Let’s be honest, systems of record (SoR) is not the most exciting of topics, especially when compared to its flashier cousin systems of engagement. Yet SoR is nonetheless critical to developing digital maturity. It is foundational to every business, no matter how “cool” other, non-SoR components, may be.

The tires may not be the most interesting part of a luxury car either; especially when they are compared with what’s under the hood and the fancy gadgets within the carriage.

The car might look breathtaking, but without tires, it’s not going very far. Similarly, systems of record are also the systems that an organization runs on. This even if they are not always a major or exciting focus. However, like the tires of a car, SoR cannot be ignored; these systems must be maintained and kept in good shape to keep the organization moving forward. Ensuring this will allow you to work on all of the other neater and more exciting things within your organization.

Systems of record, simply, are the systems that house your organization’s information and data. These systems can help ensure the integrity of your data and allow information to flow effortlessly throughout the organization.

Systems of Record Effectiveness is one dimension of our nine dimension Digital Maturity Assessment. We use this assessment to measure the overall digital maturity of an organization.

Our Systems of Record Dimension focuses in on the modernization and efficiency of SoR, how these systems align to business processes, the satisfaction of employees using these technology tools, and the organizational balance of insourcing versus outsourcing technology projects.

Why are Systems of Record Important?

So why are systems of record important? As an example, if you fail to make payroll or file tax payments, everything else disappears. Digital maturity concerning systems of record is about making the systems solid and routine and giving it the proper focus and investment. This way, everything else that relies on SoR can do the more exciting stuff that the dollars and attention are generally lavished upon.

To build on our tire analogy: under-inflated, imbalanced, or misaligned tires can have a dramatic impact on the performance of a vehicle including gas mileage, operating costs, driving experience, and safety. These added operating costs, because of poor quality tires, often go unnoticed for long periods of time, because everything seems alright.

The same is true of SoR. Improperly maintained, aligned, or under-funded SoR can and will cost you a lot of money. It will undermine your ability to do other things that you want or need to do to grow and/or streamline your business.

Incremental, often wasted expenditures can go unnoticed for long periods of time because SoR isn’t exciting, doesn’t get a lot of attention, run largely out of sight and … well … everything seems to be going alright.

Approaching Systems of Record in Digital Maturity

The best approach in attaining digital maturity as it relates to SoR is to make inspection, investment, operational review and maintenance a matter of deliberate routine.

While these are not the systems that will necessarily provide new, exciting, and transformative initiatives, they nonetheless need the regular attention that all systems and solutions need.

Establish Governance: Establishing regular governance concerning review and investment is essential (much like it is essential to monitor your tires with some regularity in order to keep them inflated to the appropriate PSI level) so that they serve the important foundational purposes they are designed to perform.

Keep SoR Top of Mind: It is important to keep your SoR on the radar in some reliable and regular manner. Do not simply wait for it to “blowout.” It will usually do so at the worst possible time and when you have little planned time or budget to address these problems.

Regular Reviews: Keep your SoR functioning efficiently and at a high level by maintaining a regular plan to review SoR performance, efficiency, and investment needs. Periodically review if there are better, cheaper, and more efficient alternatives in the marketplace that you can bring in. You need not act to replace them in every instance, but at least know what your options could be if the need arises.

Yes, systems of record, are not the most exciting. Yet they are solidly foundational. They need proportionate care to allow other areas of the organization to continue to move forward without disruption.

There is never a good time to get a flat. In fact, flat tires almost always seem to come at the worst possible time. The likelihood of getting a flat can be minimized by regular inspection, maintenance, and needed repair. Proactivity is only useful if it happens before you find yourself stranded somewhere with no way to move forward. SoR are the tires of your organization. Tires keep on spinning unnoticed and largely ignored while you enjoy all of the captivating gadgets in your luxurious car. Ignore your tires too much, and for too long, and all of those gadgets will quickly become secondary.

Being digitally mature surrounding your systems of record means having a consistent and regular plan to inspect, maintain, and invest in them so that you can spend your, always limited, time and budget working on the systems and solutions that differentiate you in the marketplace.

Want to improve your organization’s digital maturity? Start with our Digital Maturity Assessment.