How do you manage the data generated throughout your organization? Many companies utilize various systems of record to help store and manage this information, but it’s less often that these systems are truly integrated to facilitate data-driven decisions. For this reason, many organizations are moving toward a single source of truth (SSOT) model.
Unifying Data With a Single Source of Truth
Data plays an integral role in your organization. It’s everywhere. From Accounts Payable to Finance to Legal and Human Resources, leveraging your data is the key to supporting a more informed enterprise, but supporting your efforts to benefit from data is easier said than done.
The challenge is eliminating the information silos that form when your business relies on multiple systems of record to preserve data. The data-driven enterprise not only ensures that all members of the organization have access to the same sets of complete data but it also makes it easier for data to be produced, reviewed, and shared.
By eliminating information silos and supporting a single, complete record of data, you can help your organization benefit from a single source of truth that helps them find the answers they are looking for to better serve customers, vendors, and your business. By embracing an SSOT model, your business can make better decisions without worrying about a lack of structure or continuity to its data.
SSOT in Action
The concept of SSOT isn’t meant to be complicated. Your business needs a reliable way to access information that is both secure and streamlined. It’s important to keep in mind that SSOT isn’t defined by a certain type of software or a specific strategy, which is why we refer to it as a “concept.” Of course, supporting a single source of truth will require software and a strategy, but it’s how you implement the concept that will determine the success of your SSOT project.
Let’s use Accounts Payable as an example. In this example, the organization has 25 AP processors spread out across five locations. One of these processors is looking for a receipt to verify whether an invoice that has just been received is actually a duplicate. With a single source of truth, any permitted AP processor would be able to search and retrieve the following information about the invoice regardless of which location it was received and processed at:
- Invoice #
- Invoice amount
- Vendor name
- Vendor ID
- Item name
- Item ID
- Date received
- Date approved
- And more
SSOT is intended to operate as an aggregator of your business-critical data, but how can this concept be applied to the real world? One way to achieve a single source of truth is by utilizing a single, integrated Enterprise Content Management (ECM) platform. By combining the best of content management and process automation, ECM supports a secure, digital repository that operates as an SSOT while also providing the connectivity and integration required for automated workflows and rules-based record maintenance automation.
The Benefits of SSOT
Do you want to guarantee that your employees have access to standardized, relevant data across the organization? This is one of the most significant benefits of SSOT. Rather than make decisions based on isolated subsets of data from various departments, you can unify your data and get big-picture insights.
It’s as if you took all of your separate departmental information silos and merged them together while preserving the credentials and permissions that keep this data secure. Everything from production data to customer service data to sales and vouchers is available from a single source. By leveraging an ECM platform, you can also support digital paper trails that link related documentation together to help your users find the answers they are looking for even more quickly.
What Technology Is Required to Support a Single Source of Truth?
You recognize the value of obtaining an SSOT, but how can your business turn this concept into tangible results? As we mentioned above, a single, integrated ECM platform checks all the boxes you need for a cutting-edge SSOT. First and foremost, it collects, standardizes, and archives unstructured data to ensure that it is usable in a wide range of applications. Second, it integrates with your ERP, HCM, and other business applications for seamless connectivity without hiccups. Finally, your ECM platform must act as the “interface” for managing this information; even going so far as to allow you to manipulate data in your ERP from your ECM screens in real-time.
Any ECM platform that can satisfy these requirements should be able to serve your SSOT needs; however, if you truly want a seamless environment that doesn’t create friction for your data, you will want to find a solution that supports Mobile Content Management to help you expand your operational area to account for employees working from home or in the field.