Enterprise Resource Planning or ERP software is the backbone of many small and big businesses today. An ERP system helps integrate and manage finances, manufacturing, sales, operations, human resources, and other important business functions. Business Intelligence software, on the other hand, can provide real-time insights into your business to help make smarter decisions.
In this post, we will be looking at the role of Business Intelligence in ERP systems and the importance of having an integrated system. We will be addressing the following points through this article:
- The evolution of Enterprise Resource Planning and Business Intelligence
- What a BI system integrated with an ERP can do for your business
- What is the value of Business Intelligence in ERP software?
- Some examples of ERP software with BI systems
Evolution of ERP software and BI systems
Until a few decades ago, the on-premise ERP model was the common choice to manage business operations. With an on-premise model, you’re responsible for hosting, maintenance, software updates, and all general running costs of the software.
Today, more and more businesses are switching to cloud-based ERP solutions. According to a recent study by Google, cloud-computing will be shaping the future of enterprise planning. More than 47 percent of the survey respondents in the study confirmed that they already use cloud-based services to manage their business and this figure is only going to increase in the next few decades.
Similarly, the process of business data collection and analysis has also evolved in the past couple of decades. From file-based databases, information management systems, PCs and spreadsheets to Business Intelligence reporting, we have come a long way. The process of collection and storage of data back then was costly and difficult to implement. Also, individuals with specialized skills were required to translate all this data into useful information. Moreover, reporting requests would take days and weeks to be completed.
Business Intelligence software today can provide real-time insights into your business. Not to mention, the different data visualization techniques that can make complex data intuitive and easy to understand.
Integration of Business Intelligence in ERP
Both ERP and Business Intelligence play a crucial role in running a business successfully. While the ERP software helps you manage your business operations, a BI-system transforms all the operational data into intelligent and actionable insights. There are many benefits to investing in an ERP software integrated with BI tools.
Here are five things that you can do with having Business Intelligence in ERP:
1. Get a bird's-eye view of your entire business
With a BI integrated ERP software, you can get a 360° view of your entire business from one place. This also means you don’t have to switch between multiple software to see how each of your business processes is functioning. For example, you can nurture leads, manage pipelines and close deals in your ERP and at the same time, get insights on the sales activities that led to the closure of the deal. Similarly, you can get insights on your cash flow, utilization and project progress, all from one place.
2. Make faster decisions with dynamic and real-time reporting
Traditional reporting methodologies are static and rudimentary. You receive data only after hours or sometimes even days after the event has occurred. However, with Business Intelligence reporting, you have access to real-time data as and when the event occurs. For example, with Business Intelligence, you can see the revenue generated or losses incurred at any given point of time. BI even lets you easily see how much stock you have on hand for a particular product. You can use this data for inventory management to ensure you have optimal inventory levels at all times.
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3. Get gleaning insights from legacy data
BI can analyze your historical data and provide you with insights that can help you improve profitability. For example, you can look at historical data to see which products are sold less during a particular season, or which project or client cost you more and was unprofitable in the past, or what kind of resources were needed to manage a certain project and other such details.
4. Make informed decisions with Predictive Analytics
In the past, the focus of reporting was on studying historical data and it only showed what had already happened. Business Intelligence is shifting from mere analysis of historical data to predictive analysis which can help you handle any unforeseen challenges and issues that may arise. It uses historical data to extrapolate and make predictions for the future. It is not just about seeing pretty reports but about identifying opportunities and trends that can help you make smarter business decisions.
5. Store and access large volumes of data
ERP systems generate large volumes of raw data on a daily basis. All this data needs to be gathered and stored in order to be analyzed later. Imagine having to store all this data in different folders or to access them from multiple different systems. With BI in your ERP system, all the data generated is easily stored in the ERP itself and you get in-depth insights from right within the ERP software.
Examples of ERP with Business Intelligence
Here are some examples of cloud-based ERP systems with built-in Business Intelligence functionality.
Netsuite’s BI provides built-in dashboards that provide value-added insights across all the integrated processes in the ERP. It gives you real-time data on company performance across all business functions.
NetSuite’s price is customized according to each customer, depending on a set of givens, such as ERP configuration, required add-on modules, total user count and contract length. The base license costs $999 per month with access costs of $99 per user, per month.
With Taimer's BI-reporting, you can get real-time visibility on sales activities, employee work hours and your business finances. It helps you identify trends and opportunities that actually work for your business.
With the sales insights tool, you can get insights on activities that led to the successful closure of a deal. Similarly, the invoicing insights feature analyzes your invoicing data and transforms it into valuable insights that can help simplify invoice management. You can also get a detailed overview of the revenue generated and costs incurred in the past and effectively estimate cash flow for the upcoming months.
Taimer connects all your data sources in a unified solution and creates intelligent, visual and actionable insights.
Taimer’s ERP solution is priced at €26 per user, per month.
SAP Business ByDesign
This is a cloud-based ERP solution by SAP for growing mid-market businesses. It unifies all core functions in an end-to-end business suite. SAP Business ByDesign features more than 500 standard reports, giving users a clear view of the metrics that matter, so they can quickly see what needs to be done and take action.
SAP Business ByDesign is available for a monthly software-as-a-service (SaaS) subscription, based on a base package, user types, and the number of users. For Enterprise users, it costs $147 per user, per month.
With Scoro’s BI integrated ERP implementation, you can see how your team is performing in real-time and predict future needs. You can also see what type of customers are profitable and what is costing you more money. In addition, you can get a full financial overview of your business.
The Scoro Business Hub solution is priced at €49 per user, per month.
The BI intelligence industry has expanded in recent years and is expected to continue rising. It is undoubtedly a smart choice for growing businesses to invest in an ERP solution that comes with Business Intelligence. The hallmark of a good ERP system would be one that provides total control of the business to the owners. This would mean, choosing an ERP that not just manages your day to day operations, but also provides intelligent and actionable insights to help you grow your business the right way.
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