Business Intelligence in ERP Software: What to Look For

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Business Intelligence (BI) has grown and evolved to empower end-users and decision-makers with more information and better insights. Once considered an inaccessible product for many growing businesses, today’s BI solutions are designed to work for your company. In fact, many ERP solutions have expanded their BI offerings in recent years to compete with notable BI vendors.

Whether you are in the market for a BI tool that is built into an ERP solution or are looking for one that augments ERP by connecting it with a wide variety of applications, it’s important to understand what you need and how to get it.

Some BI Functionality Now Available in Most ERP

Nearly every ERP system on the market now also offers a BI module to provide visibility into your business. However, not every ERP solution offers the same level of BI detail or functionality. While an ERP solution may be able to provide end-users and decision-makers with attractive dashboards, you need to make sure it can offer what you need or find out how you can get it.

Out-of-Box Reports May Not Deliver Everything You Need

Every ERP solution delivers reports out of the box, but the real question is, “How many reports are available and which ones matter to your company?” Acumatica Cloud ERP, for example, delivers 250+ standard reports out of the box, with many more custom reports available. Need a report now? Not a problem. You can get it with just a few clicks. Want to schedule it for the 1st and 15th of every month? Go for it. A BI tool connected to your ERP can take it further, giving you more detailed, in-depth reports that are customized to your needs.

BI is More than Dashboards

Dashboards offer a way to visualize complex data through widgets that can display a wide variety of data types. But sometimes the dashboard provided in an ERP system isn’t detailed enough to give you the data you need. If that is true for your ERP, consider connecting a more advanced BI tool that can take your dashboards a step further, using analytics and data warehouse/data mining capabilities to give more depth and insight to your dashboards.

Consider KPIs to Keep Your Business on Track

One of the best ways to get the most out of a BI tool is to determine your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that will track where your business wants to go and how you plan to get there. Make sure the BI tool offered in your ERP can track the KPIs you want and give you the ability to hone in on the core data you need to ensure whether your business is on the right path or if corrections are needed.

Look For a Single Version of Truth to Make Collaboration Easier

Spreadsheets are slow even if only one person is editing a document. Adding multiple editors can cause even more confusion and miscommunication. Whether you’re reporting or forecasting, you can’t spend hours trying to reconcile a mishmash of spreadsheets from across the organization after one department starts working on a prior version and everyone follows suit.

The best way to solve the problem and make budgeting easier is to gather all the data together in a BI tool. This will give you a complete view of the company instead of isolated glimpses of various departments that spreadsheets provide. 

Cloud BI Will Give You the Information You Need—When and Where You Need It

Today’s business operates across borders, time zones and currencies. Not everyone can be online or in the same place at the same time. Luckily, mobile, cloud-based BI solutions make your data available to everyone whether they are in Tampa, Toronto or Tacoma. Everyone stays on the same page and can access critical business intelligence from their computers, tablets or mobile devices.

Ready to learn more about BI software and how it connects with an ERP solution? Reach out to us. NexTec partners with the top BI solutions to enhance productivity, improve visibility and increase growth. We’d love to show you what our software can do. 

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