We know the power of ERP systems is multifaceted, providing your business with greater efficiency because your people are seamlessly connected and automation of essential functions. Business Intelligence (BI) propels this a step further when integrated with your ERP, providing real-time data analysis and insights.
As your ERP works hard to tie together business processes and automate tasks associated with everything from HR, accounting, procurement, project management, risk management and compliance, to supply chain operations, BI works alongside to shed light on all of the data that results from that blend.
Think of the BI as a superpower bestowed upon your ERP system. BI integrated with ERP enables teams to really sink their teeth into data and understand how the moving pieces of business operations intersect. Together, ERP and BI promote tighter collaboration across teams. And, importantly, analytical capabilities of BI can reveal issues in areas like sales and production, allowing leaders to make proactive decisions rather than be surprised when reviewing reporting.
As Netsuite.com writes, “The integration of ERP and BI brings everything together, helping users consolidate millions of data points into clear, actionable insights.” The two are wholly complementary. How else do ERP systems and Business Intelligence work together?
4 Ways BI Complements ERP Systems
ERP systems capture data so that you can execute business processes (focus is on putting data in).
- BI systems analyze that data to assess business performance and to make business decisions (focus is on getting data out).
Business intelligence plays an important role in forecasting. In retail, for example, BI can accurately predict product demand based on data gathered through the ERP system coupled with analysis of current market demand.
ERP systems create and store data.
- BI systems analyze data and turn it into information.
Business intelligence takes the significant volume of pure data generated by ERP systems and allows users to dig deeper into that data. Deeper insights are gained through facets of BI like artificial intelligence to “tell the story” of how a business is operating across the enterprise.
An integrated ERP-BI solution will allow different business units to analyze data needed to meet their own KPIs to ultimately align with overall business goals.
ERP systems tell you what was done, who did it and when.
- BI systems tell you how well you did and what you might want to do next.
The historical data generated by your ERP system will offer insights into past business performance. BI brings to the table more predictive analytics and modeling capabilities. Together, they deliver an end-to-end view of your business’ past performance, present performance and possibilities for the future.
Today’s challenges require companies to be more predictive and BI fuels that capability.
ERP systems capture a lot of detailed data tailored to how business processes are performed.
- BI systems summarize data tailored to who will be using it and what information they need.
When BI is integrated with ERP systems, all the required data is in one place ready for whoever needs what information when they need it. From basic reporting to predictive modeling and forecasting, to answering department or function-specific queries, like the status of manufacturing of a specific product, BI delivers what you need and eliminates sifting through irrelevant information.
Moreover, the speed with which this tailored information is generated allows for an agility the ERP alone cannot enable.
Evolution of Business Intelligence and ERP
The critical role that data and data analytics play in modern business will only continue to grow. Real-time insights are a must-have, not a nice-to-have part of doing business. And as ERP and BI continue to evolve, the two technologies will become even more positively co-dependant, enabling that data to work for you.
Finally, when BI and ERP systems are integrated, businesses don’t have to traverse disparate technologies to assess performance. All the necessary data is in one place, ready to be used for straightforward reporting, predictive modeling or to answer specific queries. ERP systems eliminate data silos between functions, while BI allows decision-makers to combine knowledge and join forces as they work toward common goals.
Crestwood Associates writes in more detail about BI in Best Practices to Get the Most Out of your BI Software.
At Crestwood Associates, we are software agnostic. Our experienced consultants have been advising clients in a range of industries for more than 20 years. Through over 5,000 ERP implementations all over the globe, we’ve learned how to help companies like yours avoid pitfalls and achieve success.
- We have a strong and deep team to support the complexity of an ERP implementation.
- We have experts in various avenues who can help solve problems on complex projects.
- We do not outsource any aspect of the project, saving time and money.
We advise key stakeholders on which technology solutions will have the greatest impact on your business goals by reviewing your system and processes. We then quantify the goals and map out a plan for action to achieve them. Contact us today for an ERP Discover and Advise Consultation Request.