Disparate Systems – Impact on Business

2018-07-23 13:03:59

We came across some scary statistics this week. Did you know the average employee has 191 passwords that they keep track of (a)? And organisations manage an average of 1400 cloud applications on top of many other services, tools, and technologies (b)?

With all these disparate systems, and employees continuously switching between them, what is the impact on businesses? Below we look at some of the key issues resulting from disparate systems:


  1. Cost of App Switching


According to recent research conducted by Braintree, the average employee uses between 10 and 15 applications to complete their daily tasks.


In a world where we’re using technology to make us more efficient and smarter workers, how much time are we wasting logging into disparate systems?


Based on industry research, we waste around 40 minutes a day switching between tasks (c) – and if we consider the average salary to be R205 000 per year, you lose around R63 a day (or over R15 000 a year), per employee. When you consider the amount of staff in your organisation, the financial loss becomes staggering.


  1. Costs of Maintaining Multiple Systems


Other than the cost of app switching, disparate systems also mean that you’re spending exorbitant amounts of money on various software licences, infrastructure and customised development – not only to meet your specific needs but also to integrate your various systems.


A Microsoft customer, New Sunshine, recently migrated their business groups to a single centralised solution. They found that they eliminated annual software-licensing costs of around R527 000, they also reduced their server infrastructure from 110 physical servers to just 5, running 60 virtual servers. The new implementation also allowed them to replace 40% of existing customised functionality with standard functionality, and to reduce its ongoing development costs by more than 50% (d).


  1. Multiple Data Entries, Errors, and Reporting


With data sitting in disparate systems, your team are often the integrators – exporting data from one system and importing it into another to achieve a single pie chart for their monthly report. Not only does this exercise double your data storage but it could result in data capturing errors.


This also poses problems with reporting. If a series of steps needs to be completed in order for you to get an overview of your organisational health, chances are that by the time the data reaches you, it is already old and your ability to respond quickly to an impending crisis is close to zero.


  1. Inaccurate Customer Information


As we’re moving to an age of hyper-personalised customer interactions, accurate customer data is becoming increasingly important. A recent study by Experian Data Quality showed that the average company loses around 12% of revenue due to bad data (e).


Without a clear picture of customers and their behaviour, your ability to service that customer, target them for additional sales opportunities and decision making is drastically diminished.  For example, if a salesperson has no insight into customer financial records, they might spend time on a sale only to have it cancelled because they never knew that the customer hasn’t paid their last four invoices and finance are no longer extending their credit.


Duplicates can also create problems in other areas of the business, too. For example, if someone calls with a customer service issue, it is much harder to resolve if you can’t identify who they are because the customer ID they ordered under is different to the one you find when you search for them on your database.

This type of fragmented IT ecosystem is incredibly challenging for organisations – reducing operational visibility, control, and governance. Employees are also not empowered with the access to the data they need to succeed, from the customer-facing employee all the way to the marketing executive.

In the end, the business may suffer and have to deal with missed opportunities that result from inefficiencies and fragmented access to business information.

The shift to integrated business management solutions is already happening in the U.S. and will soon be making its way to South Africa. We believe it’s going to become a norm if you plan on operating in the future, and it’s going to transform business operations as we know it – connecting everything from finance, sales, service, and operations – giving you and your team access to real-time, accurate data wherever you are.

(a) https://www.securitymagazine.com/articles/88475-average-business-user-has-191-passwords

(b) https://blog.dashlane.com/infographic-online-overload-its-worse-than-you-thought/

(c) https://www.atlassian.com/time-wasting-at-work-infographic


(d) https://cloudblogs.microsoft.com/dynamics365/2010/12/03/tanning-products-company-consolidates-systems-and-saves-money-with-centralized-erp-solution/

 (e) https://www.globalscape.com/blog/how-disparate-systems-are-impacting-your-business