Live from NCOF: The Importance of Auditing Your System

Nashville, TN–This time of year, the word “audit” tends to have a negative connotation. But while you probably see no need for an income tax audit, your catalog operations could likely benefit from a systems audit. During his April 30 session at the National Conference on Operations and Fulfillment (NCOF), consultant Ernie Schell detailed the hows and whys of performing a system audit.

If you invest in new systems or components without conducting a detailed analysis of your current system, “you’ll be trading one set of problems for another,” says Schell, president of Southampton, PA-based Marketing Systems Analysis.

A systems audit, says Schell, is not simply a matter of taking stock of your systems applications. Rather, it’s an opportunity for the company to assess the capabilities of the current system. Among the questions that Schell said should be addressed in an audit:

  • Are you using your systems to your best advantage?

  • Do you see any lost opportunities, such as up-selling and cross-selling?

  • What needs are being met by your current system?

Another piece of advice: When conducting a systems audit, include all departments, not just your fulfillment and MIS teams. Operations systems affect all departments, including marketing–and Schell noted that you don’t want to alienate any of them.

Co-sponsored by “Operations and Fulfillment” magazine and the Direct Marketing Association, NCOF runs through Wednesday at the Opryland Resort here in Nashville.