Many businesses suffer from poorly integrated — or completely disconnected — software and IT systems. They simply cannot increase profits without adding overhead.
As a small company begins to grow, it tends to add systems and applications as needs arise and without any particular technology strategy in mind. That business, at some point, ends up with an array of disconnected systems and processes. Such systems often serve only a single purpose and, therefore, are hugely inefficient. What’s more, the systems may operate largely in isolation. The ability to share data among applications and enable smooth, end-to-end business processes becomes extremely limited.
A business operating platform, in contrast, offers a unified foundation for software solutions that support an enterprise’s sustained growth. The Lithyem business operating platform consists of a number of integrated layers. At its core, the platform features application modules configured to unique process workflows for each business. A security and backup layer supports the applications and workflows, providing encryption and 24/7 availability among other disaster prevention capabilities. Those layers, in turn, rest upon Lithyem’s cloud platform. The top tier of this platform stack consists of an insight and analytics layer, which gleans actionable information and supports executive decision making.
Lithyem positions its business operating platform at the very center of the cloud-based software solutions its offers medium-to-large scale enterprises. Our objective is to streamline operations and provide efficiency benefits that dramatically increase the bottom line.
Why Should You Care?
The term, “business operating platform,” may not sound familiar , but there are a number of reasons why you should care about this concept. Here are a just few of the advantages a business operating platform can provide:
A business operating platform delivers a readily extensible foundation for business process and an IT environment. The platform brings together business-critical IT components into a single framework that can scale to meet a growing organization’s changing needs. Because of the platform’s modularity and manageability, an enterprise can add capacity in increments. This approach addresses the inefficiency of server sprawl and eliminates the cost of maintaining systems that are not utilized. A more cost-effective infrastructure boosts profitability.
Businesses with limited systems integration, or a combination of manual and automated processes, end up with numerous hand-offs. A company’s order fulfillment operation, for example, could consist of multiple, isolated systems: standalone point-of-sales, order configuration, order processing and shipping applications. An operation of this kind would require workers to key in customer and product data multiple times as an order works its way through the various disconnected systems. A business operation platform, on the other hand, integrates systems within a framework that lets data flow from application to application, and process to process, without the constant interruption of time-wasting and manual transitions.
Better integration leads to simplified communications. The task of information sharing –whether internally, among managers and employees, or externally, among suppliers and customers — represents a daunting challenge for any organization. An enterprise may struggle to track a seemingly unending stream of email, while projects often prove tough to keep on track. But a business operating platform offers self-service, on-demand and integrated communication capabilities that bring everyone together. All of an organization’s stakeholders can participate in the conversation and access the information they need, when they need it. The integrated platform increases collaboration and accountability.
The hand-offs that bog down business processes and workflow, also introduce errors. Mistakes are virtually assured when employees key in data from a paper form or copy and paste data from one application to another. A business operating platform automates tasks and reduces the risk of human error. Consider the example of double data entry. When systems proliferate with little integration or governance, employees may, for instance, create redundant and possibly conflicting customer records. The resulting data integrity issues make analytics and reporting unreliable. But a company that deploys an integrated business operating platform benefits from a higher level of control and avoids the pitfalls of double data entry.
Lower Support Costs
Even a company that purchases integrated systems such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) software can fall into the trap of fragmented IT. That organization may tack on multiple third-party systems to accommodate increased customer demand and rapid sales growth. Those third-party systems ratchet up costs, however. Not only do organizations pay upfront for the new systems, they must maintain and update them over time. A comprehensive, scalable business operating platform, on the other hand, eliminates the cost of acquiring and supporting bolt-on applications and customizations. A company can grow, but its IT support costs don’t have to.
The Platform Edge
A business operating platform can improve efficiency, improve integration and reduce data errors — all of which contribute to the bottom line. How would your organization leverage the advantages of an integrated software platform? Leave your comments below.