences that trickle down throughout multiple departments.

A data-driven invoice processing approach involves leveraging data analytics and automating tasks. Such a process may involve:

  • Using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and AI-powered tools to extract data from paper invoices, reducing manual data entry automatically.
  • Utilizing invoice matching algorithms to match invoices with purchase orders and receipts to ensure accuracy. 
  • Using historical data to predict invoice approval times.
  • Automating workflows for approval based on predefined rules and thresholds.

Automating invoice processing improves efficiency, reduces errors, and makes invoice communications more accessible. There’s also massive potential for savings in time and money. Businesses that spend less time on manual invoicing can focus on enhancing supplier relationships and core operations, both of which positively impact business growth.

2. Protecting Email Reputation for Effective Communication

More than 20% of commercial emails never reach the recipient’s inbox. Email reputation, or sender reputation, plays a large role in whether your cold outreach emails reach their intended destination. 

Think of your company domain’s email reputation as a credit score. In both cases:

  • Trustworthiness matters. Just as lenders look for borrowers with good financial habits, email service providers look for email senders who follow best practices and send legitimate emails.
  • Scores impact access. Higher credit scores open doors to better financial opportunities. Similarly, positive email reputations allow for better email deliverability rates.
  • Maintenance is key. Credit scores can continuously fluctuate, and so can email reputation. Sending relevant and engaging emails can help keep your email reputation from dropping.

Also, similar to a credit score, having a poor email reputation can have serious negative consequences. Your company’s emails may go directly to a spam folder, and a poor email reputation can damage your brand’s credibility and trustworthiness.

However, there are ways to improve your email reputation with data. Try using the data to segment your email list based on metrics like engagement and recipient behavior and sending targeted and relevant content to each segment to boost your email reputation. 

Simultaneously, clean up and verify your email list using data validation and list hygiene tools. By removing invalid or outdated addresses, you’ll ensure your messaging reaches active and engaged readers.

3. Automating Sales for Increased Profits

Without effective sales, even the most successful businesses can quickly crumble. While traditional sales tactics were once more than enough to keep businesses thriving, today’s business landscape requires sales to be faster and more agile. Enter automation for sales or the use of technology and software tools to streamline and optimize various aspects of the sales process.

At its core, sales automation is fueled by data. 

Some examples of sales automation include:

  • Email automation. Streamlining email marketing using email templates, drip campaigns, and automated follow-ups can boost sales while keeping leads fully engaged.
  • Task and activity management. By automatically scheduling tasks, appointments, and follow-ups, sales reps can focus on making sales rather than schedules.
  • Proposal and quote generation. Using customization options, certain systems can help businesses automatically create quotes, bids, and contracts that still feel personalized and offer an accurate summary of services and appropriate fees.

While incorporating automation into the sales process may be gradual and challenging, it’s also rewarding. Research shows that sales automation boosts productivity within the department by 14.5% while bringing down marketing costs by 12.2%.

4. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for Enhanced Customer Interactions

CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, is a data-driven technology that manages and analyzes interactions with current and potential customers. You can integrate these tools with other types of software and store a variety of data, including:

  • Contact information
  • Interaction history
  • Purchase history
  • Leads and opportunities
  • Communication records
  • Notes and comments
  • Task and activity logs
  • Custom fields  

Nearly half of companies who use CRM saw their sales revenue increase. The average ROI for CRM spending is $8.71 for every dollar spent. By implementing CRM powered by data into your business, you can quickly improve cash flow, which can help you expand your services, products, or reach.

5. Supply Chain Optimization for Streamlined Operations

Manual supply chain processes can be problematic due to their reliance on human intervention. For example, manual processes are often slower and less efficient than automated ones. Manual data entry and processing are also prone to errors, resulting in incorrect orders, shipments, and inventory records.

When companies have difficulty with inventory management due to the limitations of manual operations, overstocking or stockouts may occur, impacting cash flow and customer satisfaction.

Data can be crucial in optimizing your company’s supply chain, helping you streamline operations and improve efficiency

Here are several ways to consider implementing data for optimized supply chain management:

  • Use historical sales data and projected market trends to forecast future demand accurately.
  • Use data-driven insights to negotiate better terms with suppliers by analyzing performance data and presenting specific metrics during negotiations for better pricing or payment terms.
  • Implement real-time monitoring and alerts to respond quickly to supply chain disruptions.
  • Analyze customer data to better understand preferences, buying behavior, and trends.
  • Use machine learning and AI to identify patterns and automate decision-making.

Inventory management is an ideal place to start if you’re looking for a low-risk route to implementing data-driven solutions in your business. Nearly 95% of companies using IoT in inventory management have seen a positive return on their investment. 

6. Employee Performance Analytics for Talent Management

Talent management can be challenging for several reasons. From fierce competition to changing workforce dynamics and high-performing employees being lured away by better opportunities, HR departments across nearly every industry face a losing battle.

By analyzing employee performance via data, several benefits may unfold. HR can make informed decisions based on more than first impressions. This approach makes it easier to align talent strategies with business objectives.

Additionally, companies can zero in on identifying and supporting their top-performing employees while simultaneously revealing skill gaps and areas where other employees may benefit from training. Tailoring training programs can improve overall performance, individually and as a company.

Finally, performance data can uncover team conflict or productivity bottlenecks. Addressing these issues promptly and professionally improves workplace satisfaction and helps retain great employees.

Research shows the companies most skilled at talent management have 2.2 times the revenue growth and 2.1 times the profit rate than companies struggling to manage top talent.

