Webcast - Bring data to life with Solver and Power BI

Webcast: Bring your data to life with Solver and Power BI (recorded webcast)

By | BI, Events, Recorded webcasts, Solver | No Comments

Let your data tell a story with interactive dashboards. Watch our recorded webcast to see how you can bring your data to life with Solver and Power BI. Interactive dashboards enable managers to monitor and measure performance in real-time so they can make smarter and faster decisions.

With Solver Cloud, a recognized leader in Corporate Performance Management tools, and Microsoft Power BI, the world’s leading visualization solution, you can quickly implement a set of powerful, web-based dashboards that will help you visualize trends, identify issues, and ultimately drive success.

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Business Intelligence in agriculture: What does it mean in practical terms

By | Agriculture, BI, ERP, Sage X3 | No Comments
Inspecting agriculture.

Agriculture can benefit from cloud-based technology in many ways.

We’re living in the era of Big Data. While we tend to think of data as being a highly coveted asset among companies in technology, finance, and retail, it’s also important to recognize its role in the agriculture sector.

Agriculture businesses share many of the same goals as businesses in other industries:

  • They seek to find new ways to lower costs with minimal or no sacrifices.
  • They want to maximize profits in the face of rising operating costs or changes in demand.
  • They continue to cater to their audience’s needs by producing high-quality, trustworthy products.
  • They want to improve their vendor and supplier relationships for ongoing success.

Any company or industry that uses business intelligence may find these goals are more feasible and more easily achieved with the implementation of business intelligence systems.

What do we mean by business intelligence?

Burlap bag and crops.

Data-driven decisions can improve profitability.

Business intelligence, or BI, refers to the software, systems, processes, and other technologies that collect and report on business-critical information. The goal of BI is to allow companies to tap into their data to make better business decisions.

When applied to agriculture, business intelligence can cover a broad array of technologies, including but not limited to:

  • Sensors in the fields
  • Mobile devices with agriculture-specific apps
  • Cloud-based software and computing for real-time updates
  • Precision agriculture systems
  • Internet of Things-enabled equipment and gadgets

When BI systems are thoughtfully developed, they can monitor every aspect of a farming operation and collect and crunch data that farmers can use to make improvements.

What are the benefits of business intelligence?

Farming storage.

Business intelligence creates smarter farms.

Proper analysis of the amount of data that can be collected by farming organizations is virtually impossible using conventional methods. Adopting BI systems allows farms to make better use of their data and take advantage of its intended benefits, including:

  • Making data-driven decisions

First and foremost, business intelligence drives smarter decisions. Farming’s purpose of providing a service essential to life leaves little room for error, and farms need data they can trust. BI systems provide real-time data across the entire business operation so that farmers can better understand the impact of their decisions on specific areas and the organization as a whole.

  • Increasing competitive advantages

Farming businesses are no strangers to competing for sales of the same product, particularly as many regions or areas grow similar crops simply because of natural conditions. With greater intelligence and better decisions come opportunities to improve, which could help you gain an advantage over competing farms.

  • Improving forecasting

Forecasting is an essential part of running a successful agribusiness. All of your production must be planned in advance, which means you must take into account your anticipated market demand, weather conditions, labor availability, and potential obstacles that could impact your goals. BI can help you with forecasting because it collects data over time and can detect trends and anomalies based on large sets of your own data.

  • Integrating a network of agri-tech

Smart tech in agriculture is growing, and BI serves as an anchor point to unite multiple technologies. BI connects various points of data with each other to develop deeper insights into your farming operations.

Use cases for BI in agriculture

Observing growth of plants.

How can farms use BI?

The agriculture industry as a whole demonstrates the need to apply business intelligence to a variety of use cases. In doing so, farming operations are in a better position to achieve the above benefits. Some of these use cases include:

  • Production planning

There are many moving parts to planning a crop: availability and preparation of the land, planting, irrigation, harvesting, and shipping, to name a few. BI can rely on data from previous years to improve your planning and allow you to avoid reinventing the wheel with each new production cycle.

  • Sales goals

As your farming expenses change, so may your sales goals in order to maintain profitability. BI systems can monitor the financial end of your operations and help you improve your production to ensure you’re hitting the right objectives.

