Santa delivers ERP dashboard

Glen Mund recently requested an ERP Dashboard for Christmas. It was at the top of his wish list,  ahead of the “Inception” DVD and a pair of “BOSE” noise reduction headphones. And it was on his list despite the fact that he actually has an ERP dashboard already.

You see, his current ERP dashboard is calculated manually and can only be created periodically. He and his staff spend a fair amount of time creating the current ERP dashboard and there is certain information presented that is historical and of little use to him when he gets it. He wants a  dashboard that will provide him with the information he needs when he needs it, so he can make decisions on a more timely basis.

Who would have thought that, to grant the wishes of many company owners and executives this Christmas, Santa should be delivering Business Intelligence (BI)?

A sound BI solution can provide a management dashboard that will:

  • Every morning, at a glance, give him a very good real-time idea of the health and well being of the company by displaying current metrics and key performance indicators (KPI’s) for an enterprise, consolidated to fit one screen.
  • Combine information from multiple sources, in his case from his ERP, CRM, Customer Satisfaction, and Time and Billing databases.
  • Present information in a graphical format, as bar graphs and pie charts with conditional formatting to highlight metrics – green will mean healthy; yellow will mean cautionary; and red will depict an area of concern.
  • contain critical information such as Cash flow, Sales, Receivables, Top Customer, Consultant and Sales Productivity, Customer Satisfaction, Lead Generation, Close Ratio.
  • Have drill down capability to look at the underlying data to certain metrics so corrective measures can be taken.
  • Be dynamic, real time and trusted because it is generated automatically from up-to-date data directly from the company’s databases, allowing him to see what has happened even in the last few minutes. 
  • Allow him to take a vacation with the confidence that he could check the dashboard from his hotel room via the Internet, and that others will be able to make the right decisions in his absence.
  • Provide him with more time to take Christmas vacations and ultimately peace of mind

The data has always been there, but BI puts it into an easily digestible format and gets the right information to the right people, when they need it. Effective BI solutions even deliver the data in pre-formatted Excel reports and dashboards that can be drilled down into for transactional details. With some manipulation, the dashboard can be customized to an organization or specific person in an organization, ultimately providing the user with exactly the information they require. Excel-based BI allows businesses to continue to use Excel as their preferred data sharing application but eliminates ‘spreadsheet chaos’. No more cutting and pasting repetitively, no more human error, no more doubt about data accuracy. Operational teams can easily customize, manipulate and distribute meaningful information in the familiar face of Excel, while maintaining its accuracy, obtaining insight into trends, year-on-year analyses and drill-down transactional details, all on demand and in a meaningful format. 

BI paves the way for true collaboration across a business so more people have access to information they need to make smart, strategic decisions, faster. Teams can collaborate more effectively, people are more productive, and decision-makers are more proactive.

Typically the barriers to adoption of BI are cost and complexity. An integrated BI solution makes deployment rapid without any IT hurdles, allowing for an immediate return on investment. Being a module of your existing ERP package, no new relationships or extensive IT investments are required. It can seamlessly draw trusted data directly from the database of your business management and ERP systems and deliver it automatically into the tool you are already compiling static reports in today, Microsoft Excel, making it very easy to adopt. You don’t have to be a programmer to get the data and you don’t need to be an accountant to interpret the data. A familiar Excel environment can utilize existing skills, making it simple to obtain, share and distribute information.

Integrated, Excel-based solutions make BI simple and affordable from the outset. BI solutions pwered by Alchemex, such as Sage Accpac Intelligence, Sage MAS Intelligence, Pastel Business Intelligence Centre and Sage Simply Accounting, ship with ready-to-use Excel report templates which provide immediate insight. And increased visibility into your business will improve operational efficiencies, streamline processes and ramp up productivity, giving you a rapid return on investment and helping you realize your strategic vision.

As we move into 2011 with a slowly recovering economy, companies will rely on their ERP systems to provide operational data. But BI will be the tool to provide instant visibility of trusted real-time information from across a business to enable insightful decision-making.

So Santa may be kept a little busier this Christmas than anticipated. Toys are not the only things on board his sleigh. BI, however, may just free up business owners and executives to have more time and money to include toys at the top of their lists at the end of 2011!