Are you using your ERP software data to optimize processes, improve customer service, increase accuracy, and identify new revenue opportunities? All of these are possible when you use business intelligence with your ERP software to make better decisions.
As the quantity of data available to businesses has grown exponentially over the past few years, the demand for business intelligence has exploded. Businesses are looking for an effective means to analyze and report the massive quantities of data. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are a great source of information, but realizing its potential requires processes and tools to deliver an effective business intelligence (BI) program.
How you use BI is important for success. Here are ten tips that will help your business intelligence program get off the ground and flourish.
- Keep it simple. Ordinary reporting processes are too complex and time consuming for most business users. Your business intelligence system should be easy to use. A casual user should be able to start using the BI tool immediately without needing to rely on a specialist to create the reports. Using a platform, like Excel, that everyone already knows, helps keep it simple by reducing complexity.
- Integrate the data. Manual data collection and reporting open up the process for errors in the data. Error-free data is crucial to support reliable decisions. In order for data to be trustworthy and reliable, it needs to be accessible by the reporting tool in the place that it resides. For example, enterprise resource planning data should stay in the ERP database but be accessible by the business intelligence tool. Your BI solution should be able to pull information from different sources into a single report.
- Make it accessible. Don’t leave business intelligence reports and data in the hands of a single person. Instead, encourage ad-hoc reporting and allow end users to answer their own questions without needing IT assistance. Your BI tool should be easily accessible on either a desktop or a mobile device by all types of users—from executives to business users to technical users.
- Make it timely. If it takes too long to get reports, the data may no longer be useful. With seamless integration between your Sage 100 ERP software and other business systems, you can be assured that users are working with current information. Put automated reports or alerts distribution to decision makers in the format that they prefer.
- Think big, but start small. Many business intelligence projects fail because businesses try to do too much at once. Start by choosing a few reports that really matter and get some fast early successes.
- Solve a problem. Do not start a business intelligence project as a general purpose reporting tool. Instead identify a specific problem and use the BI reports to solve it. For example, work to improve the efficiencies of a process, eliminate a bottleneck, reduce the costs of doing business, or find a new revenue source.
- Offer training. While business intelligence software shouldn’t need a full-time support staff, it can be useful to have a BI ambassador who can answer questions and provide training.
- Establish a process. Create an information governance process with rules pertaining to report creation, ownership, distribution, and usage. Establish a process to share information and make decisions based on who is looking at the report and what they need, whether that is analytics or dashboards, and how they need it—mobile or desktop.
- Stay flexible. Your business intelligence tool should be flexible enough to support multiple file formats, personalized interfaces and many devices.
- Leverage what you have. The business intelligence application should integrate with your existing business software and desktop applications. By leveraging your enterprise resource planning system, like Sage 100, and a standard reporting solution like Excel, you won’t need to replace your current applications.
Leverage Your ERP Software with BizNet
Emerald TC offers BizNet Software products that allow you to analyze big data from your Sage ERP software directly in Excel. Using BizNet software, you can easily import your data, analyze it, and format any way you need it. The BizInsight Excel Suite is a business reporting and analytics platform that provides real time access to your business data from Microsoft Excel. It provides a user-friendly, drag and drop environment with live access to the most accurate and current information. The data in your report goes with it when you share, so users can drill into cells and get in-depth information without having to reconnect.
Contact us to get started using your ERP software with Business Intelligence.