Business companies of all sizes receive huge amounts of data on a regular basis. The data sources can be divided into 2 groups:
- Internal – customer behavior, sales and marketing, financial report, KPIs, senior decision-making;
- External – social media, government sources, industry, and market, associations, etc;
Manually collecting information for all of these sources is long outdated and is replaced by ERP or Enterprise Resource Planning software. It is vital to combine external and internal data in order to make the best decision and maximize the effectiveness of business intelligence within your ERP software. Based on our experience, ERP is a universal business app that helps with managing all areas of your company like manufacturing, HR, CRM, finances, inventory, supply chain, and database.
ERP software development aggregates all kinds of internal and external data in one place. Then, the relevant data is analyzed within each of the applicable departments with no harmonized reports and flow. Business intelligence (BI) is embedded in custom ERP software development for the purpose of completely analyzing all of the data received from various sources and unifying the reporting for all company branches.
In this article, we will widen your knowledge about the real value of business intelligence in ERP software and you will learn how BI actually assists ERP in data analytics.
BI functionality in custom ERP software
While the ERP system development is responsible for collecting all the data from various sources, business intelligence is tasked with converting raw data into meaningful data with insights that impact the decision-making made by the company’s senior management.
Commonly, the BI functionality is built into ERP software development by default. However, basic functionality may not be enough for receiving, processing, and efficiently using copious amounts of information which, by the way, scales with the company.
Therefore, the current ERP solution requires implementing advanced business intelligence so as to not let vital information fall through the cracks. Business intelligence within ERP is capable of highlighting opportunities and providing insights on your business strategies from every piece of information collected by ERP software, despite the volume of information that is sent to your company every day.
Enterprise BI software converts raw data received from your departments, customers, or other sources into meaningful data that is clear and understandable, equipping your company with a data-driven strategy.
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Let`s discuss the list of business intelligence functions within your ERP.
Value of business intelligence in ERP solutions
Business data should be collected from available sources – external as well as internal. Business intelligence within ERP will surely have a revolutionary impact on all your company departments through business automation of their daily operations and elimination of the need to manually gather and analyze data. Let’s take a closer look at how exactly BI can change your internal processes managed by ERP.
BI for sales and marketing strategies
Controlling and analyzing sales data on a regular basis allows sales and marketing branches of your company to track the efficacy of current company strategies, if the monthly plans are executed, and show the opportunities of growing annual revenue considering the up-to-date market trends. Thanks to business intelligence, this information is analyzed automatically and can also be compared to previous months or years to track the progress and evaluate the results to understand what needs to be adjusted in the current strategies.
BI for inventory management
This option is of great value for manufacturers. As thanks to BI, you can easily track what products are in stock via QR or bar code scanning, track their locations, and also see the demand for certain products by filtering the products in stock and their details in the system.
BI for the financial department
Financial reports are neat and valuable helpers for finance and accounting people, but these reports are only possible when BI tools are applied to raw data inputs. BI that is built into ERP system development is capable of conducting a deep analysis of financial data, providing reports needed as per the chosen filters, and turning this data into dynamic information. Dynamic data shows insights into the distribution of your company finances and what actions can be taken to increase your business efficiency.
Business Intelligence for HR
The recruitment process is always challenging as recruiters and hiring managers always strive to find suitable and top-notch candidates to satisfy the demands of the company. The amount of information processed by the HR department is astounding – CVs, vacancy descriptions, current workers` information, entry and exit interviews, one-on-one conversations, and so on.
All this information can be visualized and structured with the help of business intelligence functionality within the custom enterprise BI software. It will light up the hiring process and also help analyze successful hirings and also what changes need to be done in order for the company culture and policy to attract more decent candidates.
Business intelligence cannot operate without ERP software as altogether these tools enhance the smarter decision-making within a business company.
Andy Morris, Principal Product Marketing Specialist in Oracle Netsuite
Benefits of ERP and BI integration
While ERP development is tasked with collecting data from various sources, business intelligence is responsible for efficient analysis and reporting. So what benefits does data analytics bring to your company’s overall productivity and how does it induce revenue growth – keep reading as we have covered the top benefits of using BI within Enterprise Resource Planning software down below.
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We can conduct an audit of your ERP solution to find out if all of your data sources are being used to the fullest
Challenges of integrating BI into ERP
Implementing business intelligence within ERP software is a challenging task that requires that certain conditions be met. All departments and all their processes should be harmonized meaning KPIs, reports, operation flows, etc. Without unity, business intelligence will be impossible or useless in terms of the company’s productivity.
Integrating BI into custom Enterprise Resource Planning software is a process that requires consistency and considering all external and internal data sources to show the overall picture.
The absence of a precise understanding of what BI provides
Before implementing business intelligence into your business software app, it is crucial to see the overall strategy of how BI will boost the productivity of your company, how much it will cost, and if this cost is worth the benefits that BI is bringing to your business. The company’s senior management should set clear and identifiable goals and issues that BI implementation is meant to resolve. These aims also help further define additional tools and technologies that will also need to be implemented within your ERP, in the future.
