Corporate Culture | Dashboards and Data Viz | iDashboards Products | Tips & Tricks

Behind many businesses of all sizes today sits the integrated structure for process management known as the centralized ERP system. Although manufacturing is one of the major industries found to implement ERP, it is certainly versatile to meet the needs of many others as well. As a digital shared database, an ERP holds immense value as it streamlines information from across all necessary functions that are unique to each organization’s success.

However, with the undoubtedly vast amount of data being entered into a system that’s continuously working to retain and store these records, your ERP needs a stepping-stone to capitalize on its value. In order to deliver insight, simplify data analysis, and present visual clarity for improved decision-making:

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) needs the support of Business intelligence (BI)

According to Aberdeen Group, ERP software that provides accurate, real-time information about daily operations help companies reduce operational costs by 23% and administration costs by 22%.

We’ve outlined 4 important reasons for why your business needs both:

1. Improve data accessibility and usability

Image of Employees Looking at Wall Display Dashboard

Your ERP does its job to consolidate and capture every piece of information – from accounting and finances, inventory management, to human resources, operations and production, customer relationship management, and more. In its entirety, the purpose for doing so is to extract what this means for your business; to uncover the stories that live in your data.

Business intelligence makes this possible in a much more achievable manner. It takes the data currently stored in your ERP and makes it comprehensible to the human eye. BI brings crucial data to the forefront so it becomes more readily accessible for at-a-glance analysis and decisions.

As humans, our information processing systems work in a way that is individually unique to us. That being said, BI solutions are built to improve user capability and make it easier for everyone to digest the data, faster. This will not only motivate individuals to feel effective by their skillsets and the impact of their actions at large, but also equip your organization to have a deeper understanding of performance when multiple perspectives can access the same information.

2. Make KPIs visible and actionable with dynamic, real-time dashboards

iDashboards Dashboard Example of Production KPIs

With access and usability comes action. In order to bridge the gap between available data and impactful organizational change, actionable items must be identified.

What drives these actionable items? Defining each critical component of your business through specific KPIs and metrics that you find most representative of success allows your organization to ignite introspective discussion and take action. Your metrics must be significant both to what they directly measure and the overarching objectives of the organization as a whole.

Up until this point, every piece of data has underlined the goals, the success, and even the necessary pivots for upholding what your organization stands for. Through powerful visualizations that graphically display this data in its most representative format, BI dashboards provide clarity and context to what’s existed all along. Now, it’s about bringing them to light, and optimizing them so you stay aware and agile. This level of operational intelligence leads to:

  • Improving responsiveness with graphs/charts that automate in real-time
  • Staying connected to all the moving parts of your organization
  • Standardizing reporting and ensuring greater reliability with metrics that are consistent, streamlined, and up-to-date
  • Accountability and never missing a beat with real-time alerts

3. Deliver faster and more informed decisions

Employees Discussing Around Table with Dashboard KPIs on Screen

Across all businesses, regardless of size, industry or structure, decisions are only so effective if they are not made off accurate, transparent, and relevant data. Through the implementation of a BI integrated ERP system, dashboards illuminate what matters most so decisions that have been backed by data are delivered more timely and complete.

A business intelligence solution will work harder, so you can work smarter. This means the back-end hours and resources spent formatting or pulling data from your ERP each time you need to report will be mitigated and reallocated. BI is built to proactively structure your data from the get-go so it remains useful long-term and ready at the moment it’s needed.

Saving time up front will instead allow your team to devote efforts towards fully uncovering the roots of your data sources and the insights they hold. Through complex tools like drilldowns and Interactive Intelligence, you can discover at a deeper level the datapoints that influence your main KPIs and the ways these metrics correlate with one another.

4. Increase preparedness with what-if analytics

Employees Preparing and Conducting Analysis with Dashboards

While informative, the descriptive analytics capability of ERP systems limits businesses to understand only what has happened through the analysis of historical data. Effective reporting does still need the context of past events to serve as guiding resources, but BI provides the additional framework to perform what-if analytics that link this data to better understand possibilities of future metric performance. What-if analytics can:

  • Prepare operations for scenario outcomes based on variable changes (1 or multiple layers at a time)
  • Mitigate risks before they become reality
  • Strengthen your business plan by analyzing potential results of different strategic decisions.

Visualization and dashboards add a significant layer by breaking down data through comprehensible representations so you can look for growth opportunities and manage anticipated challenges that may arise.

It’s imperative for organizations today to be able to get back to what matters. With the combined benefits of ERP and BI, you can leave time for everything else and empower a data-driven culture that is sustainable and scalable. iDashboards is here to support your team in being successful.

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Adam Holden Business Development Representative

Adam Holden is on the new business team at iDashboards.

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