ERP and Business Intelligence, or How Your Life Will Change Forever

Enterprise resources planning (ERP) software has long been a tool for organizations to centralize their data assets and improve data governance. As companies increasingly shift their focus towards big-data initiatives, using ERP as a basis for sophisticated business intelligence (BI) operations is operations is often a no-brainer. Analytics is an increasingly standard feature in ERP, and using built-in tools and easy-to-integrate add-ons allows organizations to make an immediate shift towards real-time measurement, increased oversight and predictive analytics. According to Tom Davenport of Harvard Business School, the three primary benefits of analytics include:
• Cost reduction
• Faster decision making
• Improved product development
By applying business intelligence to high-quality data insights in an ERP, organizations can discover opportunities to increase operational efficiency. For example, real-time dashboarding and data intelligence can facilitate improved decision-making among leadership, thereby increasing the organization’s bottom line. Furthermore, shifting to a predictive model that includes social listening and other unstructured data analysis will allow organizations to discover new opportunities and quickly respond to consumer demand. Interested? Learn more about the benefits of implementing an ERP with a robust BI tool, including dashboarding, reporting and data integrations.
Dashboarding and Reporting
Dashboards are simple data reports which provide clear oversight into operational performance by displaying a small set of key performance indicators (KPIs) that reveal company health. According to UltraConsultants, using ERP BI tools to produce a daily or weekly data dashboard can allow organizations to:
• Display the status of “mission-critical information”
• Provide interactive features for improved decision-making
• Allow users to sort by time period or other “drill down” functions
For many companies, simply moving towards a system of frequent, comprehensive oversight represents a significant improvement. However, the interactive nature of many ERP-driven data dashboards represents a new era of understanding for many business leaders. By being able to sort and interact with insights in real-time, leadership can gain a new and intimate understanding of how their decisions are impacting business outcomes.
Perhaps best of all, generating custom reporting in many ERP environments is not complex, and doesn’t require the extensive custom code needed for reporting in many standalone BI applications. Analysts can benefit from a point-and-click, drag-and-drop environment to create custom insights at a moment’s notice. The centralized nature of ERP eliminates the need for costly and time-consuming data integrations and quality checks, allowing data analysts to focus on simply telling the stories management needs to make decisions.
Data Integrations
At many organizations, siloed data insights represents a key challenge. Organizations are often kept waiting for intelligence due to lengthy internal data sharing processes, or technology that’s difficult or unreliable at integration. Analytics experts Ditpthi Karnad and Kapil Tulsan report that the five most commonly reported pain points include:
• Poor automation
• Difficulties in “drilling down”
• Data discrepancies
ERP software is a powerful tool for solving each of these challenges. With ERP, analysts with the appropriate credentials are able to access insights from across the enterprise, from manufacturing to sales and accounting. This transparency can facilitate an immense amount of efficiency for reporting. Karnad and Tulsan write that eliminating discrepancies and achieving the ability to “drill down” to answer specific questions requires deep integration, which is not only possible, but even simple, when your BI is backed by an enterprise-wide tool.
Implementing a standalone BI resource can be costly and time consuming, and can also lead to mixed results. If your data assets aren’t integrated and standardized across your enterprise, appreciating benefits quickly from an analytics initiative can be challenging due to the time required for integration, data standardization and the necessity to resolve quality errors.
For organizations with an existing ERP, using one of the robust BI plugins can allow for real-time decision-making and predictive capabilities. For other companies who have yet to implement ERP, it can represent a powerful way to quickly achieve total transparency.