One of the core challenges for modern business reporting tools is the wealth of information and sources that must come together to draw a complete picture of the organization's standing. In many cases, this has created a siloed environment in which companies leverage different reporting solutions across departments, even when each group uses similar data. This was the case with University College London, which recently consolidated its financial reporting software portfolio.
"Like many universities, we face the challenge of integrating a variety of financial planning and monitoring activities across different lines of business and various departments, and we needed a solution that would provide all users with one clear picture of the organization's financial performance," said Julian Carter, senior systems accountant for UCL.
While UCL turned to a third-party software suite to combine the functionality of the many disparate programs it formerly used, many organizations have found value in developing their own tools. This strategy can take a greater investment from internal IT teams, but it ensures that stakeholders have all the functionality they need. Furthermore, the organization has control over the project instead of relying on another company for updates and patches.
Businesses defined by their software
Wired contributor Sinclair Schuller recently posed the argument that the software-defined enterprise will be the prevalent trend of the future. Given the rise of scalable IT resources from the cloud, companies of all sizes have a greater degree of access to development environments than they have had in years past. Platform as a service in particular has contributed greatly to this shift, and Schuller suggested that PaaS vendors will likely show more support for enterprises by increasing the range of programming languages they support, including Java and .NET development.
"Aware that tremendous potential exists to increase net margins, improve customer acquisition, and enhance customer loyalty, companies will continue exploring new ways of generating software-based revenue," Schuller wrote.
Although his comments focused on the cloud, the notion of the software-defined enterprise is worth exploring because it represents a deeper connection between the way programs are utilized and core business objectives such as increasing revenue. This also means that programmers will need to be more cognizant of the needs of end users, as applications that fall short will either create frustrated employees or set organizations back to the siloed technology environments that existed before.