It takes time to actualize ROI (Return on Investment). Even calculating ROI—a ratio of net profit over a period of time and the cost of the investment—isn’t a calculation to be done at only a single point of time, but instead, a measure to take at intervals to see if your investment is paying off. Now, this isn’t an article on how to calculate ROI; all this goes towards saying that a high ROI is a positive indication that your investment is paying off, while a low or negative ROI means you’ve likely exposed yourself to risk somewhere along the line. It’s a means to evaluate investments: did your strategy pay off, or fall short?
A simple ROI calculation
ROI (Return on Investment) =
(Gain from Investment – Cost of Investment) / Cost of Investment
But ROI isn’t all about dollars and cents on a balance sheet. ROI can include social return on investment. Social ROI includes all other, less-tangible, benefits like social impact.
At the end of the day, any ROI evaluation is a key part of risk management. Calculating, even roughly, your ROI in from a number of vantage points for your business is key to planning: it helps you better understand your business’ past efforts to improve output on future efforts.
Calculating the ROI of your data integration strategy is a highly recommended activity. It’s also an activity that should be done not once, but multiple times over the lifetime of your chosen solution as ROI can change over time as your business evolves and it often takes time for the impact of an integration implementation to percolate to the surface.
But calculating ROI for data integration isn’t quite as simple as plugging some numbers into the sample simple equation we shared above. Because data integration includes both hard, known spends over time but can also impact the social capital of your business significantly, calculating the Return on Investment on a data integration strategy and approach can be tricky.
What’s the ROI of VL OMNI’s Platform?
Great data integration like what VL OMNI’s agile and scalable platform provides our 250+ Merchant base with doesn’t just eliminate inefficient processes by moving data in sleek, automated ways. The VL OMNI Platform delivers ROI to our Merchant users in a variety of ways including saving time and money by building in considerable automation and efficiencies, improved customer experiences and social impact, and better internal team morale. Because the VL OMNI Platform consults to configure the integration ecosystem exactly to each Merchant’s specific needs and business rules, ROI can vary from Merchant to Merchant. And while our Merchants sing VL OMNI’s praises in social ROI and may allude to broader improvements (check out what our customers say at the bottom of this page), it’s not often we have the privilege to peek into the financial ROI.
Overall, ROI for Merchants using VL OMNI to integrate their applications and automate their data delivery can be broken down into two groups:
- ROI from replacing lesser integration solutions
- ROI from unifying disparate systems
The two aren’t mutually exclusive, and a single project for a Merchant can involve both.
VL OMNI ROI from replacing lesser systems
Data integration is a still maturing vertical; just a few years ago merchants were just discovering the needs and nuances of data automation and integration. With data integration as an industry projected to be worth $12.24 billion by 2022, many merchants have by now had a chance to experience some form of automated data delivery between applications.
Part of growing as a merchant includes replacing technology as you outgrow it; data integration applications and solutions are no different. Starting out, a low-end integration like a plug-and-play connector may work just fine for you at low volumes, but these integrations tend to lose their efficacy as you grow. Lesser integrations also have limited configuration and other constraints that constrain growing merchants; a good sign that you’ve outgrown your current integration approach is the persistence of manual data entry or work-arounds, chargebacks, and/or unhappy customers. Learn more here.
The ROI in moving from a lesser system to a fully scalable and agile data integration platform like VL OMNI is noticeable first in social capital. Employees’ morale improves through implementing more efficient processes that deliver data when, where, and in the form it needs to be; customers experience sees a bump just via providing more accurate data faster to your customers and customer support teams.
These social capital gains do not tend to take long to show up in the accounting ledger, either, especially in a year-over-year comparison over the replacement of a lesser approach. Data automation via a strategic approach to data integration results in real savings for merchants on the VL OMNI Platform.
VL OMNI ROI from unifying disparate systems
The byproduct of any integration project at any level is the unification of disparate systems and applications; that’s the most basic nature of any data integration approach. But not all data integration solutions are created equal, and not all solutions are able to achieve the same degree of unification.
For example, it’s not uncommon to see a partially integrated back-end technology stack, nor is it uncommon for VL OMNI to implement a data integration solution that strategically aligns the technology stack around a central hub of data truth. If data integration has been approached without strategy, goals, or broader system impact in mind, these decisions eventually add up to a mess—especially if your business is growing and you don’t have a succession plan in hand for your integration strategy.
Unifying previously disparate systems to form a holistic technology stack, whether they were partially integrated via a lesser integration solution or have never been integrated before, provides an almost immediately noticeable ROI. Data flows accurately and in the form it needs to be in, in accordance to your discreet business rules; work-arounds are virtually, if not completely eliminated; manual data entry is no longer necessary; customers are happier.
The ROI from here is virtually identical to the ROI from replacing lesser integration solutions as the business grows into it’s new, full scalable and agile VL OMNI data integration platform. As the business continues to grow, the VL OMNI solution grows with it, turning the challenge of an ever-changing retail ecosystem into an advantage as others struggle with their own ineffective integration approaches.
ROI for Merchants on VL OMNI: The Numbers
As mentioned above, VL OMNI hears the praises of our platform from our Merchants regularly, but overwhelmingly so from a social ROI given the sensitivities around sharing financial information.
But recently, we had the privilege of hearing direct financial ROI feedback from one of VL OMNI’s Merchants.
The VL OMNI Data Integration Platform Saved One Merchant Over $100,000 USD YOY From Unifying Disparate Systems
So take a good, long, hard look at your data integration solution and strategy, and ask yourself: what could your business do with an extra $100,000 saved from a better data integration approach?