In this age of data-driven decision making, deploying an analytics system for your ERP is a virtual no-brainer. As we all know, analytics opens the door to better decision making, leading to greater operational efficiency, lower costs, reduced risk, higher profitability and other important benefits. However, in order to reap the full benefits of analytics it is absolutely critical that to have the right analytics solution in place. And to choose the right solution one needs look beyond sales pitches and snazzy looking dashboards. There are a host of other important capabilities to consider such as the ability to easily integrate data from your ERP and other enterprise systems, speed and ease of transforming raw data into actionable intelligence, self-service BI flexibility etc.
With all this in mind, here’s a list of essential features you need to look for when evaluating potential solutions. This will help you look beneath the surface and get a clear picture of how much value the solution is able to provide. Here they are, in no particular order.
- Pre-built ERP Integration – The first step in the analytics process is creating/establishing connections to data sources. This is often a tedious and risky task that consumes a lot of time - sometimes even months of
manual coding. Going with a solution that comes pre-integrated will not only save all the manual effort,
but also ensure you are able to get started instantly in a much more efficient way.
- Automated ETL – ETL or the process of finding, cleansing, and organizing data is one of the most
critical, necessary processes for almost all analytics efforts. But the harsh reality is that it is incredibly
complicated and can consume up to 80 percent of the total analytics effort. An automated ETL engine
will save time and effort, and also eliminate the risk of human errors.
- Built-In Automated Data Warehouse/Support for Multiple Data Sources - The ability to bring together data from all business applications in use, be these CRM systems, shop floor systems and even
spreadsheets can transform the way you view and manage your operations. With this you’ll gain a 360 degree, truly integrated view of the business and unprecedented visibility and insights into how you can improve the business.
- Data Visualization –Data visualization/dashboards let you see your data in the form of charts and graphs, helping you understand and interact with data in a quick and easy manner. A tool that not only lets end
users quickly build their own dashboards but also offers the right level of interactivity can aid in better decision making.
- Automated Report Generation and Distribution – The great thing about automated reporting is that you can set your reports to run on specific schedules and have it sent regularly in emails to users within as well as outside the organization (employees, suppliers, distributors etc). This ensures proactive delivery of
information right to your user with no manual intervention whatsoever.
- End User Self-Service- More than create their own charts or dashboards, business users simply want
answers without having to go through IT. Providing this sort of self sufficiency also means that the
solution should provide instant access to a curated set of information and ensure data is always accurate
- Real-Time Analytics - Real-time analytics can be a game-changer as it lets users discover what’s
happening across the business at this very moment. Armed with this knowledge, they can proactively
identify issues and opportunities and take action.
- Pre-Built Dashboards- Everyone in the business benefits for pre-built dashboards – both business
and IT. While business users can have all the information they need at their fingertips for greater agility,
IT is sparred of the constant requests and backlogs.
- Analytics on Mobile - For business executives to do their jobs best, they need quick and easy access to
all their key data, no matter where they are. Whether it’s at a client meeting, at a conference or even at
the golf course.
- Data Driven Alerts – Alerts are a must-have as they give you the heads-up to potential issues and
opportunities, helping you take the right action at the right time. Imagine if you could be made aware of
a potential material shortage long before they impact delivery. Think of all the late deliveries lost sales
and cost overruns you can avoid.
- TV Dashboards – TV dashboards are a highly effective way to raise employee motivation and
productivity. With all relevant performance data displayed on a large screen, employees are likely to
get a better understanding of performance and what’s required of them.
- AI-Enabled Analytics – From more accurate sales forecasts to leaner, more profitable inventory levels to
significant cuts in unplanned downtime, AI can have a transformational impact on your business. By uncovering patters across complex data sets, AI can not only point to what’s happening at the moment
and why, but also predicts what’s likely to happen and what you should do about it.
- Speed and Ease of Implementation – Do you want to wait for month to begin using your new
BI solution? While BI implementations are typically long and complex, the time and effort is greatly
reduced when the solution is pre-built and just requires configuration, not development.
- Low Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) - There’s more to the cost of BI solution than the initial software
cost/per-user license cost. There’s hardware cost, consulting cost, implementation cost, programming
cost, maintenance cost etc. – which many vendors don’t disclose upfront. This invariably leads to unpleasant surprises and budgets going off track.
So there you have it, the essential features you should be looking for when evaluating an analytics solution. If you want a solution that offers all of these features, you may find it useful to evaluate Anvizent - our fully automated, end-to-end analytics solution.
Start your evaluation with a TEST DRIVE of Anvizent for 14 days in your environment, on your data - No Costs, No commitment.