ERP software is commonplace in many businesses today. No matter the size of your business, an ERP solution will unite every corner of your business into a streamlined, well-oiled machine.
But is it enough to really take your business from good to great? Probably not. Business Intelligence software however, can and will change your business for the better (and if you don’t yet know the difference between ERP and BI, check out my post here).
ERP solutions were created to deliver efficiencies to a business, and there is no doubt that they’ll continue to do that. While Gartner raves about the ability of ERP to bolster an organization’s performance, they’re swiftly coming round to a new breed of business software: Business Intelligence.
Almost every business has an ERP solution in place. But while everyone files their invoices and customer information through the likes of Sage, SAP and Infor – the really smart ones are taking things a step forwards and introducing BI. Together, BI and ERP are truly a match made in heaven.
Research by Aberdeen has ranked BI as number one as the technology to have the most impact in businesses over the next 5 years. So, here are 4 reasons why your ERP solution (and your company) needs BI software:
1. ERP software is not enough
Extracting reams and reams of data from your ERP solution is not enough anymore to effectively compete in a fast-paced, forward-thinking market. Sales is no longer about data, it is all about information, ease of access and smart decision-making. That is where more advanced technology has come into play of late with effective Business Intelligence solutions taking the weight off salespeople and marketers and doing all of the heavy lifting when it comes to data analysis.
The data that is currently trapped in your ERP or accounting package is so incredibly valuable, but only when it is presented in the right way. We can make more sense of data when it is presented in neat and tidy tables, graphs, charts and dashboards than we can if we’re faced with a basic ‘data dump’ as a spreadsheet with thousands of rows of data.
If I showed you a pretty little graph of monthly sales and asked you to tell me what was happening, I’d pretty much guarantee that you’d be able to tell me how the sales were trending. Are customers spending more in the summer? Do their sales drop off towards the end of the financial year or are they consistent, regular spenders?
Whereas if I gave you a spreadsheet of all your monthly sales, I reckon it’d take you a while to spot a trend. It’d come, but it’d take time, time that most salespeople or business owners simply don’t have. This is where BI software can step in and get rid of the daily rigmarole of analyzing lines of data.
2. Forward planning
With a BI solution in place, the ability for a business to forward plan and take past sales trends into account becomes easier. BI software will take your ERP data and trawl it for trends, patterns and feed this back to you in simple to interpret graphs, charts and dashboards.
With this information, any management team or purchasing manager can make plans to effectively determine the average sales, demand and volume sold of any one product at particular times in the year.
3. Smarter sales and marketing
How much is your ERP system really helping your sales team? Your marketing team? Other than knowing what’s been said, bought and delivered, I’d doubt if they relied on it to do their jobs, close deals and push out marketing campaigns.
Does your marketing team grumble about a lack of data? While your salespeople are moaning about a lack of leads? It’s a vicious cycle that BI software can put a stop to. BI can provide your sales and marketing teams with proactive, valuable lists of sales-ready accounts.
Say, for example, you wanted a list of your top 100 accounts in Florida that had bought pens but not paper from you in the last 30 days (easy link sell). While it would take even the best data analyst a while to produce this level of information, it is available in seconds using BI software. I bet you can’t do that in your ERP system.
4. No need for IT
The beauty of BI software is that they sit directly on top of your ERP and don’t demand a heavy involvement from your IT team. Most good BI solutions are as easy to use as a web browser and let you follow your natural chain of thought, there’s no right or wrong way to use them.
You’ll be doing your IT team a big favor. No longer will they have to spend hours pulling lengthy reports for your sales team, reports that are often out of date 24 hours after they’ve been generated. Your sales team will have instant access to up to date sales data with BI, while your IT team can concentrate on the more pressing tasks.
I could go on and on about reasons why ERP software is good, but not good enough to take your business to the levels of greatness you really want, let us show you BI software in its full glory. Get your free demo today.