Are you still trying to figure out where to start? Collect relevant performance data consistently and accurately to build a database, including individual and team sales figures, to identify top performers. 

It’s also ideal to track customer feedback and satisfaction scores to see where improvements are needed. Employee turnover data can also help to identify reasons for employee departures and take steps to improve retention strategies.

7. Data-Driven Product Development and Innovation for Fast Market Entry

Suppose you rely on intuition-driven product development and base decisions about your next product’s features, design, and development on your gut. In that case, you may not be experiencing the results you hoped for.

There are several problems with this approach. First, is that personal biases and past experiences influence intuition. You may be making product-based decisions that favor your personal preferences rather than the needs of your target market.

You may also fall victim to inefficient resource allocation with intuition-driven product development. By allocating resources to ideas or features that don’t have the data to back them up, you find yourself short on cash, talent, or time for products with more potential.

You have a few options when it comes to data-driven product development and innovation:

  • A lean startup methodology involves quickly building a minimally viable product or MVP. It is then tested in the market and adjusted based on user feedback.
  • Predictive analytics uses historical data like user behavior and market dynamics to forecast the next big product.
  • A/B testing is one of the most popular product development methodologies. The process involves comparing two versions of a product or feature to determine which option users prefer and why.

By using data-driven product development, your company can respond faster to market demands and enter the market rapidly with a better product.

Take the Data-Driven Path for Sustained Business Growth

Data-driven processes are the catalyst to unlocking the full potential of your business. Set the foundation for sustainable growth by scaling with insight over intuition.

The strategies explored in this blog are just the beginning. 

Continue to explore other opportunities to implement data-driven processes into your business.

Adapting Successfully To Digital Transformation

Technology—namely business management technology—has a unique impact on every small business. Drilling down one layer deeper, technology has a unique impact on every employee and customer. Drilling down yet another layer, technology has a unique impact on every single action (and non-action) taken by every employee and customer.

Technology plays a vital role in shaping and defining the way a small business operates, at levels big and small.

Just as technology has a unique impact on every small business, every business is also unique in where it stands in terms of its respective technology life cycle. At some level, every business is at a different stage of digital transformation.

A study conducted by Deloitte found that nearly 80% of small businesses are not taking full advantage of the digital business management tools at their disposal. 

Some businesses make the most out of using the bare minimum level of technology (i.e. Microsoft Office, Google Drive, basic shared calendars, etc.) while others have adopted various ERP, CRM, and marketing technologies. Chances are, you find yourself somewhere in between. Even if you’ve only begun to scratch the surface in researching integrated business technologies (kind of like what you’re doing right now) you’re well on your way to the top of the small business technological adoption curve. 

Before you arrive at the moment of “Yes, that’s the technology I want and need. Let’s put it to work,” there are a few things to consider. It starts with taking a step backward and performing some holistic analysis of your business as it is, and your business as you want it to be in the future. 

Assess The Status Quo

Before you can start assessing the future of your business and the way that technology will have an impact on that future, you need to take account of your business as it stands currently.

Not just the technology used in your operations, but the logistical processes, financial decisions, employee roles and responsibilities, and anything else that has a meaningful impact. 

business management operations software

Take note of every detail. Not just your inventory and related physical components of your business, but the intangible ways you go about your day, the ways your employees go about theirs, and everything in between. Analyze what’s being done on a daily basis, and what isn’t.

You’ll most likely find that the insights you uncover will range from good to bad and everything in between. Let’s go over how you should handle each:

For any positive findings about your business’ status quo that you uncover, you want to leave those mostly untouched. However, it’s still important to keep in mind the ways that technology could improve upon them. Just because these findings are positive in the current moment doesn’t ensure that they will stay that way forever as your business grows.

For any negative findings, it’s important to launch a full-scale revamp. Why and how are these findings hindering the overall health of your business? Is it a human, logistical, or technological problem? Is it a combination of these factors? This is where it becomes critically important to take a step back and figure out exactly what can be done at every level big and small.

Aside from sitting down with everything involved in the aspect of your business that you’ve found to be a hindrance, one additional decision you could make would be to contact a professional business technology consultant. They will be able to provide you with an objective perspective of your business while at the same time providing you with expertise in terms of how technology can help alleviate the problems at hand. 

Create Goals

The changes you make within your small business—technological or otherwise—are only as good as the reasons why you’re making those changes. Change for the sake of change doesn’t cut it. Meaningful changes that serve a bigger purpose with an easily quantifiable end result will prove to be changes worth making.

Successful group managing goals for digital transformation

That being said, what are the goals that indicate success for your business? If and when you achieve them, what are some other goals you will outline each and every day in order to maintain that success? At what point will you be devising new goals to accomplish?

Obviously, generating a higher revenue is the end objective for every small business. The goals involved in getting to that final destination are what will vary. Selling more products, hiring additional/specialized staff, and acquiring better leads are some of the typical means to this end.

A major component of goal setting isn’t just about defining the objective you wish to achieve—it’s about setting smaller, more granular goals on how those overarching goals will be accomplished.

For example, if your large, overarching goal is to acquire more customers, your granular goals should look something like this:

  • Develop valuable, gated content on your site that contains relevant search intent
  • Use project management tools to define your budget and medium(s) for marketing the aforementioned content
  • Utilize automation technology to send automated emails and drip campaigns to prospect information collected from the gated content
  • Ensure that a system is in place where all sales staff have access to up-to-the-minute information on leads
  • Ask for and analyze customer feedback on sales staff/process/experience in order to figure out what’s working and what can be improved upon
  • Be able to quickly view daily, monthly, quarterly, and yearly sales figures at a glance

Not every list of goals that your business puts forth will look like this. Some may include many more steps, some fewer. However, using this framework of focusing on the process minutiae in order to accomplish the larger objective, you’ll be able to hone the best technologies and processes to accomplish your goals.

