In today’s fast-paced digital world, the idea of someone working all day transcribing at a typewriter seems quite antiquated—a relic of outdated technology, a thing of the past, an image in black and white. However, despite the sophistication of modern software, if you use the wrong applications, your employees could end up spending far too much valuable work time on manual data entry. Every hour they spend rekeying information that’s already stored in other applications on your servers or computers unnecessarily costs your company. If you haven’t stopped to consider just how much time you and your employees are wasting on manual data entry, you might assume that of course you have to type in rows and rows of data.
This problem is particularly prevalent in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software, which configures and analyzes complex financial information for businesses. ERP can work wonders for your business’s accounts, save you countless hours, automate tedious processes, and boost your profits, but not all ERP applications are created equal. At SCS Cloud, our team of specialists has made it our mission to help our clients make the most of their business management software. That often involves educating them about the benefits and disadvantages of various systems. We recently created a quiz to help users discover if they had outgrown QuickBooks software for their financial purposes.
In this series of “Sage” Advice, we’re going over Sage, one of the more commonly used ERP software applications on the market. In the following blog, we ask the pivotal question: “how much time do you spend typing?” and address issues of manual data entry with Sage.
Timing Your Typing
When asked how many hours per week you and your employees spend on manual data entry, your first response is probably: “I have no idea.” Interspersed with other activities, rekeying a few figures here and a couple spreadsheets there can seem to be no big deal. The truth is, however, that it adds up. If you use Sage ERP and regularly have to type in certain data points for inventory, payroll, order, or other financial functions, we encourage you to time yourself the next time you do so. Let’s say it takes you about 30 minutes per day to manually enter order data. That’s 2.5 hours a week and 10 hours per month of lost time that you could have spent doing more productive tasks, such as securing new orders and bringing more money into your business.
As the great poet, Alexander Pope, once said, “to err is human.” Even the fastest, most experienced typist sometimes fumbles while click-click-clicking away. Especially if you have quite a bit of data entry to do and want to get through it quickly, chances are, you’re going to make a mistake here and there. Also, given the volume of information that gets processed in ERP software, you’re relatively unlikely to catch your typos until they cause problems. Every time you have to manually enter data, you increase your chances for typing errors. If you have to do so on a regular basis, the typo odds are stacked against you, possibly putting a hitch in your financial operations.
As we’ve established, typos are the enemy of successful ERP. Of course, some manual data entry is a necessary nuisance for all of these applications, but this issue is notably bigger for Sage’s ERP due to the way the program is designed. Unlike many of its alternatives, Sage is standalone software, meaning that it operates as an ERP and nothing more. The problem with this is that finances are so interconnected with other business operations. Common sense dictates that planning for your enterprise’s resources tends to also include information about your customer relationships, eCommerce, professional services, and more.
Unfortunately, since Sage is not automatically interlinked and often not interoperable with business software meant to manage other aspects of a company, many users end up entering the same data into two or more spreadsheets. For example, you might end up inputting online inventory data into both your eCommerce engine and Sage ERP. The same could be true for typing in timesheet information to both your Professional Services Automation (PSA) application and Sage ERP, or for sales statistics into your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and Sage ERP. This means that you’re not only battling manual data entry, but you’re probably drowning in manual data re-entry.
Further Typing Troubles
The only thing worse than having to retype hundreds of data points is trying fruitlessly to retype hundreds of data points. In addition to being configured such that it requires manual data entry, Sage ERP also comes with more than its fair share of typing glitches. One user on Sage City, the company’s online support forum, complained: “when I go in to process an invoice, the data entry field, when I click on it, turn[s] to a black background with what must be black text as I can’t see anything I’m typing. Very frustrating.” This particular employee or executive lost even more time to typing attempting to enter data blind and resolve this pesky glitch.
Another user explained that, when he or she tried to use the supposedly helpful AutoComplete feature, “typing out item codes…is extremely slow while it builds the autocomplete drop down. Roughly 1-3 seconds between each character.” This delay is maddeningly annoying and adds hours to an already monotonous task.
