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BI Program IT Mistake 2 - Using ERP for BI

Expecting to get a BI Solution from your standard application vendor is a major misconception of IT Managers, when facing sourcing a business intelligence solution.

BI capability can NOT be delivered by ERP systems.

IT has been battling integration issues for many years, leading to a widely established practice of sourcing the most significant enterprise applications such as ERP and SCM from a single application vendor. If ERP solution vendors thought they were experts in BI they would not have all gone out and acquired top of the line BI vendors.

  • SAP - Business Objects
  • Oracle - Hyperion
  • IBM - Cognos
  • Microsoft - Proclarity

Each ERP vendor has indicated that they will maintain a separate division for their BI acquisitions, and work at integrating the BI and ERP solutions to a deeper level than previously provided by standard API toolsets.

However, there are other considerations when approaching your standard ERP solution provider for a BI solution. In particular, the BI solution they have acquired may not be the best solution for your business. Accepting that the ERP vendor knows your business best short cuts the extensive due diligence normally required on new application providers and solutions. Your vendor selection process for the best BI solution should be approached in the same manner.


Business Solution

  1. Promote an understanding of BI functions not delivered by ERP systems by comparing the functions included in the enterprise application’s BI tools with tools offered by the leading vendors in the BI market.
  2. Avoid adopting the BI solution offered by your ERP vendor without question
  3. Undertake a standard vendor selection process including all short listed BI solutions
  4. Don't let short term gains proferred by IT cloud gaining the best BI solution for the business
  5. Understand that the business does not fully understand the performance issues around BI capability and accept the advice of IT as to the necessity to up the current enterprise infrastructure to support BI.


IT Solution

  1. Accept that BI is a business function, not an IT function. That means that the business owns the requirements for the BI solution, and these must stand ahead of IT requirements
  2. Understand the difference between Enterprise applications with BI capabilities and true BI solutions. ERP BI is generally hard-wired to the vendor’s proprietary data format which is unsuited for BI purposes and interfaces are commonly complex, making deployments limited to a few power users. ERP BI capability for other business users is limited to narrow range of canned reports providing inflexible views of business performance.
  3. Focus on providing access to data where query processing will not undermine performance of operational applications

NEXT: BI Program IT Mistake 3 - Thinking A BI Solution Is A One Time Project


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