  • Managing recalls

No farm wants to find itself at the center of a recall. For starters, recalls can be extremely expensive in terms of lost revenue and damaged vendor and supplier trust. Plus, it’s not always easy to trace recalled items through the supply chain.

BI helps to simplify this process by keeping up with batch numbers, harvest dates, storage conditions, sell dates, and other important data that can help you mitigate the impact of a recall.

  • Waste reduction

One of every farm’s primary goals is to reduce waste at every link in its operations chain. Spoilage means goods are no longer viable to sell, which can eat into profits. Other types of waste, including damage to equipment, unnecessary irrigation, or other activities that don’t add value can also impact a farm’s profit.

BI systems are comprehensive in nature and serve to help farms identify areas of waste across your operations. This allows you to plug money leaks before they wreak havoc on your finances.

Deploying Sage X3 in your agriculture business intelligence strategy

When examining specific use cases for BI in agriculture, it’s not just a matter of collecting and reviewing data. Farmers also need a simple way to tap into the data they find most useful in a way that’s agile and user-friendly. Many don’t have time to master a steep learning curve and need an intuitive interface and features to get up and running right out of the gate to make it worthwhile.

Because of these factors, many agriculture businesses find Sage X3 to be a favorable solution. Its powerful features are designed with agribusiness needs in mind to increase profits and reduce expenses while focusing on core business functions like production, finances, and the supply chain.

As a long-time Sage X3 implementation partner, NexTec puts years of experience behind developing and launching business intelligence systems for agriculture organizations. We’ve designed additional functionality around agriculture business needs that can help you make the most of your data. Get our short guide to BI and what it can do for your business.

Binder labeled budget.

5 BI Budgeting best practices for 2020

By | BI | No Comments

Binder labeled budget.

Planning a new budget may seem daunting, but implementing the right strategies can reduce the stress of preparing for the new year. No matter the industry, your budget should support business intelligence (BI) goals.

The right BI tools can simplify the budgeting process. These applications contain a range of features to help you plan strategically. Since 2020 is right around the corner, we offer these five budgeting BI best practices.

1. Use drivers

Instead of orienting your budget process around accounts, adapt it to key drivers of your business. These include:

  • Sales units
  • Number of customers
  • FTEs
  • Anticipated percent change in cost of raw materials

You can then use logic-based formulas in your budget models to apply those drivers against historical data. The result will be a detailed, GL account-based budget.

In 2018, Forbes reported a link between the use of BI apps and success. A report on the state of business intelligence reported that fewer than 15% of respondent companies employ a chief data officer. The available technologies are responsible for a customer experience revolution, one that is led by driver-based budgeting.

Driver-based budgeting lets your data tell the story. This gives you better insights into how various parts of your business are related, so you can maximize the power of your budget.

2. Update frequently

The purpose of a budget is to establish financial targets for a specified period, typically one year. However, it should be updated frequently to reflect changes in key drivers and ensure it remains a useful business management tool as you move forward.

  • Make updating decisions based on the current results.
  • Use your projections to align the budget with existing plans.
  • Implement rolling forecasts so you can plan each quarter rather than the entire year at once.

Cloud business intelligence tools can help you manage updates by providing readily accessible solutions. According to a 2019 Cloud Computing and Business Intelligence Market Study, 48% of companies report cloud BI as critical or very important to operations.

3. Accelerate the budget processGroup of colleagues looking at a laptop screen together.

If your budget process is lengthy, any assumptions you started with may be out of date when the budget is issued. You’ll also be less likely to perform frequent updates if the task is too onerous.

Speeding up the process shortens the entire budgeting cycle. One challenge for business owners today is keeping up with constantly changing environments. Pay attention to internal and external factors to ensure you make dynamic decisions.

Your budgeting process should be flexible and responsive to industry changes. This requires a top-down strategy to align allocations with figures based on projected company direction.

4. Don’t budget in greater detail than you need

Don’t assume that more details will mean greater accuracy. The key is identifying which areas need detail and which don’t.

5. Consider using “what-if” scenarios

“What-if” models allow the consideration of ideas across the spectrum. Comparing best-case to worst-case situations helps establish a balance in preparation for everything in between.