Data Flow Between Systems and People

Even the most basic small businesses have several departments. Executive-level management, accounting, field employees, mid-level management—the list goes on.

Every department needs to communicate and collaborate with one another. Interdepartmental communication has always had its challenges, but given the drastic increase in some employees working from home while others are not, these challenges have been exacerbated.

business management software data management

The flow of time-sensitive information not only depends on the people involved, it now further depends on the technology used to effect that communication. Think about your own business. If tasked with retrieving information from another department, how long would you anticipate it to take to receive that information? Minutes? Hours? Complete uncertainty?

If the answer is anything above “just a few minutes” your department may find itself working in an information silo. Odds are, if one department finds itself here, they all do. 

Data silos aren’t some malevolent concoction drawn up by a disgruntled executive looking to inflict stress on his employees. They are simply a natural result of business process development. People primarily work and share information and collaborate with people in their immediate cluster of co-workers. While it’s not anyone’s fault that data silos exist within your organization, it doesn’t mean that they don’t cause problems. 

Areas Negatively Impacted By Data Silos


Even in the most segmented businesses with the most specialized, sequestered employees that don’t share many commonalities among the tasks they perform (think accountants vs crane operators) there will be data that must be shared across departments.

The longer it takes to find information, the longer it will take to complete tasks. Simple as that. Over time, this will cause backlogs, delays, and other inefficiencies that will have a negative trickle-down effect across your entire business.

Data Accuracy and Analysis

When you were younger (or as an adult, we don’t judge) have you ever played the game “whisper down the lane?” Sometimes, the game is also called “telephone.” 

If you’re unfamiliar, the objective is for the first person in line to privately repeat a phrase to the next person in line, with every person in line privately repeating it to the next person, eventually making its way to the final person in line. Nearly every single time, the phrase is slowly—yet unintentionally—manipulated and altered so much so that it barely resembles the original phrase uttered by the first person in line who conceived it. 

When small businesses don’t have a single, centralized, data storage and communication hub that contains a single, accurate version of the truth, this same phenomenon occurs. Disconnected email chains, handwritten notes, and duplicate files are just some of the many ways that data can be misinterpreted as it passes from one person to another. 


business culture communication cartoon among three people

Beyond the technological component, communication between departments is also largely dependent on the interpersonal relationships developed between employees.

Working from home, this has become a challenge, but a far from impossible one to meet.

Regardless of geographical circumstances, members of departments often cling to their data out of fear that it will be altered by someone lacking appropriate skills or context. While taking ownership and pride in work is important, it’s just as important to have trust in members of other departments when handling data. 

When projects, documents, or other relevant information needs to be handed off to a different department, it’s important for employees to recognize that that data is safeguarded and that a proper history of edits and alterations can be recorded. A little healthy competition and chest-puffing between departments isn’t always a bad thing, but it’s important that constructive collaboration is always the top priority.

Wrapping Up

Digital transformation sounds complicated because, well, sometimes it is. Taking a step back to take a holistic look at everything going on within your business will certainly shed some light on things you were unaware of before. That’s a good thing—albeit sometimes painful if not all of those things you find are “good things.”

Technology impacts everything. From the little things people do when they clock in each day to the year-over-year goals and strategies you put forth, technology can be a catalyst to make sure your business is operating as efficiently as possible.

The great thing about integrated business management software technology at the core of your business is that it has a cyclical, reverberating effect—it allows your business to run more efficiently which streamlines your workflow, therefore creating more productivity among your employees, which allows your business to run more efficiently, which streamlines your workflow…you get the idea.

The Hidden Value of Integrated Software Systems

Running a business is a high-stakes balancing act. Accounting, inventory, talent acquisition,  and customer relationship management are just some of the countless items that business owners, operations managers, and other executive-level employees need to manage and master simultaneously. 

In addition, you have to actively keep in mind the most important rule of all: in order to succeed, you need to keep moving forward. 

It’s easy to get lost in the sea of tasks and responsibilities that come with the territory of operating a small business. Even with reliable employees to delegate to, the hardest-working small business owners and executives still struggle to sort through and properly prioritize everything that needs to be done. There’s no one size fits all method to success—every business in every industry (not to mention every business owner and executive) is different. The challenges each face are different, sometimes drastically so, and will require different solutions.

When time is of the essence—which almost always seems like the case—it can be tempting to just simply get to work. Simply “getting to work”, implies answering the first email that you see, handling the first employee request you receive, or otherwise jumping into the throes of daily labor. In other words, many people responsible for overseeing numerous tasks and departments default to focusing entirely on a single task without always keeping in mind the bigger picture of what needs to be accomplished. 

Integrated Software Systems Help You Work Smarter

Abraham Lincolns stands with axe

Abraham Lincoln is often quoted as having said, “If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six sharpening my axe.”

There’s something comforting about working hard. It provides purpose, clarity, and the peaceful satisfaction of pure, unadulterated accomplishment. Hard work is the foundation of any business and is a core personality trait of any successful businessperson. Hard work is the foundation of anything worthwhile and substantial in this world. 

For someone whose job description centers around a singular or just a small handful of tasks (i.e. making cold calls, assembling a product, or counting inventory) putting your head down and getting to work is typically the best course of action. 

