I can't say it or spell it - so can I ignore it? I'm afraid not folks - interoperability for on-premise business systems has been a hot topic for quite a while now. What's more, with advances in cloud technology there are now even better and simplified opportunities for systems to interoperate. Hurray!
What am I talking about?
First thing's first - what even is interoperability? Don't worry, it's more difficult to say than to explain!
Interoperability essentially allows the different systems that your business may use to talk to each other, or to be more precise - exchange data. This could be within your organisation, between branches or even between you and a completely different organisation.
Why would this work for you?
I could make this list really long - but I'll focus on the core benefit of interoperability - better efficiency.
Just think about it, ordinarily you would take the data from system A, which then needs reformatting (probably via an excel spreadsheet), and then pinged into system B. Depending on what platforms you're dealing with, this may all have to be done manually! Wouldn't it be so much easier to just get systems A and B to work together, skipping the middle part?
At last, the usability or functionality of business software, such as an accounting system, won't have to be compromised in order to share information. And in a time where people are demanding information at the click of a button, interoperability allows for all data to be updated in real-time. This is fantastic, as you know you've got an accurate overview of what's going on.
What's more, you save money and resource! If manual data transfer is needed, you're losing time that could be spent elsewhere, or maybe even the cost to bring in temp staff to handle this sort of extra admin work.
So what's stopping us?
Some of us may have a range of complex systems that we heavily depend on to keep our businesses running. So the thought of changing any processes may seem a bit daunting, and you might be worried about things coming to a halt.
If this sounds like you, then don't worry. All it takes is a super team of IT experts to review what you are trying to do. Once you're truly interoperable, all your processes will run so much more efficiently as no re-keying of data is needed and, more importantly, the risk for errors is greatly reduced! For example, a Finance department will no longer need to chase Sales for their latest figures, their database will automatically update the accounting system, and then the invoicing process can start. How simple is that?
How do you get the ball rolling?
If you're looking to implement interoperability with a bunch of on-premise systems, this stuff does get quite technical, so you'll need to speak with your IT bods and let them know what you want to do and why. But if you're Cloud enabled, then you should also involve your Cloud providers in the process.
Many companies now depend on being able to send and receive information as quickly and efficiently as possible - and for a more efficient business your systems need to talk!