Your database is the framework that defines the efficiency and effectiveness of your business. The orchestration of people, processes and technology properly enable your organization to leverage its data as a business asset. Your database is the key component in this structure, bringing together the processes, roles, standards and metrics that ensure the effective and efficient use of information to enable you to achieve your goals.
Older businesses frequently discover that their data structures have become a less-than-harmonious assortment of incompatibility. You can easily attribute these results to your well-intentioned decisions that were applied to an inflexible framework. Younger businesses should take note of this eventuality, and build their database foundations with change in mind.
Business processes are employed to understand, manage and coordinate the activities within your organization. They are a critical element in the integration of your Customer Relationship Management strategy, increasing the efficiency and effectiveness in delivering customer value.
Inevitably, change will occur in your business, and businesses without solid processes will break down and become inefficient over time. Businesses will find that their applications no longer capture their critical data elements, their reports no longer help in making relevant business decisions, and their people have become frustrated with the entire cacaphony.
Your business application is what captures your data through your process definitions and makes you efficient. Applications must be designed with your processes in mind. Your business intelligence should be reflected in reports that are designed for your goals and strategies.
Companies that rely on the "one size fits all" strategy for choosing an application will discover inefficiencies that will keep you from achieving your goals. This is when you either have to adapt your business to your application, or start supplementing your business with other applications. This is when chaos starts to slowly find its way into your organizational structure. Before long, you are relying on multiple databases and applications, loosely integrated (if at all), in a Frankenstein-like structure. This is not how you want to define your business.
Your business will run most effectively with a fully-integrated solution that brings harmony to your Personnel, Application, Processes and Database. There is no way for me to define the solution here. All business are different, and any solution must take this into account.
Your decision may be just a few simple tweaks to your processes, a few structural changes to your database, or an application make-over. Whatever it is, you need to start making decisions based on your goals rather than suffering with the limitations of your systems.