Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems like Sage 100 are a great source of information for reporting and decision making. When you need more than the standard reports, choosing a business intelligence tool such as the Sage 100 Intelligence module, is the answer. Business intelligence tools are an effective means of analyzing and reporting on large quantities of data in a format that meets your business’ specific needs.
With an effective BI program, you can optimize processes, improve customer service, increase accuracy and identify new revenue opportunities. How you use BI is important for success. Here are ten tips that will help your business intelligence program get off the ground and flourish.
- Keep it simple. Ordinary reporting processes are too complex and time consuming for most business users. Your business intelligence system should be easy to use. A casual user should be able to start using the BI tool immediately without needing to rely on a specialist to create the reports. Using a platform, like Excel, that everyone already knows, helps keep it simple by reducing complexity.
- Integrate the data. Manual data collection and reporting open up the process for errors in the data. Error-free data is crucial to support reliable decisions. In order for data to be trustworthy and reliable it needs to be accessible by the reporting tool in the place that it resides. For example, enterprise resource planning data should stay in the ERP database, but be accessible by the business intelligence tool. Your BI solution should be able to pull information from different sources into a single report.
- Make it accessible. Don’t leave business intelligence reports and data in the hands of a single person. Instead, encourage ad-hoc reporting and allow end users to answer their own questions without needing IT assistance. Your BI tool should be easily accessible by all types of users from executives to business users to technical users.
- Make it timely. If it takes too long to get reports, the data may no longer be useful. With current data from your Sage 100 ERP you can be assured that users are working with current information. Put automated report or alerts distribution to decision makers in the format that they prefer.
- Think big, but start small. Many business intelligence projects fail because businesses try to do too much at once. Start by choosing a few reports that really matter and get some fast early successes.
- Solve a problem. Do not start a business intelligence project as a general purpose reporting tool. Instead identify a specific problem and use the BI reports to solve it. For example, work to improve the efficiencies of a process, eliminate a bottleneck, reduce the costs of doing business or find a new revenue source.
- Offer training. While business intelligence software shouldn’t need a full-time support staff, it can be useful to have a BI ambassador who can answer questions and provide training.
- Establish a process. Create an information governance process with rules pertaining to report creation, ownership, distribution and usage. Establish a process to share information and make decisions based on who is looking at the report and what they need whether that is analytics, dashboards and how they need it—mobile or desktop.
- Stay flexible. Your business intelligence tool should be flexible enough to support multiple file formats, personalized interfaces and many devices.
- Leverage what you have. The business intelligence application should integrate with your existing business software and desktop applications. By leveraging your enterprise resource planning system, like Sage 100, and a standard reporting solution like Excel, you won’t need to replace your current applications.
Leverage Your ERP with Sage 100 Intelligence
Sage Intelligence is a module in Sage 100 that extracts data from Sage 100 and delivers it in a Microsoft Excel format. With Sage 100 Intelligence Reporting you can use your existing Excel knowledge to easily write and edit reports that are customized for your business’ unique requirements. Contact ASI to learn more.