ERP for Analyzing Data with Business Intelligence

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems or accounting software need a Business Intelligence (BI) solution to analyze the data collected by the systems. A BI solution specifically tailored to the specific needs of SMEs will help personnel make informed decisions and run the company more effectively.

‘Business Intelligence’ refers to software applications that analyze a company’s raw data, collected regularly by the company’s software systems, such as an enterprise resource planning (ERP).  The systems build data warehouses and, with reporting and visualization capabilities delivered by BI solutions, a company’s data is mined, processed, analyzed, so reports can be generated that deliver business insight necessary to make decisions with confidence.
Business Intelligence helps business users reduce time spent on analysis and reporting, and make faster, better-informed decisions.

Why do customers need a business intelligence solution?

The Aberdeen Group research on business intelligence reveals the magnitude of the challenges that customers are facing when trying to manage business data, analytics, and reporting:

  • 46% of SMBs recognize that too little data is used for business analysis.
  • 77% of managers are not notified when important changes affect their business.
  • It takes 11.5 days, on average, for managers in SMBs to be notified of events happening that are affecting their business.

Business Intelligence solutions used to be a luxury afforded only to large enterprises spending big bucks on complex systems. With the spread of business technology into the SME realm, these companies have found that even though they are accumulating information, the large amount of data can be overwhelming and too complex to shed insight into operations. Now, the focus has turned from “more” information to better and more concise intelligence.

In addition, intelligence was primarily prepared and addressed for the upper levels of an organization. While that still remains true, more and more, all level of employees are involved and expected to understand the company’s goals and responsible for achieving its objectives. Therefore, business intelligence more and more needs to be accessible by all levels of the organization.

The modern era of business intelligence has brought complex tools to the SME marketplace. At their most basic level, business intelligence solutions help speed up the distribution of relevant information across all appropriate levels of the company, to help collaboration and informed decision-making.

Business Intelligence as a Business Analysis Tool

A BI solution delivers comprehensive data analysis and reporting on all aspects of the business. For example, it includes budget management and control, sales analysis, inventory control and analysis, quality control, customer service records and outcomes, and productivity analysis.

The Business Intelligence options that we recommend to our ERP customers, like Sage Intelligence (Sage BI) and Sage Enterprise intelligence (SEI), integrate seamlessly with the ERP systems where the data is largely connected. To make the information available so that users of the system can access the insights they need, the data is presented in a intuitive web interface. Reports are organized through self-service tools that make it easy to access intelligence and saves time by enabling users to set up and select to view the data that applies to business processes related to their roles.

Business Intelligence as Decision-Making Tool

To help with decision-making, BI solutions need to offer users a simple tool to access and analyze enterprise data. Users are able to set up applicable KPIs and personalize individual dashboards to show the relevant information crucial to the business processes they are involved with. This is in part provided by the system’s extensive search capabilities, as present in Sage BI and SEI.

Business Intelligence solutions are designed to help users explore information in whatever way they need to. Whether it’s drilling down or drilling up to access details of transactions, users are able to pull the necessary data to be analyzed. This data is presented in different data visualization techniques such as charts, graphs, maps or gauges. Everything is done in real-time, even when the reports are accessed through Excel, assuming that the systems have Microsoft Office integration.

Business Intelligence as a Collaboration Tool

Since intelligence serves as the backbone of decision-making, collaboration and knowledge sharing are important factors to consider for a company looking to become more efficient. There are a few ways in which BI solutions help with collaboration in an organization.

The system presents the same centralized information to users, ensuring that all parties are seeing the same content. For that reason, BI solutions make sharing of information easy, as reports and visualization of data can be readily distributed among users. When users are knowledgeable of the business data, the company can move quickly together as a unit. The ability to share consistent up-to-date information improves collaboration and cross-functional performance of employees.

When looking at Business Intelligence solutions, it’s important to look at what makes data valuable. For data to be valuable to a business it needs to be of high quality, accessible, usable, and intelligent. By integrating seamlessly with the company’s ERP system, the BI solution will access high quality data. With dashboards and other data visualization techniques the data becomes usable to employees. Self-service and mobile access ensure that the data is accessible, and a good BI engine turns the complex data into business intelligence.