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Business Intelligence And ERP Systems

Business intelligence [BI] is the only way to extract full value from corporate data.
ERP systems manage business operations, collecting critical data such as who your customers are, what they buy, when they buy it and what kinds of problems you may be having. Yet ERP systems do not reveal most of this information to the business, and where the information is available, it is not configured and presented in a format that is readily usable to support day to day tactical decisions.

Predictive analytics converts ERP data into actionable information.


Integrated ERP BI vs Stand Alone

Most leading BI vendors such as Cognos, SPSS and SAS and more horizontal solution providers such as Teradata, Unica and Oracle have developed integration solutions into ERP systems as well a other line of business applications such as call center, marketing and revenue assurance.

ERP vendors may also bundle BI solutions into their enterprise packages at little additional cost, in an effort to shortcut a BI/ERP roadmap. Unfortunately the BI component generally falls short of best-of-breed BI solutions. Stand alone BI solutions better integrate with other applications to extract data from more sources.


SOA and BI

BI and predictive analytics leverage investments in service-oriented architecture [SOA]. SOA services are highly customizable. So if they are already being used to integrate your enterprise applications, they can also be customized to monitor the business activity flowing over those systems. Both Cognos 8 and Business Objects XI are built on SOA.
SOA initiatives often get isolated as small, localized deployments with little strategic visibility or scale. By exposing BI and ERP services through SOA, a more strategic business case can be made for further deployments.


Value of BI Integration To ERP

Data contained within ERP systems is generally only visible through labour intensive, canned departmental reports. For many of these reports, the information is only available to siloed groups of end users.

Releasing data through portal accessed dashboards makes the information visible to the entire enterprise, enabling different users to drill down and across data, for analysts to perform their own hoc analyses and reporting, typically reducing IT report building staff by 20 percent.

Viewing all tactical data held in an ERP system gets an enterprise out of reactive mode and supports the organisation further along the BI Maturity Cycle towards an insightful model where predictive analytics modules are used to identify customer satisfaction problems before they occur or as soon as they occur, thereby preventing churn. Other business users integrate BI capability in the value chain to improve and eliminate workflows.

Using BI to increase the benefits from ERP transforms your ERP system from a cost of doing business into a strategic asset. It also fosters tighter integration between your IT department and the rest of the company.

Next: Using BI For Decision Making in SMB's


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