Published on the 30/01/2018 | Written by Jim McParlane
In an increasingly competitive marketplace, businesses constantly hunt for ways to drive operational efficiency, writes Anaplan’s Jim McParlane…
One of the most effective ways of achieving efficiency is through data consolidation. As organisations grow, so does the amount of data they generate, process and store. Often these activities take place in different departments and locations, leading to the creation of multiple data stores.
While this can meet business requirements in the short term, over time it can create issues for the organisation. IT staff must spend time managing multiple pools of data while facilitating access to the applications users need to get their jobs done.
This, in turn, leads to an increase in overall IT infrastructure complexity. More servers and network links are required, which leads to growing costs and IT management overheads.
The problem can be particularly acute for organisations with complex supply chains. Such a company may be fulfilling customer orders in shorter timeframes, or providing access to products across wide areas. These supply chains generate considerable data; when the data is spread across multiple locations, it can hamper efficient operations.
Digital data inventory
A better approach is consolidation using software that digitally organises inventory data, monitors and manages shipping and tracking information, and creates electronic invoices with ease.
Data consolidation drives efficient supply chain management as it greatly reduces the time spent shipping, receiving, tracking, and compiling order data. This saves time, money, and human resources while also aiding customer and employee retention. The organisation is also better equipped to respond to market changes with a supply chain which, through improved visibility, provides opportunities to innovate, streamline and optimise productivity.
Control and efficiency
Data consolidation allows better control by simplifying supply chain management. It should reduce tiresome paperwork being shuffled from one department or branch to the next. It equips teams from across the company, irrespective of borders and time zones, to work collaboratively in real time to get things done. It requires fewer man hours from team members in finance, administrative, sales, and IT departments. This saves time, resources and money and can enhance customer satisfaction and retention.
Business benefits multiplied
Business benefits are multiplied when consolidated data comes into play – it’s what brings everything together. Consider the process a modernisation of the old technology that has been managing the organisation’s supply chain since way back when.
Data consolidation rids the business technology environment of redundant or duplicate tools and processes. It merges multiple servers and services to create a compact, market responsive system. It also reduces the need for staff to manage and maintain a complex and dispersed web of applications, linkages and data stores.
In other words, instead of spending time on mundane tasks and tedious workflows, staff are free to focus on value-adding activities. The result is improved service levels and more satisfied customers.
Jim McParlane is APAC Managing Director at planning and performance management software vendor, Anaplan.