How disparate systems can impact your rebate management

How disparate systems can impact your rebate management

Organizations who manage rebates often have their data in several systems, across multiple teams and departments. They try their best to make informed decisions, but they are using outdated data that comes in different formats and often without context. In the end it can become out of control and too much time is spent on non-value-added activities, too much resource-burn, and not nearly enough reliable data. 

Many organizations in all types of industries face similar challenges to rebate professionals associated with disparate systems. They tend to opt for systems to cater for a specific need or business function and continue to add new systems to their organization as it grows. This can result in multiple, disparate systems that are designed to operate on their own. Integrating all the data can be difficult and expensive, plus can often cause operational efficiency issues down the line. When systems run separately, processes that are meant to ensure a company runs smoothly can become more complex than they need to be

According to a report by Pega, employees switch apps over 1100 times a day and complete an average of 134 copy-and-paste actions each day which demonstrates how often employees are forced to switch between disparate systems that use the same data to complete a task.

Disparate systems can lead to a wide range of problems for your organization, including an increase in budget due to higher costs stemming from system upgrades, trading partner difficulties, and employee resources. To create a full picture of your deals you need to consolidate these disparate systems, we discuss the impacts they can cause and how an integrated rebate management platform can help.

Data entry errors make your data unreliable

Exporting data from one system and importing into another, or worse, manually re-entering the same data in multiple systems is not only time consuming but prone to errors which can often lead to major financial issues for your business. The average benchmark for manual data entry is a 1% error rate. Although this seems like a low percentage, when you start adding up the manual entries into your system each day and then consider how many times that data is moved from one system to another. The impact of that 1% starts to multiply.

Obviously, the ideal is to prevent data inaccuracy with proper processes, systems and training. But this is very difficult to achieve when you’re running disparate systems. There are simply too many data entry points and opportunities for human error. A single integrated rebate management solution simply wouldn’t allow errors to occur. This is because it forces users to assign tasks to certain users creating a full audit trail and prevents users from double data entry.

Lack of real-time visibility

Having information stored across disparate systems makes it nearly impossible to gain a complete and accurate picture of your deals. Someone in your procurement team might need to re-negotiate a deal for example but doesn’t have the data to hand to do this efficiently. Having all your deals stored in one system enables every team member to access real-time insights quickly. This will enable you to utilize data to improve decision-making processes, plan and execute deals effectively as well as predict risks.

It’s difficult to run reports

When your data is stored in disparate systems, it can take days or even weeks to pull data, reconcile it and compile into usable reports you need to make better deals. Because these systems are separate, they often require other tasks to be completed to run a report. Pulling reports from multiple systems to collate them into one report is not only time consuming; but also invites the possibility of human error as it is a very manual process. With a rebate management systems all your data is in one place, so various reports can be ran whenever you need them, quickly and efficiently.

Unnecessary added costs maintaining disparate systems

You might look at the cost of a rebate management system and think it’s too expensive. But running a collection of disparate systems can be surprisingly costly with not only the cost of the systems themselves but the maintenance fees associated to stay up to date with the latest features. IT teams waste an enormous amount of time and money on integrating, maintaining, upgrading, and acquiring new versions of these applications. Gartner reports that 91% of IT staff time is spent on software maintenance rather than on innovation.

Slow response times

If your trading partner can’t get hold of you or find the information they need quickly, they will often just move on to the next supplier, rather than wait for you to catch up. Lengthy timelines for negotiating deals or just a lack of easy-to-access information all cause slow response times. All of them can be traced back to disparate systems keeping data separate or refusing to work together in harmony. Once you remove that issue, you will see your trading relationships blossom.

Low employee productivity

To truly grow your organizations and make better deals, every employee must be operating at optimal productivity. Disparate systems often lead to inefficient and disjointed processes. Important processes such as calculating, accruing and allocating rebates can be extremely time consuming. Your employees may be spending hour’s manually inputting information, even though the data might already exist elsewhere.

Such labour intensive and manual tasks will increase the likelihood of errors and impact your company’s need to grow. By introducing an integrated software solution, you can untangle your business from disjointed systems, resulting in efficient rebate management processes and increased employee productivity.

Employee training is cumbersome

Rebates can be complex at the best of times but throw in a disparate system and a new employee the whole employee training can become tedious. Getting them fully up-to-speed takes time, which can increase dramatically when you have lots of complex disparate systems to train them on. Because you use different systems for different tasks, your processes are more complex. Naturally, it will take longer for new employees to understand the processes and where to go for the right information. There is also data accuracy to consider. In most cases, you’ll see an increase in data errors, as they understand their role and your processes. But when you already have a high error rate, combined with a lengthy employee onboarding time, the impact multiplies quickly.

Enable – the integrated software solution for managing your rebates

Consolidating disparate systems onto one platform may sound like a huge undertaking, but it's absolutely achievable. We help customers do this very thing all the time. We find that it’s sometimes best to phase the process out into manageable steps.  The smarter and most beneficial way to manage your deals is to implement one unified rebate management system like Enable. You’ll be able to make more informed decisions, access detailed information about your deals faster, and prepare key reports automatically and track deals as they occur. With a single integrated solution, you can spend your time looking after your business instead of looking for information.

If you think you’ve outgrown your disparate systems, get in touch with Enable.

Elizabeth Lavelle

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