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By Sean Barbera • February 1, 2019

How to Avoid the Business Emergency Room

Businesses are not people, but they are legal entities with many of the same rights and responsibilities of people. They also share the same tendency of people to wait until a problem is urgent before taking action.

Healthcare professionals frequently stress the need for better prevention. There’s the human tendency to wait until a problem requires immediate attention instead of handling it early.

Examples abound in the healthcare world: Better food choices prevent diabetes. More exercise and a low-fat diet helps with heart trouble. Emotional distress can be resolved before it becomes a pathology. The list goes on.

Many people don’t prevent problems by making adjustments early, however. Instead, they wait until there is a crisis. So diabetes medication gets involved, aggressive medical procedures combat physical issues that have already gotten out of hand, and psychologists spend years undoing traumas unaddressed earlier in life. This acute care is more costly, more painful, and less effective than preventative measures taken early.

Businesses often do the same. Strong businesses get out in front of problems before they get out of hand. But many firms wait until it is too late. Look at Nokia and its cell phone business. Or Kodak, or Yahoo, or any number of other firms that were once dominant but missed the memo that they needed to change. They didn’t take preventative action, and they paid the price.

Is Your Business Practicing Prevention?

Right now the business world is changing rapidly. Data and analytics are more important than ever. Agility and rapid business adjustments are becoming the competitive norm. Customers are in the driver’s seat and armed with better data. Supply chains and IT systems are interconnected and upending old business processes.

For many businesses, this is a moment for prevention. Firms of all sizes need to embrace these trends and make the necessary adjustments in systems and business processes now. If they don’t, acute care and the business emergency room await later on.

Where Prevention is Needed

While each business is different, there are some common areas where firms should be practicing prevention right now. These include enhanced visibility, better data management, added data security, and improved systems connectivity.

Enhanced Visibility. For the necessary business agility required today, businesses of all sizes need greatly improved visibility into processes, trends and partner relationships. Adjustments are needed on an ongoing basis, and making these adjustments simply is not possible without a complete, real-time picture of what’s going on with the business.

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Read a related Blog Post:  Visibility is the Key for Managing Supply Chains During the Trade War

 

Better Data Management. The importance of data-driven decision-making has never been more important. Tech firms such as Google and Facebook know this intuitively and have set the trend, but firms of all shapes and sizes also must embrace data or get left behind by competitors that do. Businesses still have time to upgrade their systems and make sure that data is captured, stored, accessible and usable throughout a company. But time is starting to run out on this one, and this prevention requires both better IT systems and also organizational change.

Added Data Security. The first major warning shot came from Europe when it initiated its General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which changes how businesses must take care of customer data and imposes stiff penalty for those that don’t. But this is just a warning shot: Customers and governments are waking up to the security issues around a data-driven world, and both the market and governments are starting to punish firms that don’t take data security seriously. Backend systems need to adjust, and fast.

Read a related post:  SAP Business ByDesign and GDPR

Improved Systems Connectivity. Silos and disconnected business systems have never been good. But now they are becoming substantial liabilities. The cloud has radically shifted how IT systems work, and the new name of the game is connecting systems through cloud interfaces for enhanced automation and better data use. Import-export and clunky on-premise systems integrations can’t keep up with cloud solutions that integrate through APIs and one-click integrations (let alone systems that still rely on spreadsheets). All business systems must be good at connectivity today.

Avoid the Emergency Room

There is still time for businesses that haven’t already gotten ahead of these trends. But time is running out; what is prevention today will become an acute business crisis in the not too distant future.

That’s why businesses that are still struggling with these issues should be evaluating cloud-based ERP solutions today. Cloud ERP addresses all of these major challenges, and puts firms on a solid foundation for the leading trends that will impact businesses tomorrow: artificial intelligence, the primacy of big data, advanced customization, rapid business iteration, and others.

If your business is not already using a cloud-based ERP solution, it should be. And even if you are using a cloud solution, you should be making sure that it properly addresses these issues and trends that can disrupt a business later. This is needed prevention right now.

Where to start with your cloud ERP evaluation?

Because we have worked with more than 500 businesses on ERP evaluation and implementation over the past 25 years, we’ve put together a free workbook that walks you through the steps and the questions necessary for properly evaluating ERP systems. This makes a great starting point for your ERP evaluation journey.

Don’t wait until your business is in the emergency room. Practice prevention and upgrade your systems today so your business stays healthy.