But those who manage small businesses at a high level know all too well that their job description is never just one thing. It’s about being a career chameleon—sometimes the job calls for being a marketing director, sometimes it calls for being an accountant. Other times it calls for being a hands-off facilitator that’s able to successfully delegate and put others in a position to succeed.

Because small business leadership roles are so prone to widely fluctuating responsibilities, it’s not (just) about hard work. It’s about smart work. 

It’s not about any one email, sale, or decision. It’s about all of them. It’s about how they affect each other, how processes are able to cohesively mesh with one another, how action items are prioritized, and how keeping a big-picture perspective at all times enhances the effectiveness of your business strategy. It requires every small decision to be made with the business’ overarching, long-term goals in mind.

Analyzing Unintegrated Software Systems and Inefficient Processes

Sometimes, it even requires taking a further step backward to understand how and why tasks are completed, and whether the processes for completing them can be improved upon.

integrated business software

Taking a step backward to address the big “whys” and “hows” of the processes and procedures within your business is often one of the most difficult things for business owners to do.

When your business is already successful, it actually makes this process of introspection and analysis a bit harder. The “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality reigns with authority in the headspace of many business owners.

It isn’t about fixing something that is broken—don’t change what your business does (selling car parts, repairing computers, shipping home decor, etc.) but rather it’s about updating and adjusting the processes, methods, and integrated business software solutions surrounding how your business goes about achieving these goals.

For example:

If you have been successfully reaching customers via word of mouth in order to sell your products, you may want to ask “How can I market my products more effectively, profitably, and on a larger scale?”

Suppose you have been successfully tracking your inventory and sales by utilizing spreadsheets and actual sheets of paper. In that case, you may want to ask “How can I more reliably sort, analyze, and keep my data safe?”

If you have been successfully sending field technicians to their job sites but have been exclusively using text messages and phone calls to communicate financial, customer, and job site data, you might ask “How can I implement a more streamlined system for transmitting sensitive data from the field to the office and vice versa?”

What do the processes described in these common scenarios all have in common? 

  1. The processes being relied upon are unintegrated and disconnected.
  2. These processes are centered around outdated technology or inefficient methodologies.
  3. The unintegrated and antiquated nature of these processes does not allow for a clear, big-picture focus to be implemented at every level of decision-making and action, hindering growth, scalability, and profitability.

For small businesses, the first step to moving forward should be to take a step back and analyze the process-level improvements that can be made in terms of utilizing technology to optimize workflows and processes.

This isn’t to say that every procedure within your company needs to be overhauled or that every piece of technology your business owns is now rendered useless—it’s about making sure that every procedure within your company is connected in the most optimal fashion, and that employees are going about their business in the most efficient way possible. From accounting to CRM to projects to onboarding, the interconnectedness of data points and information is a catalyst for better strategic and financial outcomes.

For small businesses, it pays to take note of the strategies large enterprises are backing:

  • Data-driven companies are growing at a rate of about 30% annually.
  • Data-driven companies are 20x more likely to attract customers and 6x more likely to retain them.
  • 91.9% of leading companies are accelerating their “big data” investments.

It’s worth noting that these organizations have a (much) higher budget than small businesses do. They will be able to leverage gargantuan data sets from across the globe faster than any small business is capable of. That doesn’t diminish the fact that the strategy of utilizing fully integrated systems is a winning one. In fact, there are many ways that small businesses can put the same strategies to work.

Before these organizations implemented innovative, integrated business management technology in order to leverage their data, they made the important first step that we discussed earlier: taking a step back to assess what improvements could be made to their existing processes and operations and what downsides arise due to disconnected systems. 

Let’s take a look at some of the most common challenges caused by process inefficiencies at the technological level and the effects that addressing these problems at their root can have.

Challenges Caused By Disconnected Software Systems

Delayed Data and Reporting

Having accurate data is good—but having accurate, real-time, and easily accessible data is great. When relying on various and scattered spreadsheets, text messages, and emails to find important information, both accuracy and efficiency suffer, leading to slower overall time to task completion.

In all, businesses lose about 20% of their potential revenue due to poor-quality data.

This could potentially have a trickle-down effect in all phases of your business. For example, an incorrect or lagging inventory count will throw sales numbers into a state of confusion, therefore increasing the amount of time accountants spend trying to find accurate information. They’ll need to consult various records in order to rectify the numbers. Not only will this result in wasted time, it could potentially result in a customer not being able to fulfill their order due to incorrect inventory figures. 

Wasted Productivity

Time is always of the essence—when it comes to the information that your business needs to function each day, the less time that can be spent searching for the accurate version of said information eats into productivity. In fact, if there are multiple versions of the same data at all, that should be an indicator that this is a process to be improved upon.

business management efficiency integrated software

Wasted time hurts businesses in more ways than one. When employees at all levels are utilizing inefficient processes, it not only takes away from additional productivity, it lowers the overall accuracy of the information, therefore leading to an increased lack of productivity by having to solve errors when they arise. Yes, errors are inevitable, but taking substantial efforts to reduce their frequency and severity will pay off in the long run.

Increased Cost

While faulty data and decreased productivity lead to reduced revenue, there are other elements that can lead to inefficient processes and systems that generate an increased cost.

Odds are, you utilize some sort of technology to manage your customer data, accounting needs, and other standard types of operations. Are these technologies built to connect to each other? When something goes wrong, is there a single entity you can contact, or will you have to spend additional time and money on customer support from various technology providers to get to the root of the problem? Have you had to spend additional time both learning and teaching your employees the ins and outs of several, separate software systems?