Finding the right ERP partner is essential for achieving your 2020 BI budgeting goals. Let NexTec assist you in implementing these BI best practices to ensure greater success. Get our short guide to BI and what it can do for your business.

Insight.

Business intelligence in ERP software: What to look for

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, BI, ERP, Solver | No Comments
Business Intelligence ERP Software

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.

Business Intelligence (BI) has grown and evolved to deliver 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 ERPs

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 the ERP 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 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 it to schedule on 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. Learn more about how business intelligence works in this helpful whitepaper, Business intelligence: More than a dashboard.

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 the truth to make collaboration easier

Spreadsheets are slow even if only one person is editing a document, but 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 that will give you a complete view of the company, instead of isolated glimpses of various departments that spreadsheets provide. BI360 is one such tool. It can connect directly to Acumatica Cloud ERP and the out-of-box workflow tools can provide data from key departments for real-time decision making and budgeting.

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.

BI through NexTec—Talk to a business intelligence expert today

NexTec Group believes that an informed decision is a smart one, and helping organizations implement business intelligence software solutions that will allow them to succeed is our specialty.

Whether that solution is part of your ERP solution like Acumatica or a product customized and implemented to work alongside it including Solver BI360 or one of the many options we offer, we know how to help.

At NexTec Group we help companies like yours streamline processes, increase efficiency, and achieve complete visibility to maximize your bottom line. We work with your organization to deliver on time and on budget solutions that you can trust. Through manpower, mindshare and business expertise, NexTec delivers. Get in touch, we’re here to help you choose and implement the right BI solution for your business.

Webcast: Streamline your budgets with Solver BI360

By | Events, Solver, Upcoming Webcasts | No Comments
Data-focused organization

ERP solutions, BI, and the data-driven culture

By | BI, ERP | No Comments
Data-focused organization.

A data-driven business culture reduces costs, fosters collaboration and innovation, and demonstrates return on investment in new technologies.

While businesses today are gathering and storing more data than ever before, many still struggle with how to use the collected information. Building a data-driven culture that can leverage the massive amounts of data helps organizations become more nimble, innovative and responsive to shifting markets and customer expectations.

Building a data-driven culture also means having the tools available to sift through the data to find actionable insights. Fortunately, today companies can use enterprise resource planning (ERP) and business intelligence (BI) solutions as the foundation. Here’s a closer look at ERP solutions, BI, and the data-driven culture.

Why a data-driven culture is critical

In a 2018 survey of business intelligence users and consultants, the research firm BARC said building a data-driven culture was the top trend driving the BI market among North American respondents. It was the number two trend among South American respondents and fifth worldwide.

“This represents a major shift in today’s business world,” said BARC founder and CEO Carsten Bange. “Creating a data-driven culture is about replacing gut feelings with decisions based on data-derived facts.”

A data-driven culture is essential in today’s competitive environment because it offers a fact-based approach to solving business problems. What can a data-driven approach offer? Here are a few advantages:

  • Cost reduction. A Harvard Business Review article noted that nearly 50 percent of Fortune 1000 executives had started to see a decrease in expenses by using Big Data.
  • Better collaboration. With a data-driven approach and using an ERP solution, employees can see and use the same data in real time, leading to new insights, perspectives and partnerships.
  • More accountability. With a data-driven culture, there can be more accountability for decisions made, using data gathered and analyzed before and after a new solution is used.
  • More ROI on investments. Companies today are investing more in tools to collect, transmit and store data. By leveraging and even commoditizing that information, companies are better able to demonstrate a return on those investments.
  • Specific targeting. A data-driven culture allows your organization to develop more personalized and customized solutions for your best customers and prospects using predictive modeling, artificial intelligence, automation and data mining.
  • Informed decision-making. While it may appear obvious, having the right information available when decisions are needed is important. You need the ERP and BI tools available in the moment, with real-time information, to make better decisions faster and with confidence.
Group of people working around a table with laptops.

Give your employees access to the tools and insights in order to build a more data-driven culture.

Building a data-driven culture

Creating a data-driven culture does not happen overnight. However, there are steps leaders can take now to build an organization that embraces and uses data, including:

  • Focus on democratizing data by giving employees the power to collect, analyze and use it.
  • Stress data quality to ensure that information is collected properly and accurately.
  • Establish data governance policies that spell out how data is collected, stored, accessed and used.
  • Promote data literacy.
  • Connect data to core business objectives to show why data matters.
  • Use the right tools.

