New & improved ways to solve data replication challenges in multi-site businesses
By Henning Lund - September 18, 2018
Maintaining data integrity, accuracy and transparency is a key requirement for multi-site and international businesses striving to deliver impactful insights and increasing operational efficiency.
Listed below are top three areas where these types of business tend to experience the most pain:
Sharing customer data. When customers buy products or services from operationally and geographically distributed entities within one large organization, easily sharing in-process and historical activity is essential to increasing customer value to the organization, and the organization’s value to the customer. An accurate 360-degree view of a customer – maintained across geographically or operationally disparate operating units - delivers outstanding possibilities for effectively up-selling and cross-selling goods and services along with providing better customer service. Operational and decision-making effectiveness and efficiency is realized through eliminating double data entry and manually collating data to produce actionable insight. Marketing, Sales and Service Delivery strategies can be fine-tuned to offer the correct mix of products and services, using the customer’s history to align, fine-tune and adjust ongoing and planned strategic initiatives.
Sharing product and other master data. Effectively handling product and pricing data is another key component to ensuring customers with a large footprint across multiple organizational entities have consistent and valuable interactions. Often, it’s these key accounts that will be negatively impacted if products and pricing data is inconsistent across business entities, and these large accounts are usually the customers where delivering premium service is a priority. Centralizing data management activities around products, pricing and other master data is a good approach, but effectively and efficiently maintaining sharing this data across entities – and supporting systems – is crucial.
Transactional efficiency and quality. Numerous processes tap into this shared customer and master data. CRM systems generally handle customer acquisition and sales activities handling marketing, leads and opportunity management. Accepted quotes and closed sales need to be processed in ERP systems for distribution, invoicing and inventory management. Inter-company transactions – a sales order from one entity generating a purchase order in another, for example – may be spawned from CRM sales and service activities.
These a just a few examples to illustrate the complexity multi-site and international businesses are facing when it comes to sharing data. Organizations rely on analyzing activity across the enterprise quickly and effectively, and then adjust processes and policies impacting on-going operations and strategic initiatives. If data sharing strategies and processes are unreliable, cumbersome, or just plain not working or non-existent, the resulting inaccurate and inconsistent data causes financial and operational leadership to use workarounds and lots of manual effort to product meaningful, actionable reporting. Simple things such as inconsistent or different dimension settings, differing SKU numbering, and conflicting costs, prices or exchange rates makes corporate reporting time consuming and often inaccurate.
Most multi-site businesses require fast, reliable data replication
Having one single system manage all data and all processes would make it much easier to maintain data consistency, but this approach brings other challenges due to the complexity, maintenance costs, and at times, lack of flexibility. Entities within a multi-site or international business tend to have different requirements and could even be operating in completely different domains. Individual entities could face statutory compliance needs requiring an ERP system to be localized. Larger, distributed organizations also tend to have CRM and ERP systems from different vendors and the way users interact with the systems are different. Where most ERP systems are transactional driven, following strict rules, CRM systems are often driven by events and triggers depending on the interaction with the customers. The result: a significant need for fast, reliable, data replication and data integration in most multi-site and international businesses.
How to solve data replication challenges for multi-site businesses
The next question is how to solve these problems. In the old days, businesses would ask an IT vendor to develop an integration between the systems. But this has proven to be an expensive and rigid path to follow with significant lack of flexibility. Instead, multi-site and international businesses are using rich data integration platforms like RapidiOnline which utilizes application API’s to provide seamless and robust integration and replication of data without any programming. It’s secure and it gives you data that you can trust. It fuels better reporting, better customer service, more deals and faster closing of the deals. It fuels your growth and your operation’s efficiency and it even creates happier and more successful employees and customers.
Forget all you thought you knew about how to replicate and integrate data and have a look at RapidiOnline.
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About the author
With over 25 years’ experience in strategically propelling businesses forward, Henning is considered a business development entrepreneur with a passion for transforming businesses, sales and marketing operations through out-of-the-box thinking, concepts building and process automation to improve overall performance and scalability.