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Sholto Hesketh looks at how subsidiary businesses can best align their systems with their parent organisation, increasing efficiencies and improving performance

In today’s fast-paced, digitally-enabled global markets, it’s more important than ever for businesses to ensure that the entire company is in sync, with the smooth two-way flow of information across all processes, departments and subsidiaries a must-have if the business as a whole is to optimise its performance. For many subsidiary organisations out there, achieving these desired levels of synchronicity presents a daily challenge, with many struggling to keep pace with their parent companies, particularly when it comes to the very systems that underpin efficient, profitable ways of working.

Inefficient, outdated systems

The reality is that many subsidiaries are running on legacy systems, some of which are outdated or designed to meet the specific needs of a smaller business. While these may be quite adequate for a standalone, independent business, as subsidiary organisations, this can result in a major chasm between them and their larger, more technologically up-to-date HQ.

This lack of system alignment often means ongoing interfacing or integration activities, which can be both costly and time-consuming, not to mention the inevitable need for manual data entry, complete with inevitable errors and inaccuracies, all of which result in slower, inaccurate reporting, decreased business visibility and ultimately, major inefficiencies across the organisation.

Align your solutions

In an effort to address this gap, to ensure that systems are aligned for maximum efficiency and performance, more and more subsidiaries are investing in solutions which directly complement the systems used by their parent company. So, although it would be highly impractical, not to mention cost prohibitive, for subsidiary businesses to go for the large systems that work so well for large, multi-faceted organisations, by choosing solutions which integrate seamlessly with these central systems, subsidiaries can achieve the necessary levels of systems alignment, without any unnecessary functionality and of course, the hefty price tag.

Solutions supporting growth

Not only should subsidiary organisations be opting for solutions which integrate easily with the central HQ system, but when it comes to the functionality and capabilities on offer, subsidiaries should be looking for solutions to enable their own business to grow and develop as well. Too often, smaller organisations are stifled by their own systems, ‘making do’ with solutions that are the right fit for their business at that moment in time. The benefit of choosing smaller scale applications from within the same suite as their parent company is that, on the whole, the flexibility of the solution to expand and grow alongside the business is greater than that which is available for those standalone systems specifically designed for small businesses.

What results is small business functionality but with the scale to grow as fast it needs to, all the while integrating with the main solution in place at the top of the tree. This flexibility to evolve in line with the business, with multi-lingual and multi-currency capabilities enabling the pain-free expansion into new territories, and integrated reporting and BI capabilities providing unprecedented levels of business insight for more robust decision-making, cannot be underestimated and it really should be on the list of must-haves for any subsidiary organisations who are serious about business growth.

Adding real value

Instead of wasting time dealing with manual data entry, wrangling with inaccurate reports and trying to shoehorn data into required formats, with the right system in place, processes and procedures can be standardised across the organisation, with increased automation freeing up staff to concentrate on more value-add activities. While this is happening, the subsidiary systems are communicating and integrating with head office, increasing collaborative working by connecting and presenting information in a way that adds value to the business, supporting sound decisions and making a real difference to overall performance.

Using seamlessly compatible systems enables the smooth implementation of repeatable processes throughout even the most complex of organisations. This makes working together much more efficient and prevents the cobbling together of processes, data and communications between multiple, disparate solutions, which is both inefficient and costly. By choosing the right system, subsidiaries can increase and improve the quality of communication and data flow between them and HQ, as well as taking full advantage of a system that grows alongside the business, empowering the business to go from strength-to-strength without being constrained by the very systems that should enable success.

For more information on how Sapphire can advise your subsidiary business on the best solution to meet your ever-changing needs, contact

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