November 28, 2019 - By Bredet Services

Today’s ERP systems are gathering more and more information for you to process. This wealth of information is great to have, but how do you get access to it and analyze it? Traditionally you would have your ERP partner develop custom reports for your needs, this can be an expensive process. The tools exist today to empower yourself with being able to create your own analysis and reports using business intelligence tools. Microsoft Power BI and Microsoft Excel can both be used to get excellent results for both repeatable reports and ad hoc queries.

Business intelligence using Microsoft Power BI can give you stunning visuals with real-time access to your data from wherever you are. Trends and performance can be quickly spotted with real-time data and appropriate actions can be taken. Similar reporting can be provided using the business intelligence tools built into excel including power pivot and power query. Above you can see a sample from Power BI and below is one created with excel.

Both business intelligence tools will allow you to drill down to the underlying data. With excel you have the advantage of being able to work with that data in a pivot table if you want a more traditional view. Power BI provides the option to analyze data in excel which will allow you to use the data you brought into Power BI in excel to get the additional analyses tools.

With traditional reports if two managers want to see the data in different ways, you have the expense of multiple custom reports, by using business intelligence you can use the same data and quickly display it in the way you want to see it without custom development. A lot of people will start in Excel and leverage their existing knowledge before making the change over to Power BI. Step up to Power BI Pro if you want to make the move to some more advanced business intelligence functionality. To start with Power BI, you can use the free Power BI desktop version.

One of the most powerful features of using these business intelligence tools is being able to query data from multiple different databases. You can set relationships between the separate databases and bring them all into one dataset to analyze. Often multiple platforms are used to run everyday business operations this works to get the job done but provides many difficulties in reporting on the operations and getting the true picture of what the results are.

The top reasons to move towards business intelligence are to:

1. Increase Productivity – Users will spend less time running reports and looking at outdated data. Business intelligence will provide them real-time insights into the data they need to make decisions that can increase profitability

2. Improve Visibility – By combining all inputs into a single dataset your team will be able to see all factors that are affecting performance and be able to make changes before it’s too late.

3. Discover Trends and Opportunities – The visuals will make it easy to see changes in consumer behavior over time. Changes in product sales can be identified and reacted upon to drive business growth.

4. Save Time – By accessing real-time data you will be able to free up resources that are currently being used to run the reports and analyze the data in a manual process. These resources can now focus on tasks to grow the business and increase profitability.

5. Save Money – A study by Nucleus Research in 2014 found that for an investment in analytics tools resulted in an ROI of $13.01 for every dollar spent. This is up from $10.66 in 2011.


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