Data entry has made up a huge part of how companies have done business since computers were invented. It also happens to be a huge time suck. What’s the quickest way to drive someone crazy, especially in an office setting? Distractions and hiccups caused by inefficient processes (like data entry).But, there is newfound hope, especially given the recent introduction of modern technological solutions. Thanks to the application programming interfaces (APIs) and virtual private networks (VPNs) offered in the present day, we are no longer bound by the simplistic, inefficient, end-all be-all data entry processes.

Let’s talk about legacy systems. In my opinion, the problem is contained within the term itself: legacy. Personally, the first thing I think of when I hear this word is outdated. But, for the sake of fairness, let’s go with a word that connotes less bias. How about rigidity? Legacy systems are old, fragmented and outdated software programs that are preventing companies from evolving. They require the same data points to be superfluously entered four or five times across the network in order to keep everything up to date. The logic is obviously flawed. As we all know, time is money, and you can’t afford to be wasting either.

If you’ve been following my blog from the beginning, you’ll know already that I’ve been writing ad nauseam about the increased flexibility and continuity made possible by cloud computing (SAS). I hope that you keep humoring me, because I will continue to beat this dead horse ragged due to the nugget of truth contained within. Yet, in the end (like with all forms of technology), you will need to be able to accurately distinguish what your team’s strengths and weaknesses are and how you work best together first in order to properly outfit your company with the newest gadget or software that’s going to make it more productive.

For example, when choosing between ERPs and disparate systems, you need to first determine if the uniformity offered by ERPs is a priority, or if maintaining optimum functionality for all of the different tools at your team member’s disposal is more important. ERPs can put your company and the potential for maximizing their productivity in a box, because of how much time is spent customizing all of the different functionalities in order so that they are in line with one another. In the end, there really aren’t any one-size-fits-all solutions when it comes to workplace technology. So, if you’re looking to have the best tools in place above all else, than disparate systems are more conducive to your needs, due to their flexibility.

In the end, no matter how you cut it, data entry blows. Now that we’ve acknowledged it, the next step revolves around to what degree as a manager are you going to let that have an impact your team’s productivity? The solutions are out there, the onus is now on you to research your options and determine what will realistically work best for your team. We are entering a new day and age of information gathering and data mining. The best way to achieve maximum results with data is to minimize mistakes and issues of the initial data entry process. So, think outside of the box, and get moving. You don’t want to equate a “time suck” into a “you suck.”