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New BI Trend - Customize Your Own BI And Analytics

Tue, 04/24/2012 - 2:05pm
Dylan Persaud, Managing Director, Eval-Source

BI on the fly can actually drive efficiencies and increase overall effectiveness of the organization, which will lead to better bottom line results.

Upon much research in re-educating ourselves with most of the major ERP enterprise software vendors one thing became clear. Enterprise software vendors have made tremendous strides in unleashing their legacy data contained within their software packages. Whether it’s ERP, social, CRM, or any of the other related software, they struggled in reporting to aggregate data and customizing reports for individual purposes.

When creating reports from an ERP, it was often a chore that involved coding and heavy customization to change reports and make new reports for different purposes. Older systems used to integrate with Crystal reporting and other reporting engines. This required coding, integration, testing and an entire project plan just for changing a report. A lot has changed. New SOA architectures open APIs and noncoding options now exist for integrations. Now creating reports is a lot easier to do and can be done by ordinary end-users.

Since each department uses data from their ERP system for their own needs they often have to aggregate their own data, create their KPIs, and interpret their own data (which only makes sense to people within the department). It is this need to customize departmental business intelligence (BI) that has spawned an interesting concept in BI. For customers that have Agresso – Unit 4, now they have departmentalized BI solutions that act as plug-ins to the main ERP SOA. Many of the preset departmentalized functions such as Sales, CRM, HR, Supply Chain, Manufacturing and other departments require specialized information for reporting.  Executives that require real-time information can use their own data to foster decision support.

These add-ons have been preconfigured with templates, best practices, and easy-to-use formats to create individualized departmental reports. This convenience has greatly eased adoption and accelerated system adoption for an easier to use ERP system. This functionality enables employees to create individualized reports. This concept of “BI on the fly” to create your own reports when needed has caught on. Many other BI types of software have started to capitalize on this concept by providing a reporting platform for companies to do their own BI as needed. We see this as being platform customization for reporting as new BI software allows for this and integrations have all become significantly easier to not one ERP, but many types of enterprise software through graphic and open APIs. Creating your own real-time BI has enabled employees to contribute and make their business case with instant supporting data, rather than waiting several weeks for IT to get it to you to put in your presentation. Instant information that is easily dissectible by individuals can enable managers to act upon information and make the corresponding changes to either business processes or what adjustments need to be made to maximize efficiencies within the department.

If each department within an organization can self-diagnose its own flaws and inefficiencies, the overall company will succeed. Each unit will adjust to getting better at what they do, as they understand within the department what information they need and what information they understand to do their job better.

BI on the fly can actually drive efficiencies and increase overall effectiveness of the organization, which will lead to better bottom line results. The right data to make the right decision is vital as organizations can also reduce missteps in planning, reducing costs, forecasting, and the range of other business functions that are present across the rest of the organization. We predict that most other BI and enterprise performance management (EPM) will take this approach to further customize their solutions to offer this kind of convenience. In the case of Agresso, a new SaaS pricing model is emerging by offering BI as SaaS by function or department. The new BI/EPM will be data, system, and process agnostic, and it may provide workflows to automate these processes and simplify reporting creation with triggers, alerts, and automation by having the data available. In large part, most ERP systems now use their SOA to accomplish this. However, BI as middleware is emerging as a new enterprise software trend.

Eval-Source is a consulting firm that provides enterprise software selection and strategic technology consulting services for organizations. Our consulting practices encompass cloud and on-premise software evaluation services, ERP, Supply Chain strategy, social media, and technology consulting. Check out www.eval-source.com to learn more.

 

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