Once you have your processes and people where they need to be, your next step should be to define what technology you have and what you need. Just remember there are no magic bullets that will do all the work for you. IT is the backbone—but people and processes are the muscles and bloodstream.

Each aspect of IT will need to go through an assessment. This lets you see where you have gaps and where there are redundancies. In today’s world, IT is the foundation of the entire back office. Everything the back office does—from accounting and finance to HR, from facilities to security—relies on IT, so you have to get that foundation correct. If you don’t, it can be fatal to your business.

A good IT architecture cuts the number of times your company has to do the same thing over and over. It makes production faster and more efficient – but you need to make sure you’ve integrated your technology with your processes.

As you bring this all together, you will encounter integration challenges. Since software is often developed by different vendors, each will have master records that make their application able to run by itself. These master records create the potential for duplicate entries when you’re using multiple vendors’ software. You want to be able to enter the data in one application and have technology automatically and accurately flow the data to the other applications. To make this happen, you’ll have to piece together software at the right places, so that the data moves smoothly from program to program.

The goal is to ensure that data is available to allow the executive team to make good decisions and to hand your back-office people clearly defined and documented standard operating procedures.

Don’t start this process alone. Let’s talk about where to get started.