With the ever-increasing costs associated with goods and labor, it’s imperative that the technology your business relies on to function properly provides a net positive cost-benefit ratio.

Wrapping Up

Integrated software systems technology can and should be used as a boon to improve your business at a holistic level. At the end of the day, technology is a means to an end—that end is making your business operate more efficiently and profitably than it did the day before. 

Integrated Business Software: What You Need To Know

Every business has a lot of moving parts. Whether your business manufactures goods in a factory or provides in-home services to customers, it is equally important to have a unified and clear picture of all of the components of your operation. 

As you work towards attaining a more all-encompassing view of your operations, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of projects and tasks. In other words, sometimes you can’t see the forest for the trees

One skill that can be useful in tackling an abundant and overflowing to-do list? Delegation. 

When you hear the term “delegation” you are probably imagining handing off work to your employees. While this will still be true, some of the most powerful delegations are not ones you task to your employees—it’s the work you hand off to your integrated business management software.

integrated business software

Delegating tasks to your integrated business software provides some of the same benefits as traditional delegation. You (and your employees) will have time to focus on higher-level tasks, it will open up time to learn new skills and conduct market research, and it will improve efficiency across the board.

Even for tasks that still require a deft human touch, integrated business software provides a tangible procedural advantage that improves operational success and efficiency across the board.   

What Is Integrated Business Software?

Integrated business software is a seamless collection of solutions, processes, and data. Accounting modules, customer records, and smart calendars are just some of the previously isolated functionalities and features that integrated business software unifies. 

integrated business software system

Notably, business needs vary by size, industry, and even season of the year. One key element of integrated business software is that it’s adaptive and elastic to the nuances of industry needs—while one business is looking for an alternative to their existing accounting software, another will focus on generating automated sales reports

Integrated business software handles it all, providing connectivity and clarity throughout every facet of your business.

On the highest level, it ensures that you, your customers, and your employees have immediate, accurate, and complete access to all pertinent information. It detangles and connects previously disconnected silos within your business so that processes can run smoother and more efficiently than before. 

Challenges Caused By Disconnected Software Systems

Without an integrated business management software system, businesses typically rely on a handful of disconnected software suites to get the job done.

Even if you’re primarily using standard, powerful spreadsheet and storage software systems, there are still issues that arise. The tricky part? Many of these issues often don’t come to light until it’s too late.

Let’s take a look at some of the operational issues and inefficiencies caused by disconnected software systems:

Delayed Data and Reporting

Having accurate data is good—but having accurate, real-time, and easily accessible data is great. 

Without accurate, timely, and complete information, businesses suffer each year—it’s estimated that businesses lose 20% of their potential revenue due to poor-quality data. From marketing to sales to inventory management, bad data can have a profoundly negative impact on your bottom line.

Wasted Productivity

Every minute spent having to correct an error or reiterate a piece of information’s authenticity is a minute wasted. Businesses that are aiming for rapid growth can’t afford to waste this much time.

If your business is using software systems that don’t communicate with each other, it sets into motion a cascade of worsening problems—extra time spent accessing and parsing data sets leads to errors in data entry, which delays reporting time and adds unnecessary hours to your payroll. In turn, it takes time away from more important tasks.

When your employees are entering data in multiple locations, manually sifting through invoices to address a single customer’s issue, or constantly having to check back in from the field, progress suffers. Processes like these can be automated by integrated business software.

Increased Cost

As business owners know all too well, unexpected costs always have a way of dipping into—or breaking—your budget. 

Some costs of having disconnected software systems are obvious and upfront. As in, paying for numerous software solutions and the corresponding upgrades, repairs, and support. 

Other costs are more indirect—multiple software systems mean multiple interfaces, which typically require additional employee training and time spent learning the nuances of each. This leads to more time spent learning how to transfer data between each and time spent correcting errors that occur during this process. 

This wasted time eats into productivity which could be spent on more productive and profitable tasks.

Benefits of Having Integrated Business Management Software

All businesses have growing pains. It’s natural. But as a business owner, it’s important to recognize the difference between when you’re simply adjusting to a learning curve rather than when it’s time to rethink and reshape inefficient processes and procedures.

erp business management software hr

These are the main ways that integrated business software will help alleviate ongoing procedural woes:

Increased Visibility

Your data needs to be universally accessible—one person on a certain device in a particular location shouldn’t be the sole arbiter of your data. Sure, not everyone in your organization will need access to the same information, but it’s important that people have access to what they need, anywhere and anytime. 

Informed decisions are great— but those that can be made quickly without sacrificing accuracy are the best decisions. When most employees are required to get data to make a business decision, only 3% are able to do it in seconds. For 60%, it takes hours or days.

Process Efficiency

Inventory management, accounting, project management, and the hiring process—while these processes all seem separate and different in nature, they actually have a lot in common. 

Namely, they are all common business processes that can eat up valuable time during the workday. In other words, your business can benefit from automating these processes using integrated business software.

Currently, CEOs spend 20% of their time on tasks that could be automated—imagine the innovation and growth you could achieve with 20% more time to put towards work that requires that critical human touch. 

Cost Savings

According to a McKinsey report, 45% of current paid activities can be automated by today’s technology, an equivalent of $2 trillion in total annual wages. 

Automation capabilities aside, integrated business software is a cheaper alternative than procuring, installing, and maintaining multiple software—and possibly hardware—systems. 

Integrated Business Software: The Bottom Line

Integrated business software isn’t only for large businesses or even businesses in certain industries. Sure, there will always be nuances, but at the end of the day, every business needs to put an emphasis on efficiency and cost-cutting.