At NexTec, we help companies choose the right ERP and BI solutions that collect and use data to meet pressing business needs. Having the right ERP/BI partner helps accelerate the process of becoming a data-driven business and reaping the rewards.

Get our short guide to BI and what it can do for your business.

Thank you! – When data analytics means big business

By | BI, ERP, Food and Beverage | No Comments

Thanks for getting in touch

Here’s your copy of When data analytics means big business.

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About NexTec Group

NexTec Group is a national consulting firm, specializing in technology to help you manage your business. This includes Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and Business Intelligence (BI), Cloud and On-premise solutions for mid-sized businesses.

We started the company because, as consultants, we saw software sellers that had never walked a mile in the customers shoes. We had, and knew that we could offer something different. A company made up of consultants that had experience working in the industries that they were now advising.

In the 20+ years that NexTec has been in business, we’ve developed close working relationships with our customers, partners and each other.

Customers choose NexTec because…

  • Our consultants have an average of 25 years’ experience in both consulting and industry.
  • We understand the software, customer challenges, value teamwork, and are passionate about doing great work
  • We provide clear information that helps customers make informed buying decisions
  • We stand by our customers to make sure the technology works, is used, and produces great results
  • We deliver our services with a sense of friendliness, fun, individual pride, and company spirit

If you see the possibilities, let’s meet for lunch, coffee or a drink.

Man in a business suit looking at digitally created icons.

How manufacturing ERP software can improve data collection, BI, and regulatory compliance

By | BI, ERP, Manufacturing | No Comments
Man in a business suit looking at graphic icons.

ERP solutions are powerful tools to collect data that can be leveraged by other components to create better business intelligence capabilities and ensure regulatory compliance.

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms provide powerful solutions for manufacturers. As seen in the recent post, Strategic guide to planning manufacturing production cycles, technology is transforming the way companies operate, allowing for faster and deeper insights that drive innovation and efficiency.

From the collection and use of data to the importance of business intelligence (BI) to the ability to comply with regulatory requirements, your ERP solution provides better information access that can establish new markets, improve processes, and create more efficient operations.

Knowing how manufacturing ERP software can improve data collection, BI, and regulatory compliance can help companies make smart decisions about their buying and implementation decisions.

Data collection

Data is at the heart of manufacturing ERP software. Platforms provide tools that improve help to collect information, store it, and, most importantly, use it in ways that drive better decisions.

Data collection with ERP solutions allows companies to automate the collection of data from throughout the enterprise. Automated collection leverages the connectedness of devices equipped with sensors, storage, and wireless capabilities.

When deployed, the collection and transmission of data can happen in many directions – collected from intermediate and finished products along with the users of those products for reporting and analysis within the ERP itself; transmitted among manufacturing, distribution, and accounting functions; and shared with supply chain partners to improve decision-making and outcomes.

For example, with inventory control purposes, data collection via ERP solutions allows for tracking of production picking, receiving, cycle counting, picking, transfers, and receipts. These tools provide real-time insights on inventory levels, fewer data entry keying errors, and improved warehouse management.

Man in business suit with his hands together palms up.

With the right ERP solution, manufacturers can collect and use data internally and throughout the supply chain.

Business intelligence

BI draws deeply on the data collected within your ERP. BI tools embedded within your ERP or integrated with it allow for the extraction, reporting, and analysis of data to drive business decisions.

Data mining applications can do a deep dive into the collected data to draw out patterns, opportunities, and connections. Most BI systems provide multiple tools that allow the data to be used effectively, both internally and throughout the supply chain.

These tools include Intuitive operational dashboards, integrated scorecards, ad hoc queries that allow for specific deeper dives, and interactive features that allow for variable inputs and extractions.

BI tools allow for better forecasting to drive growth decisions, faster identification of threats and risks, and deeper insights into how products are being used by and inquiries from customers and consumers.

Your ERP solution needs to include or interact with BI tools seamlessly to allow for the greatest impact on the massive amounts of data being collected.

Compliance

Enterprise manufactures today face a wide scope of potential compliance requirements from federal, industrial, and international agencies. With ERP compliance modules, you can be sure that the requirements are accurately recorded and updated within the system.

