Move Over Cannabis ERP – This is How You Breakdown Information Silos

As a licensed cannabis company, managing multiple data sources, systems, and processes that must remain in sync and compliant 24/7 comes with challenges not faced by traditional businesses. 

Like every other business, however, you rely on a variety of software systems like inventory management, sales tracking, customer relationship management, financial systems, and more. And when these systems don’t communicate well, several issues you’re probably familiar with rise to the surface.

Maybe you’ve had to manually input data from one system into another or get custom code to get different systems to communicate, but these are time-consuming, error-prone, and inefficient. Let’s take a quick look at some of the other problems you’re likely to run into.

Data Inconsistencies: When systems don’t share information, it creates ‘data silos’ with discrepancies occurring everywhere. For example, your inventory system shows you’re out of a particular cannabis product, but a sales system shows overstock and offers the product at a steep discount. These inconsistencies lead to confusion, inefficiencies and lost profits.

Reduced Productivity: Employees manually entering and transferring data between systems is time-consuming and prone to error– the extra effort kills productivity. Don’t forget, staff need to fix those manually input errors manually when they could be working on more important things.

Poor Decision-Making: Blindspots can seriously impact decision-making without a unified view of your business data. If sales data is kept separate from inventory data, as in the example above, making accurate forecasts and planning for future needs is next to impossible.

Customer Dissatisfaction: Customer data should be shared between systems to maintain customer service. A customer could unknowingly purchase a back-ordered product or receive discount promotions for products they’ve already purchased, or the customer service team might need access to a customer’s full history when dealing with inquiries or complaints. It’s easy to see how conflicting or inaccessible customer data could lead to a bad customer experience. 

Regulatory Compliance: In this industry, compliance with regulatory requirements is crucial. When integrated tracking and reporting systems are in play, ensuring compliance and avoiding fines or other penalties is much easier.

Increased Costs: The time and effort needed to rectify data inconsistencies and errors increase operational costs, especially when, for example, a cannabis company tries to add additional software to bridge the gaps between two systems. In the end, those two systems may communicate seamlessly, but you’re still left with data silos everywhere.  

Cannabis ERP a Traditional Approach?

Until recently, what recommended solution effectively managed the following cannabis business activities?

Human resources
Accounting
Cultivation
Manufacturing
Distribution
Sales teams
Marketing
Retail 

A platform called cannabis ERP, right? But there are a few single-suite disadvantages to an ERP solution by itself:

Difficult to select a single solution that fits the needs of the whole company
Longer implementation 
Larger up-front Cost
Longer ROI
Requires shared vision by the entire company
Tied to one vendor’s vision & priorities 

While a cannabis ERP may still be a great option for some companies, for a growing number of cannabis operators, cross-platform compatibility is a non-negotiable feature in today’s increasingly interconnected digital landscape. So what is the solution?

The New Approach to Cross-Compatibility 

Cloud APIs (aka Application Programming Interfaces) are how you achieve cross-platform compatibility because they provide a set of rules and protocols that govern how different software components should interact. This makes it possible for other software systems, which may be built on various platforms and programming languages, to communicate and work together effectively.

In general terms, cannabis businesses might consider the following integrations for their operations:

Seed-to-Sale Tracking API: This type of API integration facilitates the tracking of cannabis plants from cultivation to the final sale, which is important for regulatory compliance. They can assist with inventory management, plant batch tracking, waste tracking, and sales reporting.
Point of Sale (POS) API: These APIs connect the POS system with other business applications like ERPs, CRM, or eCommerce platforms. They facilitate real-time inventory updates, sales data analysis, customer behavior tracking, and regulatory reporting.
eCommerce API: These APIs integrate online sales platforms with other business applications. They can help manage online orders, update inventory in real-time, and streamline shipping and customer service.
Laboratory Testing API: These APIs are useful for pulling test results directly from third-party labs into the company’s main system. They help ensure product quality and regulatory compliance by tracking potency, contaminants, and other metrics.
Payment Processing API: This type of API integration helps cannabis businesses connect with payment gateways that can handle the unique regulations of the cannabis industry. They manage transactions, refunds, and customer data related to payments.
Regulatory Reporting API: These APIs automatically compile and report data to state or national regulatory bodies. This can simplify compliance with the complex regulations that apply to the cannabis industry.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) API: These APIs help integrate CRM platforms with other business applications, allowing companies to streamline customer communication, manage leads, track customer behavior, and more.
Supply Chain Management API: These APIs allow cannabis businesses to connect their systems with those of their suppliers or distributors, helping to streamline order placement, inventory updates, and other aspects of the supply chain.

Cloud APIs allow different software systems to communicate with each other in a standardized way, automating the sharing of data and functions between systems. With cloud APIs, operators can significantly reduce data silos, cross-platform incompatibility, and integration challenges and move toward a best-of-breed approach. 

So, What’s it Really Mean to be Best-of-Breed?

The best-of-breed phrase describes software or technology considered the best or most superior within its specific category, niche, or industry and implies that a software system excels in features, functionality, and performance compared to its competitors.

So instead of picking an all-in-one software like a cannabis ERP, you can choose any software you want, and cloud APIs will connect them. 

Imagine having to assemble a dream team for the Olympics. Not just any team… a dream team. Of course, you’d want to select the best players for each position to create the best possible teams, the individuals who consistently perform for the team. Where would you start?

Choosing the top performers for their respective roles puts your team in a position for the highest chance of success. Think about it, when each player brings a unique set of skills and expertise to their job, they ultimately level up to the team’s overall performance.

Similarly, a best-of-breed solution is like selecting the top-performing individual software systems for your organization’s specific needs and then connecting platforms to form the best available suite of tools for each function.

Seamless Integration: High-Performing Tech Stack for Cannabis Operations

Integrating your preferred systems for tracking inventory, sales, compliance with regulations, etc., is no longer the same headache it once was. With cloud APIs enabling software, applications, and services, you can operate effectively across multiple platforms and systems. 

Communicating between systems is important for several reasons:

Greater reach and accessibility: Cross-platform compatibility allows a software or service to be used by a larger user base as it operates on multiple different systems rather than being confined to just one.
Efficiency and cost-effectiveness: By ensuring their solutions are cross-platform compatible, developers write code once and deploy it across multiple platforms, which saves time and resources in development and maintenance.
Improved user experience: With cross-platform compatibility, users interact with a service or application on the platform of their choice, leading to a better user experience.

Cannabis has so many different verticals within, and so many different pieces of specific software need to talk to each other, you need someone to integrate your cloud, a partner that you can grow with. 

Canna Suite’s Cloud API is made specifically for seamless communication among your preferred tech stack.

Canna Suite’s Best-of-Breed Advantages

It’s a growth strategy, improving decision-making and transparency with software solutions that fit today’s and future needs
Companies can buy software in phases
A modularized software approach grows and changes with you
Supports flexibility and high-growth 
Rolled out in non-sequential phases
Departmental decision making
One partner, but not tied to one system
Functional-specific support

The one size fits all methodology has passed with the increased adoption of cloud technology with the Best of Breed approach saving you time and money. With superior levels of accuracy, transparency, and automation, you can finally streamline business processes that allow you to capitalize on growth.

Canna Suite’s single-partner approach for software selection, integration, support, and reporting means you can select different software solutions that fit each department’s needs. If you’d like to learn more about breaking down your data silos, check out our recorded webinar.

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