Outdated processes are more than just an annoying obstacle hampering the day-to-day operations of a business. They take root in your company’s identity, create impossible trenches between departments, cause dissatisfaction and inefficiency among employees, and jeopardize the company’s overall success.

But how do outdated business processes devolve into obstacles in the first place? What are the real effects of outdated processes on a business? And most importantly, how does yours change course?

In the third part of our series, we explore the dangers of a lack of system integration. You can also learn more about how obsolete technologies and data silos fuel obsolete processes in our other articles in this blog series.

Part 1: Obsolete Technologies
Part 2: Data silos

Part 3: Weak integration – How isolated solutions form the basis of outdated processes

If you had to describe your IT landscape in one word, what would that be? Transparent? Efficient? Holistic? If you look at ordinary companies, the opposite is often the case. For each department and for each individual process, a software solution has been set up promising more efficiency and higher productivity.

The catch is that most of these solutions are completely isolated from the rest of the business and differ fundamentally in their user interfaces and usability. This disrupts the flow of information, reduces data quality, and increases the burden on employees who need to work with more than one of these non-integrated solutions. In an IDC survey, 81% of executives surveyed said that the various existing internal systems and applications cause problems because they are poorly integrated.

Effects on Marketing: Manual labor versus automation

Marketing tasks are numerous and multifaceted. Consequently, a number of specialized IT solutions are put to use: from strategic planning, through conception and design, to the publication of marketing messages. This is not bad in principle, if interfaces or a connecting, superordinate marketing system can provide ensure smooth data flow.

If this is not the case, then significantly higher effort and lower quality can be expected in all areas of marketing: whether in lead generation, campaign planning, reporting or publication. These inefficient, outdated processes, however, cannot counter the growing competitive pressure of an increasingly digitized market.

Examples:

  • A contemporary automation of marketing processes and customer journeys is not possible because data has to be extracted manually from isolated solutions.
  • Campaign analysis is complex and inaccurate because data has to be gathered and matched from multiple solutions.
  • For reporting and strategic planning, KPIs must first be painstakingly pulled from individual systems, sometimes resulting agents overlooking important data.

Effects on Sales: Isolated processes devour sales capacity

In Sales, too, there are often a number of unintegrated solutions for the many different activities taking place. The result is, again, the emergence of completely isolated processes, which significantly increases the effort and the risk of errors in daily sales activities.

According to the same IDC survey, sales teams estimate this accounts for 33% of their total working time. All in all, these outdated and inefficient processes means sales teams work slower, take longer to close, and provide only an inaccurate sales pipeline and revenue forecasts.

Examples:

  • Sales and quarterly targets will not be achieved as the preparation of sales documents has led to delays in business conclusions.
  • The administration of isolated processes leaves no time for training and knowledge transfer within the sales team.
  • Strategic sales planning is neglected, as evaluations and forecasts require huge effort.

Effects on Customer Service: Poor troubleshooting

Customer inquiries are as varied as they are important. The swift, individual and targeted resolution of requests give customers a feeling of security and a strong signal of confirmation that they have chosen the right partner.

It is therefore extremely important for Customer Service agents to use intelligent solutions embedded across the entire corporate system. This is the only way they can reliably and satisfactorily process the many different inquiries that come to them.

If, on the other hand, the processes in Customer Service are based on a large number of isolated solutions, their response time and the quality of their service will slow down. In a recent HubSpot survey, 46% of customer service experts said they had too little time to process customer inquiries.

Examples:

  • A lack of integration prevents immediate access to information – as a result, customer inquiries can only be resolved after several steps and via several contact persons.
  • Customers need to reiterate their data each time they make contact, as this data cannot be accessed in real time.
  • Isolated solutions prevent the exchange of knowledge between departments and thus the practical training of employees in Customer Service.

Solution: Review, standardization and cultural change

An integrated, efficient and user-friendly IT landscape can be set up and established in three steps:

  • Review existing processes. Processes that are directly related to customers and revenue generation are prioritized above administrative processes.
  • Standardization. The aim here is to find a technology that can unite as many processes as possible under a single umbrella. High-priority processes, however, come first.
  • Cultural change. New processes must be actively experienced – this is the only way to localize weak points and optimization potential. At the same time, incentives for power users and an open culture nurture attention and acceptance throughout the company.

Digitalization is just starting to take off and many of your competitors have failed to modernize their technologies and processes, which means it’s not too late to start! Take advantage of this unique opportunity by addressing the issues surrounding your processes and gain a clear competitive advantage using technology like Microsoft Dynamics 365.

Time for action

Are you ready for top-level digital process optimization? Gain unparalleled insight into how digitization can benefit your business with the AlfaPeople’s CRM Business Process Review. Learn more!

Marketing Manager at AlfaPeople

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