Information management paradigms are rapidly changing, so businesses seeking to achieve maximum performance and profitability must look at increased efficiency and innovation in their IT platforms. Cloud platforms help business operations to be more effective and agile, supporting the various processes and workflows which make up the operation. From finance to order processing, shipping and customer service, the platform needs to be flexible enough to handle the wide variety of needs of the company.
Today’s technology-enabled flow of business opportunity requires modern infrastructure and IT services. Where many would believe that web-based applications and “cloud” versions of software solve the problem, more often the business finds the solution lacking features and usefulness. Tried and failed plug-ins and extensions may leave the system attached to a spiderweb of connections and services behind the scenes, reducing or eliminating the ability to fully control the flow of data to or from the system.
The real issue to address is the infrastructure and IT foundation, not just the applications. Certainly, the software matters greatly, but too often businesses believe they must migrate to new applications and adopt new processes simply because they wish to have remote access and more flexibility in how and where users and information connect.
Cloud platforms and services enable many things for a business, not the least of which is collaboration and co-working. With centralized access to applications and data, workers can get the information they need regardless of where they are, and the workflows and processes may be improved and expanded because all users can participate as required.
Enabling connectivity for the platform is as essential as for the applications. When applications and processes can connect seamlessly, the data flows through the business better and there’s less chance of it getting damaged or lost. Re-keying data increases the opportunity for errors, and manual import/export processes can fail due to simple mistakes. With the right integration and sync tools and an IT platform that fully supports them, the business can improve the speed and accuracy of data moving throughout the system.
There is a growing need for accounting and business professionals who understand how these data connections can work and assisting businesses with selecting and implementing the right ones. This used to be more in the domain of the CIO, information systems guys and data analysts, but it is falling more to the accounting and finance teams these days.
For many years, accounting and finance were just the final dumping ground for after-the-fact financial data. Operationally, things could be humming along in the business and looking just fine, but the business was losing money, and nobody knew it before it was too late. Now, business owners and managers have come to understand that virtually EVERYTHING in business has a financial impact and leaves an imprint on the business: every action and activity, every relationship and interaction.
When cloud platforms, applications and integrations are in place for the business, business intelligence comes not just from after-the-fact silos of historical data, but from current and real-time information that is the key to unlocking a deeper understanding of business performance.