Proper BI strategizing should cover all the bases in terms of what internal processes and operations are going to be changed and how. Harmonized KPIs, reporting, feedback from users – all these points are vital to consider in the strategy. Additionally, properly training the staff isn’t any less important than hitting the above-mentioned points. Your team should be aware of all coming updates and should know what their new duties and responsibilities are.
Customization of the BI-powered ERP solution
Lack of customization according to your business needs is one of the most common pitfalls in implementing business intelligence tools into company workflows. If you choose the available “off-the-shelf” market solutions, this challenge is regrettably all but inevitable.
The gaps in customization lead to poor usability and ultimately undermine the profitability of your business. Also, the ready-made solution vendor may not offer technical support, which means that providing “quick fixes” to your ERP solution isn’t possible.
Custom ERP system development with BI functionality is a perfect solution where the software system fully matches your needs, considers your workflows and requirements, and can be upgraded any time when there is a need.
Examples of how to business intelligence in ERP
Businesses that integrate BI into their ERP software can expect to feel the benefits right away. The companies feel the need for changes but do not know what changes are needed or where to begin. Each industry has different characteristics and needs business intelligence to be integrated into its internal software systems for slightly different reasons.
We have compiled the real use cases (examples) of where BI transformation came in handy, as well as the industry of application.
BI transformation in a retail company (Baylis & Harding)
Retail companies deal with the distribution of particular ranges of products among numerous independent resellers. We all know that retail companies commonly struggle with high and low seasonal sales fluctuations that are mostly related to holidays. However, it’s not only the time of year that influences the sales activity of retail businesses.
Most retail businesses have a hard time tracking and pinpointing the dependency and causality of their sales and operation activity on their own. This is why they resort to building an automated in-house consultant called business intelligence tools and ERP software. This helps them better see the overall picture of things like their sales, financials, and customer data.
BI analyzes all these data sources and reports on their efficiency so that the information can be acted on. Company workers have free access to these reports, which they use to track sales performance, balance the books, create KPI dashboards accessible to all company departments to share in the common goals and actions.
BI transformation for an online clothing store (Stitch Fix)
Online shopping remains partly unpredictable for vendors and shoppers alike. Business intelligence is capable of changing this trend by transforming the services and approach of e-commerce clothing stores. The most common problems that fashion retailers face include frequent returns of items, a low percentage of regular customers, and difficulty gaining popularity on the local market.
With the implementation of BI, the company can track and analyze each order to have a better understanding of customer tastes, preferences for clothing types and styles, and provide them with a range and lineup of items. This approach will increase sales (revenue) and lower the number of goods being returned as the items will correspond to customer demand and expectations, and also will help with the choice of the product offering.
BI transformation for manufacturing (SKF)
Manufacturing and supplying companies with extended product varieties and wide geography have to be aware of the latest market trends and customer demands to adjust to their needs and maintain robust levels of sales. Most manufacturing businesses still manually gather and manage using tools such as Excel spreadsheets. And, of course, the probability of mistakes in the reports is extremely high and can have many kinds of different negative consequences for the company.
Integrating BI functionality harmonizes the reporting and data sourcing for these reports, providing the ability to create unified dashboards accessible to all company departments with real-time data updates. All data assets are gathered in one organized place that allows precise analysis of the current situation on the market and within the company and builds a clear plan for activities that will enhance sales and revenue growth.
BI transformation for online entertainment (Netflix)
Currently, Netflix is one of the best and most popular worldwide online entertainment providers with an audience of more than 148 million active users. Netflix has adopted business intelligence for the purpose of collecting data about the watched series and programs, analyzing this data, and providing users with suitable content up to their preferences, and simultaneously promoting their services and streamlining content.
BI transformation for social network (Twitter)
Twitter is well-known for its security system, which powerfully detects potentially dangerous or harmful content and deletes it from public display. This option is possible due to its well-integrated AI-based business intelligence capability. Specifically, built-in algorithms are 95% more productive than humans (like the censors they use in China because of cheap labor costs) at detecting inappropriate or malign content to delete it or send this information over to the authorities (in case of things like national security threats/concerns). Moreover, business intelligence is also effectively used for content recognition and structuring in order to suggest content to users who would be interested in it based on their previous search history.
Embed BI into your ERP development with Altamira
We have delivered numerous non-trivial custom business intelligence solutions, helping our clients transition to being predominantly data-driven businesses and enhancing business growth and development. Business intelligence is efficient if it is mindfully integrated into all internal software systems used within your workflows and we know how to unify all your business apps in an all-in-one solution. With 10+ years of relevant experience, we can confidently and safely say that our top-notch developers are capable of building custom business intelligence ERP software loaded with all of the required functions to manage:
- Customer relationships
- Employee performance (KPIs)
- Data collection and analytics
- Decision-making report generation
- Sales and marketing strategy optimization
Our team, recognized by our clients as a high-quality ERP development company, is also proficient in integrating AI into your custom ERP software, which helps analyze data from all thinkable internal, as well as external data sources that are applicable in your industry of operation.
We have built highly-functional BI tools for our clients in industries such as ERP for manufacturing, retail, aircraft, education, HR, you can learn about our successful projects by following this link. We can help facilitate your business’ digital transformation, transitioning your company to being a data-driven decision-maker that will make you the top goods or services provider for your customers.
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Let’s build a plan to integrate BI tools into your business software.