• While IT traditionally are the owners of system integration, finance needs to step up and take a leading role in defining an integration strategy.
  • A glut of cloud-based business apps is a challenge for finance to get the full picture of the business as data becomes siloed.
  • Without a strategy for integrating your business applications finance leaders opt for short-term fixes that don’t solve underlying data and process issues. The result is expensive maintenance and lackluster reporting.

What Is Application Sprawl? 

Why do you need a data integration strategy? When multiple applications exist with overlapping purposes and functionalities; when applications have been purchased with little or no consideration for governance or who will “own” the app; and when data is trapped in silos because multiple applications are used to manage a process, you have application sprawl

How many business applications does your team use? A dozen? Two dozen? How many are used across the enterprise? Hundreds? The adoption of cloud-based business applications has accelerated significantly, and gone are the days when IT laid out the road map, led vendor evaluations, planned and staffed projects.

Today, line-of-business managers faced with a business problem can purchase and implement an application with minimal (or no!) involvement from IT. This often happens below the radar of Finance. Unhindered by a requirement for ROI justification, much less ensuring the expense is in the budget, line-of-business managers and team leads move fast in purchasing and deploying purpose-driven business applications.

This agility, which is great for managers, produces unintended, possibly negative consequences for IT and the CFO.  IT cannot always enforce governance policies, which opens a Pandora’s box of issues from business continuity to security risks, and the proliferation of business applications corrodes Finance’s ability to execute two key responsibilities: measure and report on the performance of the business and apply models for ROI.

The Unintended Consequences of Purpose-Driven Apps 

Anyone who has had to scramble to prepare management reports from multiple data sources knows that application sprawl can make reporting a nightmare. In order to achieve accuracy and reliability in reporting, processes for reconciliation or adjustments are implemented. These addition...