With ERP software, many businesses have become very good at gathering and inputting data. ERP software makes it easy to manage all of an organization’s data using one business software tool rather than multiple separate applications that lack interoperability. This is the strength of ERP, and many businesses have spent a great deal of money on ERP solutions, hoping they would bring forth the end of their worries.
The reality, however, is that while most ERP solutions gather the data, they only provide some standard reports, for detailed analysis a company needs a business intelligence solution. How useful is it to have a plenitude of information with no practical way to access it and analyze it? In today’s competitive environment, managers are anxious to stay well informed on what is happening within their business and throughout their industry. As a result, businesses are placing more and more emphasis on the integration of Business Intelligence (BI) and ERP systems as a platform for informed decision making. The key to effective integration of Business Intelligence and ERP system lies within understanding their wider purpose within your business.
First of all, you must have a clear understanding of the end goal. ERP software records large volumes of data across a wide range of business functions, and the role of BI systems is to convert this data into relevant information. Determining the key business objectives, important performance indicators or specific desired business outcomes will give a clear direction.
Second, you must use the BI system to its full potential. By limiting your BI system to data collection and record reporting you underestimate the value of this powerful business tool. BI provides up-to-date information that is relevant to the past, present and future of any business, providing the foundation for identifying historical trends and current patterns in important business data, like sales or production costs.
Third, but not last, you must manage information security. BI is a potent instrument for analysing information about every aspect of a business. Unsurprisingly, however, the level of information it puts in the hands of users is a common concern for CIOs. To this end, data security within BI solutions needs to be carefully managed, but remember that the benefits of improved information flow across the enterprise far exceed the risks.
BI is a difficult area, but it’s also one that offers enormous potential for delivering insights that can boost profits, cut costs and provide an ongoing picture of a business and its market. With a clear set of aims and expert help where necessary, it can harness the data that resides in ERP systems and turn that latent information into valuable competitive awareness.