By: Paige Goss
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Signs You Probably Need an Enterprise Application Review
The larger a company gets, the more software it tends to acquire. But the more applications you add, the more sprawling (and expensive) your system becomes. Wondering if your organization spends too much money on redundant applications? Spoiler alert: it probably does. An enterprise application review can help.
What Is an Enterprise Application Review?
Kind of like an inventory of salable goods, an enterprise application review is an inventory of your company’s software applications and business processes. A qualified third party comes in to look at all your systems and procedures. We ask a lot of questions to find out who is doing what in which applications. And we help you determine whether that actually makes the most business sense.
Then, working together, we help you consolidate and synthesize. You stop wasting money on applications and software licenses you don’t actually need. You save time and energy avoiding redundancies and miscommunications. Essentially, you make your life easier and business more profitable in the long run.
What Does an Enterprise Application Review Provide?
In broad terms, an enterprise application review will provide you with everything you need to save time and money. Sounds great, right? It is. But you’re probably wondering a bit more about the specifics.
Here are just some of the potential results from an enterprise application review:
- Create a glossary of terms so that everyone understands exactly what a given record label or tag refers to
- Dismantle data silos and micro-communities to reduce redundancy, unnecessary expenses and miscommunication
- Identify and synthesize the system of record to ensure data continuity
- Determine the best KPIs for each of your systems to maximize reporting value
- Set up data integrity and the internal controls to maintain it
- Move reporting to a centralized online hub so that all appropriate parties have access
- Consolidate business processes into fewer applications to save time and money
Enterprise Application Reviews Are Essential for Fast-Growing Companies
When companies grow quickly, a certain amount of chaos inevitably ensues. To get things up and running fast usually requires reaching for the easy option. Systematically planning for the long term takes time and energy that management often can’t spare. We get it! But, if you want growth to be sustainable without creating massive headaches down the road, you eventually have to face the music and get your systems in order.
Take one of our recent clients as an example. They doubled in size in relatively rapid succession – going from 1,000 employees to 2,000 in a short period of time. And they were planning to double again! Thankfully, they called us in to help get their systems in place to facilitate that kind of rapid expansion. By performing an enterprise application review, we were able to save them the cost of four full-time employees on an annual basis.
Questions to Ask Yourself
If you’re wondering whether you might benefit from an enterprise application review, here are some questions to ask:
- Do you know how many applications your organization is paying for?
- How many of those applications do your employees actually need access to in order to do their jobs?
- Do you know if different regions or locations or departments are using the same systems? Or, are they each operating in data silos?
- Is one region using Quickbooks while another does the accounting in NetSuite?
- Are people frustrated with the existing systems and “taking the initiative” to create spreadsheets offline?
- When someone needs specific information from another department, are they able to access it online? Or, do they have to send a series of emails to get what they need?
- How do you match an employee from one system to another? Is their system of record located in HR? In Accounting? Somewhere else?
- Do you have a clear onboarding process for each employee, regardless of department or region?
- Is each employee granted access to the applications they need? Or is everyone granted access to everything without restriction?
- Are there internal controls in place to ensure data gets entered correctly? (As in, if somebody enters an employee’s birthday as 01/01/1900, will the system accept it or point out that’s impossible?)
- Does everyone have access to exactly the data and applications they need? Too much data? Not enough?
- Is everyone clear on the internal naming conventions, so that they know how to refer to the role or group or area they’re trying to gather information about?
- Do you know where your customers’ personally identifiable information (PII) is stored?
- Are you sure that all PII data is properly secured?
That’s not an exhaustive list, but your answers probably revealed that you might be wasting time, energy or money on inefficient systems.
Long-Term Effectiveness and Security Require Planning
When it comes to software applications and data security, short term decisions are often just ticking time bombs for the future. Maybe it’s just a matter of spending too much on redundant systems. But it can also leave you with major security gaps for a cybercriminal to exploit. In either case, consolidating your data and your software will go a long way to prevent long term problems. It can also open doors to new business.
Having a third party perform an enterprise application review will save you money in the long term. It will probably require some short term discomfort, too. The truth is, change is inconvenient. But you’re going to pay for a slap dash approach one way or another. Short term inconveniences – in terms of consolidating systems, learning new processes and software, training people, adjusting culture, implementing policies – will yield long term efficiency. If you build the system right, you won’t have to go through this again. But if you keep things piecemeal, eventually the cracks will start to show. And you don’t want that to happen in big, painful ways.