It’s not always easy to abandon the way you’ve done things in the past. After all, your success has gotten you this far. The good news is that you don’t have to abandon anything really—utilizing integrated business software is about changing how certain processes are completed, not changing the processes themselves.

integrated business software system

Increased operational visibility, process efficiency, and reduced costs are just a few of the benefits that integrated business software can offer. Every business is unique—talking with an expert can help you figure out how your business can put integrated business software to work for you.

10 Signs That It’s Time For An All-In-One Business Software

Is your business prepared to grow by 50x in the near future? 

The answer is yes—if you’re prepared. A profitable business model and hardworking employees are baseline requirements, but it takes more than that to push your business over the top—it takes an all-in-one business management software platform.  

In the spirit of preparation, take a minute to assess what a 50x growth would logistically entail:

  • Hiring new employees (and onboarding them)
  • Purchasing new materials and equipment (and cataloging them)
  • Expanded remote capabilities and office space
  • Keeping track of 50x more documents
  • Expanding your CRM capabilities
  • Increasing your accounting workload
all in one business management software growth

The list above is surely incomplete in terms of the new costs, challenges, and variables that come into play as a business grows. 

Many of these challenges can be addressed by utilizing all-in-one business management software. It’s understandable that your first thought may be “I don’t need that, at least not yet.” 

The key word? “Yet”. Though business management software can help businesses of all sizes, it’s absolutely imperative to organizations that are poised to expand their business. So, don’t be behind the 8-ball—here are 10 signs that it’s time for your business to enlist an all-in-one business management software solution.

1. When Growth Is Imminent

Growth is exciting. It can also be nerve-racking, stressful, and full of growing pains.

upward growth trend of Bitcoin superimposed over a gold bitcoin token

In a hopelessly-romantic, Hollywood-esque way, it can be easy to believe that growth will hit in one tsunami-like surge—a big “aha” moment, a mega-deal with a corporate giant, or an upward profit chart akin to the likes of Bitcoin.

Not featured on the big screen, however, is the groundwork that is laid slowly behind the scenes—years and years of trial and error, finding the right employees, and testing the waters of various markets.

Albeit slowly at first, growth can actually materialize in an instant—that marketing campaign you launched went viral thanks to some verified retweeters and suddenly, you’re fielding calls from what will end up being the largest accounts your business has ever managed. 

The point here: growth is built slowly, but can unfold all at once. Don’t be unprepared for that moment. You’re confident in your business—be just as confident in your ability to produce results.

As the old adage goes, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” Look at business management software in the same light—invest in an ERP for the company you want to grow into, not for the company you are at this very moment.

2. When Customer Relationships Need More Attention

Customers are the backbone of your business. Attaining a loyal customer base is hard work—it’s easy to become wrapped up in the exuberance of an influx of new customers.

Before your customers are customers, they’re leads. Is your sales staff equipped to not only handle managing additional customer relationships, but the additional amount of fresh leads coming in?

Help your employees assess the profitability and priority of each opportunity with an automated sales funnel. With an influx of new leads and customers, you may think hiring additional sales staff is the answer. While that may be a step you want to take at some point, it’s important to focus first on maximizing the efficiency of your existing employees.

Some of the biggest benefits all-in-one business management software brings to growing businesses lie in its CRM processes. 

customers enjoying all in one business management software

Automating marketing campaigns, visual dashboards to track the entirety of your sales pipeline, instantaneous synchronicity with the rest of your finances, and customer feedback portals are some of the tools that can help you attract and retain a loyal customer base. 

3. When You Find Yourself Making “Educated Guesses”

Going with your gut is a natural instinct. In the early days of your business, it was probably even profitable. Heck, you’ve probably made a gut decision today. But as your business grows, decisions will require more than just a hunch.

Data-driven decision-making (DDDM) will enhance your productivity and profitability across the board. Every business contains nuanced differences in its approach—analyzing the data that is relevant to your business is what counts.

ERP systems with customizable dashboards and report-generating functionality bring you the information you need to make an informed decision at a glance. Your business is unique—the business management software you choose needs to mold to your needs, not the other way around.

4. When Tedious Tasks Eat Up Your Day

Some days, work might not even feel like work. On other days, an hour might feel like a lifetime. The reality is that not every part of your job is thrilling—those mundane tasks you dread are often some of the most important (crunching numbers, taking inventory, etc.)

While these are important tasks, it’s just as important to not let yourself spend a disproportionate amount of time focusing on them. 

Automation is the key to working smarter—automate the tasks that eat up your time, and use that time to focus on the bigger-picture goals that will help bring your business to the next level. 

All-in-one business management software will help you do just that. From accounting to inventory to sales, many parts of the process don’t require immediate and constant attention. 

Aside from automation, delegation is important, as well—monitoring the status of all assigned tasks without filling your inbox with unnecessary back-and-forth “confirmation clutter.” 

5. When You’re Spending Too Much On IT Systems

Repair costs are a necessary evil. Laptops bear the brunt of coffee spillage, and interns overestimate how many monitors they can carry at once. It happens. 

colored networking cables plugged into back of equipment

But what about the cost of non-accident-related expenditures? Software updates, new servers, and backups for those can chew up a budget very quickly. 

With cloud computing, you’ll be able to exert more control over your finances. A cloud-based ERP removes the need for excessive hardware spending, costly software upgrades, and backup costs. All of these needs are handled off-site—and at a flat, fixed, predictable rate—so that you can focus on your business, not the tech behind it. 

