Will an operational registration system solve your company’s organizational problems?

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Today, it’s common for people to work together on projects in multiple geographic locations and time zones. This is especially true for customer-facing service organizations, which often depend on a multitude of expert external contractors to complete projects in collaboration with internal staff members.

There are financial and accounting concerns, human resources, sales teams, resource and project management, change orders and customer management variables that all change as the business operates. . Compounding the complexities of managing a distributed organization are the myriad of systems that may not integrate with each other and departments that cannot easily share data with each other.

Succeeding in this new paradigm requires a tool that ties all of these moving parts together, allowing teams to work cohesively: an operational system of record (OSR).

Avoid a hairball infrastructure

As needs vary from service to service, it’s easy to fall into the trap of a “hairball” infrastructure. It’s a complicated mess of software tools that offer several different, potentially overlapping services. These tools can also have integration issues.

A single, central, authoritative data source containing organizational data records – be it sales, financial, or project data – is needed to untangle the hairball. A system of record that serves as a central hub connecting all other systems that are unlikely to be connected to each other can simplify complex systems and data arrangements.

In a customer-facing service organization that tracks billable working hours, this centralized store is where teams collaborate. This is also where decision makers take care of resource management, project management and accounting. By centralizing these functions in a single system, a business can much more easily gain business intelligence to help make decisions about what matters most: its people and its projects.

Industries of HR, healthcare and marketing for retail, airlines and the US military are consolidating their technology vendors to improve efficiency and streamline cross-functional communications. To research of Osterman Research found that “69% of respondents consider a centralized management console for as many systems as possible in their organization to be ‘desirable’ or ‘very desirable'”.

In addition, KPMG found that the project portfolio managers think “of inefficiencies due to manual, time-consuming processes and disconnected data and systems” and “insufficient resources [utilization] (lack of visibility on the [organization’s] resources or insufficient resources)” results in a loss of commercial value.

An effective OSR allows teams to view updates and changes in real time so they can react accordingly. Although many core business processes are standard, some are not. Thus, the OSR must also have a level of customization that meets the specific or unique needs of a business.

Keys to keeping your OSR modern

Constant investment and innovation from your OSR provider is essential, but another major way to ensure your OSR remains modern is to choose one that was built from the ground up with an API-first approach. You need an OSR that integrates with the rest of your existing technology stack so that your other systems can be integrated. Ensuring the solution has an open API (so data can flow in and out) is paramount.

Examples of OSR type systems abound. In the manufacturing industry, supply chain management is often performed by an operational system, such as Oracle’s supply chain management (SCM) cloud. Salesforce, one of our partners, is not just a functional operating system for a sales team, but it is often the entire operating system for SaaS companies whose business models revolve around the efforts of sales and customer contact. For departments like human relations, tools like Workday bring together the multiple moves of hiring, onboarding, benefits management, and human capital management into one system. These systems provide organizations with centralized systems that streamline data movement and information sharing.

However, the one constant in the world of enterprise applications and systems is change. Your OSR should also be flexible so that it can easily integrate new systems and adapt to changing technology in the future. Even if you have eliminated your hairball tech stack and created a perfect world of systems, things will change.

When an OSR may not work for you

Although OSRs offer a variety of benefits, they are probably not the right solution for small organizations. If the sharing of information and resources can be achieved only through instant messaging tools or email, then the investment in an OSR could outweigh the returns it provides. The less complex a company’s operations and toolset, the less useful an RSO will be. Leaders should consider the size of their business, whether they need to standardize their operations, and how many different resources they use for business operations when considering whether or not to leverage an OSR.

How your organization can benefit from an OSR

Without OSR, businesses can become siloed or fragmented – the major challenge of a hairball pile – which can lead to all sorts of pitfalls, including a lack of communication, disjointed decision-making and, eventually, a failing production.

An effective OSR could provide much better visibility. If everyone is using spreadsheets, there’s no way to get a complete view or a unified picture of an individual project, let alone multiple projects at once. Real-time reporting, improved visibility, faster decision-making – these are all key benefits of an effective OSR.

Ultimately, a functioning system of record allows customer-centric service companies to have a bird’s-eye view of different systems and teams, making collaboration more seamless and efficient. With this approach, businesses can view various reports and metrics in real time, allowing them to predict a potential problem and react before it becomes a full-blown crisis. Plus, businesses that can make smart decisions quickly become more efficient, more productive, and ultimately more profitable.

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