A business intelligence ERP system
A business intelligence ERP system
Business intelligence (BI) is the transformation of data into actionable insights to support better and faster decision-making. A business intelligence ERP system can be the eyes and ears of your organization, enabling you to monitor your selected key performance indicators and make changes when those KPIs don't meet your requirements.

We explored the value of BI in a popular blog post in 2015, The Value of Business Intelligence in Enterprise Resource Planning Systems, and we wanted to update this post to detail the many new improvements in BI since then, describing how they can help your business work smarter. To do that, we spoke with Tony Moraco, Upgrade /BI manager at USA.

The way BI is delivered has changed

Data and BI have always been valuable to companies and have long been at the heart of good business decisions, but what has changed in the last few years is the sheer volume of data that can be stored and compiled. With all the data available, there needs to be a way to organize that data in a way that makes sense for the business, and that's where business intelligence in ERP comes in.

"As technology evolves, so does BI," Monaco said. BI not only provides standardized dashboards and reports but also compiles and displays the exact data that companies find most relevant in multiple areas. BI is also increasingly distributed throughout the organization, allowing data and BI to democratize from the C-suite/leadership to the floor or shop floor.

With BI, you can predict trends based on historical data and trends

Combining cloud technology with BI enables ERP to create dashboards that are accessible to senior management, end users, and everyone in between. In addition to viewing, this feature allows users to manipulate and create user-centric dashboards relevant to them from data sources inside and outside the database. Any authorized person can access and use the data.

Let's look at an example. Employees operating the machines can view monitors that show the performance and efficiency of the equipment. End users can quickly visualize relevant data, rather than waiting until the end of the day to collect all the data and then create some report that says, "Machine A was much slower than Machine B on Tuesday." Instead, users can see this in real-time.

Business Intelligence ERP systems keep your business ahead of the curve

The next step after diagnosing the problem, which is where BI is now, is the ability to use data to look at historical patterns and make smart, data-based predictions. "Predictive analytics is now coming to the forefront," Monaco said. "Based on historical trends, you can predict trends."

With BI, you can make better, data-based decisions about sales, production, inventory, and distribution

Sales forecasting is a common example, such as which colors sell at certain times of the year, but can even be applied in the field of production. For example, if machine performance data is being obtained, the failure rate of the machine can be determined to predict machine maintenance requirements and timelines, rather than waiting for a response to a failing machine. Once a pattern is identified, BI software can drill down into the details to find the root cause. All of this supports making better decisions about what to do next. "You can make better, data-based decisions on sales, production, inventory, and distribution," Monaco said.

Cube value to monitor your selected KPIs

Having so much data isn't about making pretty reports: it's about seeing trends that can help companies make better decisions, whether in terms of revenue growth, cost cutting, equipment maintenance, or being more proactive rather than reactive in key business areas.

Better yet, BI software allows users to "slice and dice" their data, configuring and displaying it in a way that best meets their specific performance needs. BI software uses cubes to make it easy for non-technical users to do custom dynamic reporting. These cubes store your raw data and enable users to quickly view the data they need. "The real value is in having these pre-defined cubes so that end users can decide how their data is presented," Monaco explains.

BI and ERP are suitable for many different industries and different types of users. It is difficult to produce standard reports relevant to each entity. Therefore, each industry and each company has its metrics.

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