Time to say goodbye to groundhog day
If you remember the movie Groundhog Day, where the narcissistic lead character, Phil, is forced to relive the same 24 hours repeatedly until he changes himself and, therefore, his future, you probably have some sympathy. As COO, you may often deal with the same issues day after day – and it’s only by making changes and improvements to the status quo that you can move forward.
With your focus on efficiency, it’s easy to see where the time goes – but not always as easy to resolve. The circular motion of integration issues is a prime example – and the endless cycle of identifying there is a problem, testing it to find what’s wrong by pushing through data, trying to track down the owner and asking them to fix the data issue, testing the new data by pushing through all the data again. Then doing it all again the next time.
Yet, that type of issue can be expedited simply and effectively by introducing error notifications, where you effectively cut out anyone who doesn’t need to touch the problem. Instead of passing through your IT team, the error notification can be directed to the person who created and owns the (usually) at-fault data. They can fix the data and push it through to test the integration. And suddenly, you have a win-win situation. While the IT team has a broken-fixed or broken-not-fixed overview of integration issues, they’re not distracted from their business-as-usual-and-more roles by trying to fix a problem they have no control over. And as the data owner has taken control of rectifying their own issue, it’s managed more quickly. So, productivity is improved, as is data issue resolution.
Better still, all the information relating to issues can be viewed on one screen and shared with everyone involved – from you to the IT team to the data owner – so there is genuine accountability. There is at-a-glance visibility of why a problem hasn’t been resolved, if it’s caused by missing data or if something else is impacting the integration, and how many hours or days it’s been languishing.
In your role as COO, you will be hyperaware of the impact of not knowing you have an integration problem.
We all know those businesses that have gone for months without being aware that they were missing data in their reporting, blind to its massive impact on their finances and decision-making. Suppose your integration platform doesn’t offer automated monitored error notifications and a single pane of glass reporting on outcomes. In that case, it can be easy to miss that processes are not working, or vital data is not sent. For example, incomplete sales or customer data may stop specific invoices from being sent out - or they may go out without the 3PL freight price on them.
Without day-to-day visibility of what’s working and what’s not, productivity and profitability are the first to suffer when good integrations (or, more frequently, data) turn bad.