6. When You Need To Double Down On Regulatory Compliance

Regardless of the industry you operate in, you most likely have someone in your organization tasked with monitoring compliance. Whether you’re a manufacturer, contractor, consultant, or educator, rules are rules—and it pays to follow them.

Most of the work of a compliance manager will come in the form of keeping track of documents and ensuring on-site traceability. Checking off boxes may seem mundane, but it’s arguably the most important part of the job.

Another example, construction managers are responsible for overseeing the safety of their crew and all associated subcontractors. Before the job begins, OSHA compliance needs to be taken care of. If these certifications and qualifications are not met, it could set a problematic ripple effect in motion—delays in compliance could cause a project to go over budget and disrupt your timeline for other jobs (including the schedules of your subcontractors). A bid could also be lost outright due to a lack of compliance, causing an unpleasant impact on your bottom line as well as negatively impacting the trust your employees and subcontractors have in you.

In short, it pays to stay on top of regulatory measures by keeping all pertinent documents in one centralized, easily accessible location. 

7. When You Need To Back Up Your Data

These days, data security isn’t solely the responsibility of your tech-savvy staff—it’s everyone’s job. Having a data security infrastructure in place is key, and probably something you already do to some degree. But how much of your data is backed up? And more importantly, where and how?

all in one business management cloud erp

If you are not currently leveraging any ERP solutions, the odds are your data is not sufficiently backed up. Sure, you may have redundancy measures in place on your local system, but more can be done.

In 2021, global cybercrime damage costs around $190,000 per second. Cybercriminals are everywhere and are unrelenting in their efforts to undermine legitimate businesses. If your data is stored in a singular, localized location, you may think it’s safer. But in all reality, this is not the case. If this one data center is breached, your systems will cease to function.

By utilizing a cloud software system, your data is not only decentralized and duplicated across servers, it’s backed by world-class cybersecurity professionals. Sure, your computer’s firewall is great—but having that firewall and a cybersecurity infrastructure tailored to your business needs will prevent any malicious actors from disrupting your business. 

8. When Working Remotely Isn’t Efficient

Remote work is here, and it probably isn’t going anywhere for quite some time. In many respects, that’s a good thing—workers are achieving higher productivity levels, both companies and employees are saving money, and every organization’s talent pool has gone global.

There are many prerequisites to achieving successful remote work habits. Deploying proper management strategies, project management techniques, and a new kind of HR department are some of the adjustments that need to be made. But the common theme here is what lies underneath the human-based element of successful remote adaptation: using better technology.

The right all-in-one business management software doesn’t just need to be able to crunch the numbers and track your inventory, it needs to enable your people to be more effective in their roles. Track the status of projects, customer leads, and even new hires all from one place.

If your employees are able to have a centralized location where they can both find all of their work-related data and chat with their co-workers, they’ll be able to be focused and efficient no matter where they’re working from.  

9. When You’re Unsure Of Your Employees’ Day-To-Day Schedules

Managing is a tricky job. On one hand, you want to be actively involved in your employee’s work. Their success is often a reflection of yours. On the other, most managers are savvy enough to know that micromanagement is not typically a successful method.

If you’re unsure about what your employees are doing on a daily basis, that’s a problem. Now, you don’t want to go breathing down their necks and asking them what they’re up to every day—that wastes both your time and theirs. The answer lies in the middle.

While you and your employees almost certainly use some sort of calendar app, are these calendars synced? Do you have a uniform, master calendar to access? 

Not only should you have access to a universal calendar, but you should also have access to all of the tasks and projects that your team is working on. Instead of sending a dreaded “Hello! Just circling back on the status of this project! Kind regards!” type email, look to your software system for the answers. This way, you and your employees can be less focused on updating each other through emails and chats and be more focused on producing high-quality work. 

10. When You Can Tell Your Employees Are Stressed

Hearing employees complain is never easy, especially when it comes to things beyond your control. Sure, there are some things that you wish you could provide them, but not every request is feasible or grantable.

One request that is feasible? Upgrading your software systems.

Stressed office worker with too much demand on thier time

Duplicate data sets, missing files and links, incomplete financial records, chicken-scratch notes strewn across an office—all of these problems slow down employee productivity. Even if your employees don’t verbalize their complaints, read the room. Frustration bubbles to the surface in different ways for every individual, and some may be more prone to silence than outward voicing of complaints.

At fixed monthly payments with top-quality customer support included as part of the base package, an all-in-one ERP is a much better solution to employee complaints than to Frankenstein together with various software that may or may not communicate with each other.

The best part? Most top-quality software is free to use at first. 

It’s Always The Right Time For All-In-One Business Management Software

No businesses are alike. Products, customers, strategies, and everything in between all vary to a large extent depending on your industry’s specific needs.

However, people are a lot alike—we are stronger when working as a unified, coordinated front, climbing towards a common goal. While it’s people that allow your business to be successful, it’s software that allows them to reach their full potential.

The world is becoming increasingly digital, synchronized, and competitive. Enlisting the right all-in-one business management software for your business will help you stay ahead of the curve. 

How Manufacturers Are Innovating in 2021

As they do every week on Twitter from 2-3pm EST, the great people behind #USAManufacturingHour (@DCSCInc, @CvtPlastics, and @SocialSMktg) lead powerful and informative discussions about the latest topics in manufacturing. This blog is sourced from discussions from the inaugural #MfgHour Virtual Networking Mixer. 

Innovation comes in all shapes and sizes—this is especially true in the manufacturing industry. While the manufacturing industry contributes a whopping 11% to the overall United States GDP, 75.3% of American manufacturers have fewer than 20 employees.

