Forcing staff to continually and inefficiently switch between legacy digital systems hurts employee productivity. Unfortunately, business modernisation has not prevented this ‘swivel chair’ mentality inside many organisations.
That’s according to Andrew Henderson, Managing Director, APAC, at API platform integration company Jitterbit. “We're often seeing customers’ performance being hampered because they're still on multiple systems that don't speak to each other,” he says.
Henderson says more automation is needed to solve the problem. “It doesn't matter whether you're BHP or a small not-for-profit – the reality is no one has all of their business processes automated to the extent that they could,” he points out.
“There are things in our checklist of processes that I challenge any customer to have a look at, that won't be automated in their business. They might come to us to talk about order management, for example, but there's a field service component that hasn't been considered, or payroll, HR, onboarding of employees and so on.”
To demonstrate his point, he describes the problems one business encountered before it worked with Jitterbit. “They would have a sales rep go out and speak to a customer, and that sales rep would take an order and process that order through their system. That required double entry at the other end to actually process the order,” Henderson says.
“The customer would call a week later to work out the status of that order and you'd find that because that information wasn't at that rep’s fingertips, he had to call his call centre, that call centre then looked up ERP, called him back, he then called the customer. So you can see the amount of handoffs in that process.”
The root cause, in Henderson’s view, are legacy systems that don't talk to each other, a problem Integration Platform as a Service (iPaaS) vendors such as Jitterbit tackle.
“We’re building out integrations and we're pushing them up into our cloud. And our agents look at that metadata that we've built out, which basically says, ‘If you see this happening in the system A, do this in system B and system C and let us know it's been completed properly.’
“As those assets are moving within your business, those agents know what to do, and they push that data around for you and report back to say that was successful or in fact, there was an error and we've re-tried it five times, or however you want to configure it.”
This can take out many manual processes and provide real-time insights to businesses.
Henderson points out there are potential customer service benefits. “A lack of customer service can really be fast-forwarded with automation of some of these data siloes,” he comments.