If your business doesn’t have a single, unified ERP system, you probably don’t have reliable data. As a result, many of your business decisions could be based on faulty or incomplete information.
Today, we’re discussing the benefits of establishing a single source of truth where executives and employees are all accessing the same data in a single location.
What Is a Single Source of Truth?
When we talk about establishing a single source of truth (SSOT), what do we mean? Put simply, this means everyone in your organization is on the same page when making business decisions. They’re all accessing the same files and referencing the same data.
It’s easy to assume this is happening at your organization, but without a platform such as an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system in place, it’s all too easy for wires to get crossed. Different versions of the same file are floating around on the intranet, and departments hold their own files tightly, making it difficult for other employees to access the data they need.
As a result, there isn’t one, single place for all team members to go for answers. Instead, employees use different data depending on the day, navigating siloes and trying to avoid roadblocks. When this happens, costly errors can occur, which cut into company profits.
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Why Are SSOTs Important?
Also called Single Versions of the Truth, or even Golden Records, SSOTs eliminate this issue. They are central locations for all your company data.
To create one, you’ll need to take all the data across your organization and aggregate it into a central repository. When this happens, individual data elements will get stored in a single system of record, or SOR. The SOR is a living, changing entity and will update and synchronize regularly based on changes made to the data by individual team members.
Tools such as data federation software allow users to aggregate data from disparate sources into one, central, virtual database. Once established, business leaders can access that database and mine it for business intelligence (BI) and data analysis. This is the key to making smarter, more successful business decisions.
Rather than containing the actual data itself, the virtual database will contain what’s called metadata. This is data that describes the actual data, with details including its location. When updates are made to the data in its primary location, those changes occur throughout the entire system, eliminating the possibility of duplication.
Five Reasons to Establish an SSOT
With so much on your company’s plate and so much data being transferred across it daily, why should you take the time to establish an SSOT?
When you form a data strategy using an SSOT philosophy, it helps both your enterprise and your employees. Let’s look at a few of the benefits this approach provides.
1. Create a Complete View of Business Performance
Can you gauge how much each business unit is contributes to your enterprise? It can be hard to measure how your financial, marketing, sales, IT, and customer services departments are individually performing, much less how that performance affects your collective mission.
ERP consulting firms, like Panorama Consulting, can help design an SSOT that brings all this data together. This way, you can establish and track progress goals for each entity. You can also use historical performance and context to make projections and predict future growth.
2. Eliminate Data Duplication
Duplicate data isn’t just wasteful. It’s also time-consuming and costly. Without an SSOT in place, it’s common for multiple teams to track the same data without realizing it.
An SSOT removes this risk and ensures that all groups have access to the information they need. In this way, it’s a key step in improving your company’s overall approach to data quality.
When data is integrated via an SSOT, there’s less risk of individual teams drawing their own, different conclusions. This commonly occurs when one dataset is newer or more complete than another. Now, everyone will be working from the same dataset, which makes decision-making much easier.
3. Eliminate Data Siloes
As mentioned, data siloes keep employees from accessing the cross-department insights they need. While some files will contain information that only relates to a certain team, those insights could be used to help inform decisions outside of that team.
As your company looks to the future, you want to make sure you’re considering your entire workforce, especially when you’re considering a shift in strategy. An SSOT provides this level of access.
4. Improve Organizational Transparency
There are many data points within your organization that your employees value. This includes information on enterprise-wide metrics, such as corporate responsibility.
Keeping this data locked away and difficult to access can breed feelings of distrust. By allowing authorized employees to access it as required, you can help establish a culture of transparency and openness.
Employees can also access information on their personal progress, using dashboards and visualizations to understand how their efforts feed into larger company goals.
Tools like these build trust, motivation, and morale. They are especially helpful if you’re undergoing any type of company-wide change, such as a digital transformation. When employees can clearly see what’s happening and the specific role they play, there’s less room for ambiguity and resistance.
5. Optimize Team Productivity
When data is easier and faster to access, productivity will naturally improve. Now, employees will no longer need to pull data from various sources to collaborate and create reports. This means they can spend less time collecting data and more time uncovering new insights and creating business value.
Establish a Single Source of Truth in Your Organization
With so much data throughout your organization, establishing a single source of truth may seem impossible. However, this step can influence and optimize every other aspect of your company.
An ERP system is the ideal way to gather and organize disparate data sources. With this system in place, productivity, morale, and service are easier to improve. There’s also less risk of user error and duplication.
To learn more about the benefits of ERP and jumpstart your own implementation, contact our ERP selection consultants below.