With automation tools improving rapidly today, manufacturers can ensure that they remain in full compliance. ERP tools can collect the necessary data, record it, and generate the reports necessary to meet with compliance standards, either self-reported or in the case of an inspection r audit.

In the case of a recall, the ERP compliance tools can also help to pinpoint the source issues, determine the scope of the incident, and prepare communication and coordination documentation.

The power of ERP solutions is significant. At NexTec Group, we help companies determine the right manufacturing ERP solution that meets their unique business needs. Contact us to learn how NexTec Group can help you determine your ERP business needs and identify the right solution to leverage data, gain deeper insights, and remain compliant.

ERP solution

Unleash the power of analytics for your professional services firm

By | BI, ERP, Professional Services | No Comments
ERP solution

Analytics help professional services firms develop deeper insights into employee utilization, project management, and client engagement.

Professional services firms that are embracing digital innovation can use analytics to gain insights to drive efficiency and better client outcomes.

As seen in the recent post, Achieving Agility for Professional Services in the Digital Age, professional services firms see the importance of meeting the growing expectations of clients for deeper insights, faster results, and more services. One way to achieve those results is by focusing on metrics that determine impact and efficacy.

Analytics draws on the massive amounts of data available, providing a deeper dive into trends, patterns, and measures that can be used to assess the business. Learn how you can unleash the power of analytics for your professional services firm by focusing on metrics related to resources, client engagement, and operations.

Employees

Firms that maximize their human resources aim to have a resource utilization rate of at least 80 percent. Talent is the most expensive part of a professional services firm, and underutilization of that talent results in lost revenue.

Here are a few key metrics that analytics tools can provide you related to employees:

  • Annual revenue per billable consultant
  • Annual revenue per employee
  • Billable utilization, which takes utilization and ties it to overall revenue and profits per employee

Predictive analytics

With aggregated data available from sales, project management, and personnel, you can use analytics tools to identify opportunities to hone particular skills, geographical or industrial sector opportunities, and talent shortages or surpluses. These insights allow for adjustments in hiring, marketing, and contracting.

Business analytics also allow the firm to forecast what the impact will be if trends persist and to create predictive models of the impact of shifts in staffing, priorities, or markets to the firm’s bottom line.

ERP solution

Data analytics offer deeper insights by integrating data from operations, sales, human resources, and finance.

Operations

Analytics allow professional services firms to dive deeper into the efficiency of their operations. Automation tools can reduce or eliminate the need for manual entry, variance analyses, and data processing in the creation of reports that measure profitability.

Business analytics also give firms more insights about days outstanding for delivered work and work in progress that can improve collections strategies and procedures, resulting in improved proficiency for cash flow and profit.

Project performance is another critical measure for any professional services company. With richer analytics tools, companies can better track profitability at the project level, identify and mitigate project overruns sooner, and flag underperformance earlier.

Client engagement

Analytics offer firms the opportunity to provide better client experiences by identifying points of value at each step of an engagement. By tracking information on client satisfaction, services purchased, and buying behavior, firms can fine-tune their sales pitches, service bundles, and delivery methods for information and insights.

An enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform can help bring together the many parts of the professional services firm. Data from operations, finance, human resources, sales, and customer engagement can be collected, analyzed, and used via an ERP solution that provides the deep insights necessary today.

Acumatica is one such product that offers professional services firms the integrated ERP solution that drives improved profits and customer satisfaction. Acumatica’s ERP comes with integrated customer management, financials, project cost tracking, service automation, and time and expense management modules. The solution allows firms to deliver excellent services efficiently while maintaining insights and controls to drive profits.

NexTec helps firms identify and implement the right ERP solution to meet your firm’s greatest needs. Contact us to learn more about how NexTec can help you select the right ERP for your professional services firm.

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Top three resources for learning more about the Cloud

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, BI, Cloud, Dashboards and KPIs, ERP, Inventory control | No Comments

Companies are moving to the Cloud at a rapid pace. In 2018, Forrester predicts, more than 50% of global enterprises will use at least one public cloud platform in their path to drive digital transformation and delight customers. As companies see the benefits of cloud adoption, this number will only increase as we approach 2019, 2020, and beyond.

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