“Time is Money”
Benjamin Franklin famously penned the phrase “time is money” in his Advice to a Young Tradesman, Written by an Old One. Over two centuries later, it’s just as true. Manual data entry and the errors associated with it aren’t just annoying—they could cut significantly into your business’s profits. NetSuite’s recent report on Sage ERP points out that, especially in larger corporations, you could be paying “people whose only, or main function in the company is to re-enter data…We’re not just talking about someone spending too much time during the day entering data. For some former Sage customers, it was a question of employing people—one, two, many—only to transfer data from one silo to another.” This is an obvious misuse of human resources, and the exact opposite of the service ERP software is supposed to provide.
You might not have multiple employees whose only role is manual data entry. However, if you have Sage ERP, you’re wasting precious hours, or even weeks, of employee time on this menial task. This is a waste of your talented, intelligent, resourceful workers’ abilities, time they could be using to come up with new ideas, reach out to prospective clients, solve problems, and generally better your business. In addition to making your employees more productive, saving them from Sage ERP’s manual data entry could also boost their morale and make them more enthusiastic about their work. After all, no one really wants to sit at a desk rekeying financial information all day long.
Of course, the idea that Sage ERP could be costing you is an abstract idea, and you might be skeptical about how much money you’re really losing to Sage ERP. You’d have to crunch the exact numbers for yourself (ironically, you might use ERP software to do so), but a case study can help you get a sense of the money you’re losing. NetSuite provides an example: “2Pure UK Ltd. estimated that staff won 25 percent more time to focus on sales after dropping Sage and the need to manually transfer data from application to application.” This shift is equivalent to your employees working 50 hours per week instead of 40. Imagine how many more sales your team could close with this time! In this particular instance, 2Pure UK Ltd. saw immediate, clear benefits: “their director credited a 95 percent uptick in turnover to this change.” There are tangible benefits to switching from Sage to a more effortlessly automated ERP application.
The Innovation of Integration
Sage has been a major business technology provider for a long time, so we understand that it might be difficult to imagine using any other ERP software. Despite the familiar, comforting nature of Sage ERP, there are superior options. Cloud technology has made standalone business software a thing of the past, as old-fashioned as typewriter transcription. At SCS Cloud, we’ve made it our goal to help companies enjoy true automation, increased productivity, and maximal convenience with the most advanced software technology available.
For ERP and other financial functions, we typically recommend NetSuite. This suite of state-of-the-art applications combines ERP with CRM, PSA, and eCommerce. Each of these applications is connected to a single data source, eliminating the need to manually re-enter data. All of your relevant corporate information is safely stored on a remote server, instantly accessible in a variety of applications. This seamless integration strengthens each piece of software, but especially ERP, which so frequently draws on data from other components of your company.
NetSuite cites “a report from Nucleus Research” which found: “businesses that run NetSuite are able to dramatically reduce manual processes by integrating order-to-cash and procure-to-pay processes, eliminating time spent rekeying data across these processes by 90-100 percent.” Upgrading from Sage ERP to NetSuite can save you countless hours, optimize your operations, and save your employees the hassle of manual data entry.
Since, as Mr. Franklin so eloquently put it, “time is money,” this all adds up to greater revenues for NetSuite users. For instance, take EMarket.com CEO’s comments on making the switch: “NetSuite not only replaced Sage, it has revolutionized the way we do business, resulting in efficiency gains of 20 percent.” This major corporation saw remarkable improvements after transitioning from Sage’s standalone ERP to NetSuite’s integrated, cloud-based, holistic solution.
How SCS Cloud Can Help
Our team of specialists understands that changing from Sage ERP to NetSuite or another cloud-based solution can seem to be a daunting task. Fortunately, we can help you through every step. First, we’ll see you for personalized consulting to help you determine what exactly your company needs. If necessary, we can also custom develop a software solution perfectly tailored to your preferences. When it’s time to put your newfound applications into practice at your office, we can also assist with implementation. To help you learn how to use them and keep them running smoothly, we offer comprehensive training and support services. SCS Cloud is here to help you escape the tedium of outdated applications and leverage the best business software to your company’s advantage!