Accelerate Business Success with Data Integration & Transformation

business leaders across systems and departments access business data

Wearable devices track how much we sleep, how many steps we walk, our heart rate, and more. Social media sites track what we click on and how much time we spend looking at a given story. Suffice it to say that data is big business. It’s also big for business, as companies have access to insights ranging from annual revenue to how much their top five customers spent over the past month – and plenty more data points in between. 

But no matter how much data you have, if it’s disorganized or scattered across multiple systems or departments, then it’s not working for your business the way it should be. This post will discuss the myriad benefits of data integration and transformation in a cloud-based solution along with some points to consider when integrating your enterprise’s data.

The Dangers of Data Silos

Data silos occur when disparate systems within a company don’t ‘talk’ to each other or share data among themselves. They’re a problem for several reasons:

Stakeholders Don’t Get the Full Picture 

Stakeholders – whether that’s investors, the public, employees, C-suite executives or all of the above – don’t just want to know about the health of a tiny slice of your business; they want to know how the business is doing overall. 

Stakeholders may well be interested in how many sales your team closed this year or the fact that your number of repeat customers has increased by 60% over last year, but if your expenses have doubled because you drastically overbought product now sitting neglected in your warehouse, those promising KPIs are only one chapter in an otherwise not quite so promising story. 

Data integration and transformation – transformation being “the process of taking data that exists in one format or state and converting it into a different format or state,” which “helps application systems communicate in a common language,” according to Informatica – ensures stakeholders have access to all the information they need to identify problems, make educated decisions and steer the company in the right direction.

Operations Are Out of Sync

Unless your organization is a clandestine government agency, it’s likely not beneficial for one department to be in the dark about another department’s activities. Data integration and transformation ensures no one will be scrambling to access important information that will drive the enterprise forward. 

That’s just the scenario skincare company Biopelle would routinely encounter before bringing together all of the enterprise’s operations under the Acumatica ERP. Pre-Acumatica, the sales team was unable to access the customer relationship management (CRM) system, and Finance Director Jodi Anstandig would often receive “frantic calls asking for access to vital information they needed to close deals.” With Acumatica, the sales team can access, on their own, information about customers’ past orders, as well as notes and activities by the customer service team. 

It’s similarly beneficial for sales and customer service teams to have some access on the finance side. Say a sales team member, because of their company’s seamless data integration, notices that a customer has multiple invoices outstanding. They’re probably going to leave that customer off of their call list for that day rather than risk creating headaches for billing staff or causing the company to send out even more product they may not receive payment for.

Work is Duplicated, Errors Increase

Imagine a longstanding client calls your customer service department to inform your company of a change of address. Without data integration, the best-case scenario is that two people must input the exact same information into two different systems: the customer service rep updates the address in the CRM system, then contacts inventory management to update the information in the inventory management system. Not an efficient use of staff time, but still better than the worst-case scenario.

The worst-case scenario is that the customer service representative promptly updates the address in the CRM system but is interrupted before he has a chance to inform inventory management of the change. The next order that customer places will ship to their previous address, leading to an angry customer, a hassle for your inventory management department and damage to your company’s reputation.


The Numbers Speak for Themselves

The dangers of failing to integrate your company’s data are clear. Aside from avoiding potentially negative scenarios, how can data integration and transformation affect your company in a positive way? 

A 2019 study by Aberdeen Strategy & Research, an independent market research firm, revealed: 

  • Companies using data integration (DI) reported almost a twofold increase in operating profit year-over-year over those with no DI (9% versus 4.6%). 
  • DI enterprises saw an 8.1% average increase in their customer base, compared to a 5.2% increase for non-DI companies.

Further, the firm argues data integration is key to successful business intelligence (BI). 

“Industry leaders know that a properly set up infrastructure throughout a company’s database is what makes a solid BI engine hum,” Aberdeen research analyst Philip Mierswa noted in a blog post discussing the study. “Well-established data integration is truly the unsung hero in the BI space.”Our Company is Ready for Data Integration and Transformation. Now What?

Deciding your company could benefit from data integration and transformation is the easy part. Bringing disparate groups of data from across the enterprise into a single source of truth isn’t always easy, but there are ways to take some of the pain out of the experience:

Invest in the Right Technology 

Flexibility and customizability are key considerations when selecting an ERP system, as those two qualities are a large part of what makes data integration possible. Acumatica, for example, integrates right out of the box with 80 diverse hardware and software systems and offers additional interoperability with almost 300 pre-built applications available in the Acumatica Marketplace. 

“This seamless connectivity continues with Acumatica’s open APIs, which allow users to integrate third-party applications into their Acumatica instances,” the company says. “Acumatica is committed to turning rapid integrations with critical business applications into low-code/no-code processes.”

Invest in the Right Partners

Data integration and transformation can be a daunting project even for seasoned IT professionals, even if it does lessen the burden on IT staff in the long-term. The right ERP consultant can guide you through the process, from helping you select and implement an ERP system to migrating data to supporting your company throughout the life of the system.


Why Crestwood? 

Crestwood Associates has assisted in more than 5,000 ERP implementations, ranging the gamut of industries. As an Acumatica partner, we can help you find the ERP most beneficial for your company and tailor it to accommodate your unique needs and existing data sources. We will guide you through the ERP implementation process, including helping you migrate your data in such a way that at the end of your journey with us, you’ll receive a full, relational database that can be smoothly imported into your new system. We stand by the products we work with, providing clients with ongoing support even after the initial implementation is complete.

Don’t undertake a data integration and transformation journey alone! Request a consultation to find out how Crestwood Associates can be your partner along the way.

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