How ERP Data Entry Requirements Lead to Data Quality Issues

By Vikram Chalana on May 3, 2017

In the last post about ERP, we started exploring the benefits and challenges of ERP systems in relation to Application Data Management. In this article, we’ll review some of the challenges that were identified in further detail – specifically how data quality issues stem from dealing with too much data entry. data quality

To accurately track all activities so your business can run efficiently and report accurately, the ERP system requires vast amounts of data. Every step in a business process requires users to enter or update data in an ERP system (see image to the right for an example of a procure-to-pay process). Entering data in a timely and accurate manner becomes the responsibility of ERP end-users. Sometimes data that are entered into ERP have to be collected from other people inside or outside the organization, such as invoices from vendors. This process of collecting data that needs to be fed into the ERP system and then entering data in is often manual, time-consuming, and error-prone.

Because the ERP system supports end-to-end processes, more data are needed to ensure accuracy. For example, to create a customer record in ERP, you not only need to create the financial part of the customer record, but also the sales part, the warehouse part, the marketing part, etc. The more data that need to be entered, the greater risk you run for mistakes. These mistakes, unfortunately, won’t often show up until much later in the process.

These manual, error-prone steps lie at the root of many data quality issues in the enterprise.  Because every process has a financial impact, all data quality issues eventually flow down to the accounting team. A minor data issue in the beginning of the process snowballs by the time it gets to the end of the process where it can become a massive problem. In many organizations, it then becomes the accounting team’s responsibility to resolve the problem caused by upstream data quality issues.

At the end of the day, data problems in ERP are not really the result of how the ERP system is architected or configured. They’re often caused by a lack of user training or business process engineering, as we’ll discuss in the next blog. The ERP system increases the size and complexity of the problem because everything is tied together.

About the author

As Winshuttle's Chief Technology Officer, and Co-Founder, Vikram has been focused on empowering people to transform their ERP-based businesses since Winshuttle's humble beginnings. He is passionate about technology that allows people to improve their lives and the way they run their businesses. Outside of work Vikram likes to spend time outdoors running, hiking, kayaking, and skiing.

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