ERP systems are known to generate lots of data, but not much information. ERP does not contain all the information that is needed for business and hence various data sources thrive in form of spreadsheets or applications. For example, ERP may not include the results of a client survey or secondary sales data at channels or vendor data.
ERP systems tend to force businesses to re-engineer current practices to fit within the processes described by the ERP modules. Companies are investing millions in ERP solutions or have invested till date to improve the way they conduct their business. While these solutions provides significant benefits, organizations are finding that in order to achieve critical decision making business goals they often need to supplement it with additional external reporting capabilities. With the wealth of data entered and stored in ERP databases the ability to analyze and interpret the data is significant for management reporting. It’s time to take the next step for these businesses and explore Business Intelligence.
Business Intelligence (BI) means different things to different organizations and users. BI often refers to complex business applications, tools and technologies focused at understanding business metrics and performance. It includes such concepts as data warehouses, data cubes, dimensional analysis and performance monitoring – often refered to as KPI (Key Performance Indicator). BI often involves users accessing this data in spreadsheets, pivot tables and reports. BI typically represents systems where business data is aggregated from different enterprise systems with the goal of uncovering trends and insights.
Business intelligence and data visualization solutions often involve many components, hence the traditional complexity and cost. With newer tools now available in the market, many of the elements of BI and data visualization solutions can be implemented with reduced cost and complexity. Today’s businesses need analysis capabilities, not just the “flat-sheet” reporting to which they’ve grown accustomed. Simply stated, reports that provide statistics and raw data provide no intrinsic value. They need tools that provide meaningful “business intelligence” if management is to be able to use the information to support decisions and strategy.
Business Intelligence Solutions help fill this gap. BI gives the necessary insight to understand, analyze, and even predict the overall business performance. Moreover, clear visibility into all aspects of the operation can give companies the ordinance needed to combat business hazards. Business intelligence is about looking ahead rather than looking back and about creating answers and the tools to analyze new questions. When every user has access to the tools and the data they need to make timely and relevant decisions, the business becomes more efficient and effective while cutting costs and improving productivity.