Insight.

Business intelligence in ERP software: What to look for

By | Acumatica Cloud ERP, BI, BI360, ERP | 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 | BI360, Events, 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

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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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Most revealing customer KPIs

By | BI, Dashboards and KPIs | No Comments

Every organization wants to create amazing customer experiences. Forrester reports; in fact, that 72% of businesses say improving customer experience (CX) is a top priority.

Measuring CX helps businesses determine what works and doesn’t work for customers. They can then use that information to inform initiatives to enhance CX.

An exceptional customer experience is good for business; it helps to increase sales and revenue, improve customer engagement and reduce customer churn.

Don’t track the wrong KPIs

But when assessing the effectiveness of customer relationships, too many organizations track the wrong KPIs (key performance indicators); and as a result, base crucial CX and marketing decision on measurements that are not relevant to the business. Ultimately, these companies end up wasting time planning, implementing, analyzing and fine-tuning strategies that fail to drive actionable results.

How to select the best KPIs for your firm

The first step to selecting the right KPIs is understanding your company’s unique differentiators. This is a two-pronged process that involves:

  1. Evaluating successes by taking inventory of your most successful projects and identifying the factors that contributed to their success.
  2. Examining mistakes by looking at failed projects and asking questions to understand why they failed so you can determine what to do differently next time.

From this process, create KPIs that enable you to build on and repeat successes while avoiding activities that led to failure.

Top KPIs to measure

What KPIs should you be tracking to learn the truth about your relationships with customers? Here are four:

  1. Customer acquisition rate: To determine customer acquisition rates, measure how your sales team performs month over month. If patterns show a decline, figure out why so you can reverse it. For example, perhaps your salespeople aren’t receiving enough leads — a sign that maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your marketing strategies.
  2. New and returning customers: By breaking down the number of active customers into new and returning, you can see the mix of customer acquisition versus retention in your business. Determine if you’re doing a good job retaining previous customers and keeping them coming back and if you’re acquiring new customers. You should be balancing your business between the two.
  3. Cost of direct sales: With this measure, you can determine how much value your salespeople are bringing to your company. For example, if they’re selling online services, 15 percent is acceptable and 8 percent to 10 percent is ideal. Anything above that means their incomes are too high or quotas too low.
  4. Transactions per customer/value per transaction: If you break down value into transactions, you can see how often customers interact with your company and the value of those transactions in terms of revenue. This will help you measure increases and decreases in the frequency and value of transactions.

NexTec Group delivers business intelligence software solutions that help organizations succeed. NexTec Group is dedicated to your success, and our team of experts will work with your organization to analyze workforce efficiency and monitor key performance indicators to optimize your profitability. Contact us to get started.

 


5 top trends shaping business intelligence

5 top trends shaping the BI future

By | BI | No Comments

Flashback to just a few years ago and data-driven decision making was a new trend. Companies large and small wanted to know how to make better business decisions. From that, the trend of business intelligence (BI) was born.

5 top trends shaping business intelligenceThe goal of business is productivity and profits. Toward that end, more organizations have integrated technologies and evolved into digital enterprises. They relied more on IT departments to mine data, then used those reports to inform business strategies, operations and investments. With the advent of big data, concerns rose over data quality and governance.

Organizations are relying more on verifiable data to support business governance decisions, and we now see a growing adoption of BI tools that allow technology to empower business managers to analyze data on their own.

BI is transforming how organizations drive communication, collaboration and customer service operations.

Here is a look at the top trends that will shape BI applications in the New Year and beyond.

  1. Soaring in the cloud: As concerns about cloud security continue to decline, more businesses will move BI away from in-house infrastructures and onto more scalable, cost-effective cloud platforms to reduce overhead and speed implementation cycles.
  2. Digitize to modernize: Today’s modern customers demand a personalized experience that delivers reliable, around-the-clock, real-time solutions. Providing this type of user experience requires a radical overhaul of business processes driven by digitalization. But digitalization is not only about the customer experience. More organizations will convert traditional offline processes to digital forms to save money and allow for real-time data monitoring and reporting.
  3. Decentralizing data with self-service: As software applications become more user-friendly, tools are moving out of IT and into the hands of business users. Self-service is a growing trend because it allows those who aren’t from the analytics and data-mining world to access statistical data, create their own queries and determine conclusions. Enabling users to perform traditional IT tasks frees up the IT team for other business objectives without compromising the ability to have data filtered and grouped.
  4. Taking the tech out of knowledge: Data discovery/visualization is more of a user process than a tool. It is the process by which the user looks for patterns and anomalies. By processing information visually rather than reading or interpreting graphics, users visually navigate and digest the information.
  5. Predicting the future: Predictive analytics helps users make sense of data relationships to identify potential opportunities to increase customer value with probabilities based on advanced analytics. Whether it’s developing forecasts, crafting ideas to improve processes or creating new products and services, BI plays a valuable part in shaping a vision for the future and making more strategic business decisions.

As technology continues to transform business processes, actionable business intelligence will become even more critical to driving successful business operations. NexTec Group can help you implement the right technology solutions to improve operational efficiency, decision-making, productivity and profitability. Contact us to learn which business intelligence software solutions are right for your business.