In short, the small business manufacturers of America continue to carry the weight of the economy on their backs.

This is no small feat, especially considering some of the staffing challenges that have plagued manufacturers of late. Despite 8.6% of the United States workforce being employed in the manufacturing industry, 89% of manufacturers report they are having trouble finding qualified workers. 

There are many factors that have contributed to the recent growth of this issue. This is a dilemma that demands industry-wide attention—and in some cases—a fundamental rethinking of business operations.

The future of manufacturing will demand a lot from businesses both big and small. While every manufacturer is unique in terms of their product and service offerings, one theme holds true—innovation is necessary. 

Small Change, Big Result

One of the most curious elements of innovation is that change often starts small. 

Let’s take a step back from manufacturing for a second—this is a theme that holds true across society at large. For example, the average person does not contribute an alarming amount of greenhouse gas emissions. The effect, however, is cumulative—while a single person’s actions don’t dictate the fate of our environment, the aggregate sum of every individual’s actions do in fact help dictate it.

Sure, this is a relatively moribund example, but it does effectively illustrate the point that small actions often have big consequences.

lightbulb idea graphic

In manufacturing, finding innovative and creative ways to increase the frugality of your production while upholding the standard of excellence that your customers and clients have come to expect is certainly no easy task.

Cathy Beck of Grey Sky Films has seen this play out firsthand. Videography had been disrupted by the pandemic—without the ability to have frequent site visits, it was time to think outside the box.

Cathy and her team worked hard to create custom content databases for her clients to access virtually. This not only satisfied her existing client base, but this methodology functioned so smoothly that it led to additional clients coming on board.

In the Beck household, finding innovative solutions is a family affair. Years ago, her husband helped a snack food manufacturer save a significant amount of money and resources with one, small change in product packaging:

“They realized that by minimizing waste by 1/10th of an inch would save them a ridiculous amount of money by the end of the year. Think about that, how tiny that was but how effective it was.” 

Not every innovation has to be a novel invention or a reality-shattering epiphany. Sometimes, all it takes is taking a more detailed and organized approach to the things your business already does well. And as the oft-quoted cliché goes, good things come in small packages. 

Lean Manufacturing Processes

Most of us have found ourselves in a position like this before: we are so hyper-focused—some may say “obsessed”—on the end result of a professional goal that we lose sight of what’s directly in front of us.

In other words, sometimes we put the cart before the horse.

Task management is vital in nearly every industry. In manufacturing, it takes on an elevated level of importance.

People have a tendency to keep their blinders on, especially when it comes to over-focusing on the final outcome of the product. That’s not a bad thing on its own—it’s obviously important to have a clear picture of your end-stage product.

Having only the end result in mind may cause someone to overlook various, crucial aspects of the production process—utilizing more fuel efficient machinery, finding more durable materials, and even assessing how your equipment is arranged on the production floor.

Lermit Diaz, CEO of SCTools, knows a thing or two about how important it is to focus on every detail of the lean manufacturing process. His approach: the size of the change is not as important as the consistency and dedication to every detail that serves the overarching goal:

“The small steps will encourage you to get that objective and you move to the next one and the next one.”

Gina Tabasso from Dar-Tech, Inc shares a similar perspective when it comes to keeping projects and production in scope. As we mentioned earlier, the vast majority of American manufacturers have less than 20 employees. In other words, not every company’s eyes need to be locked in on the jaw-dropping figures that companies like Apple and Volkswagen produce:

“You don’t need to be innovative on a global scale with your company or a process or project – it can be in your individual jobs.”

At the end of the day, make sure that you know what your end goal is—but don’t get lost in chasing it. Take your manufacturing process one granular step at a time. 

Adapting to Modern Manufacturing Methods

Every year brings industry wide change to manufacturing processes and the manufacturing industry as a whole. In 2020, we all experienced just how quickly change could be ushered in. 

For many in the manufacturing industry, it was time to upgrade their online presence. This meant seizing the opportunity for change in a way they hadn’t before.

When asked if anything changed in his marketing efforts, Noah from ArtusCorp summed it up succinctly:

‘”Absolutely. Yes, it changed. I would not be sitting here talking to you guys without that.” 

Sometimes the speed of change is overwhelming. In modern manufacturing—especially small business manufacturers—this is often the norm.

life cycle concept

Sometimes the speed of change is overwhelming. In modern manufacturing—especially small business manufacturers—this is often the norm.

Many who were not privy to the digital marketing landscape prior to 2020 found themselves entering 2021 much more knowledgeable on the various mediums that can be used to connect with customers and clients alike. 

One medium, Instagram, has been a boon for manufacturers as of late—some manufacturers have been able to utilize Instagram for making connections, showcasing products, and even making sales. Jen Wegman of Insight Information Solutions has seen firsthand the benefits that Instagram has to offer:

“I would target fabricators and woodworkers who needed castors for their stuff and we would get consistent leads on Instagram and you’d think, ‘why is a manufacturer on Instagram?’ You’d be surprised.”

Forming connections and fostering relationships with sales goals in mind is nothing new. But this year, many manufacturers have discovered new and creative ways to accomplish this goal.

Wrapping Up

Modern manufacturing innovation comes in many forms. More often than not, it’s new technologies that drive innovation by finding novel ways to increase efficiency. Other times, it’s repurposing existing technologies to better fit the needs of a growing business.

Beyond technological advancements, manufacturing innovation also arrives in the form of new methodologies and processes. Your end goal remains the same—the path you take to get there, however, has shifted.

No matter the size or the shape of innovation, it is always just around the corner.