Does Your ERP System Provide Actionable Intelligence?

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Businesses rely heavily on Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems to streamline operations and manage resources effectively. ERP systems serve as a central hub, integrating the benefits of a unified business management platform with a unified database for information storage. However, the true value of an ERP system lies in its ability to provide actionable intelligence. 



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Understanding the Importance of Actionable Intelligence in ERP Systems

Actionable intelligence refers to the insights and information derived from data analysis that can be used to make informed decisions and drive business growth. Actionable ERP business intelligence takes raw data and transforms it into meaningful, relevant and timely information. It goes beyond mere data collection and reporting, providing your organization with the knowledge needed to identify trends, spot opportunities and address potential risks.

With the vast amounts of data generated by ERP systems, your organization needs to harness the power of actionable intelligence to stay competitive in today’s dynamic business landscape. Actionable intelligence enables your business to make data-driven decisions, optimize processes and seize new opportunities. By leveraging the insights derived from ERP BI (business intelligence), your organization can gain a competitive edge and drive innovation.

Putting ERP Business Intelligence to Work for You

Getting actionable intelligence from your ERP system is a critical success factor for manufacturing and distribution project teams. It’s been said many times that you cannot control that which you cannot measure.

In the manufacturing and distribution sector, keeping a pulse on operational metrics is of paramount importance. Without metrics, tracking results becomes anecdotal with little to no accountability.

Manufacturing and distribution operational metrics focus attention on the desired performance and provide feedback as to how well the desired results are being achieved.

man research erp business intelligence

Setting Metrics for Actionable Intelligence

In the work our independent ERP consultant team does in the field, we view setting manufacturing performance metrics as the process of collecting, analyzing and reporting information regarding the performance of an individual, group, organization, system or component.

Ultra’s team of independent ERP consultants explored this topic in a previous blog post looking at the importance of manufacturing performance metrics. As the post notes, to achieve effective performance management, the correct manufacturing performance metrics must be well defined, understood and routinely used. Most manufacturers enjoy access to accurate and timely data managed by their ERP system.

What’s key for overall business performance, however, is the ability for manufacturers to use consolidated data for powerful insight into context and trends.

ERP and Actionable Intelligence

ERP BI systems are designed to track functional areas of an enterprise, such as shipping, inventory, accounts receivable and more. True business value comes from business intelligence (BI) applications—the powerful, intuitive analysis tools that provide real-time, enterprise-wide insight for fact-based actions and intelligent decisions.

When an ERP solution integrates actionable intelligence, manufacturers benefit from deeper business insight.  Once business intelligence requirements are addressed, companies are better armed to improve business decision making about planning, forecasting, production scheduling, supply chain management and more.

ERP and Actionable Intelligence

Business Intelligence (BI) plays a crucial role in extracting actionable intelligence from ERP. BI refers to the technologies, tools and practices used to collect, integrate, analyze and present data to support decision-making. When integrated into an ERP system, BI enables your organization to transform raw data into valuable insights. To have business intelligence in ERP, data silos must be addressed, with data from different functional areas across the organization integrated into an enterprise data processing system.

Business Intelligence (BI) in ERP systems empowers your business to visualize data through interactive dashboards, reports and visualizations. This visualization enhances data comprehension and enables stakeholders to quickly identify patterns, trends and anomalies. With BI, your organization can gain a holistic view of operations, identify bottlenecks and make better decisions that drive business growth.

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Benefits of Enterprise Business Intelligence

1. Deeper Insights

By integrating Business Intelligence with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), your business gains a more comprehensive view of operations and accesses more profound insights into data and processes. BI and ERP software allow your organization to identify patterns, trends and anomalies that may not be apparent in raw data. These insights enable your business to make data-driven decisions and optimize operations for improved performance.

2. Improved Decision-Making

The advanced data analysis and visualization capabilities of BI tools enable your organization to make more informed decisions. By providing real-time access to data and key performance indicators (KPIs), ERP and BI systems help your business identify areas for cost reduction, revenue growth and process optimization. This enables leaders to make strategic decisions based on accurate and up-to-date information.

3. Better Forecasting

BI systems provide predictive and prescriptive analytics, allowing your organization to anticipate future trends and optimize operations accordingly. By leveraging historical data and market insights, your business can forecast demand, plan inventory levels and align resources more effectively. This leads to improved forecasting accuracy and better decision-making.

4. Customizable Dashboards

BI systems offer customizable and interactive dashboards that provide real-time insights into your business’ operations. These dashboards allow users to track KPIs, monitor performance metrics and identify issues or opportunities that require attention. Customizable dashboards empower your organization to visualize data in a way that is relevant to your specific needs, enabling better monitoring and control of business processes.

5. Real-Time Data Transfer

Integrating BI with Enterprise Resource Planning systems enables real-time data transfer, ensuring that the data used for analysis is always up-to-date. This real-time data access allows your business to respond quickly to changes in the market, identify emerging trends and make timely decisions. Real-time data transfer also enhances collaboration and coordination across different departments, fostering agility and responsiveness in the organization.

6. Enhanced Reporting

BI tools enhance reporting capabilities by allowing your organization to incorporate larger datasets for deeper analysis. With BI, your business can generate comprehensive reports that provide a more detailed and accurate view of operations. These reports help stakeholders across your organization gain insights into performance metrics, identify areas for improvement and track progress towards strategic goals.

7. Efficiency and Cost Savings

By integrating BI within ERP, your organization can consolidate, organize and analyze large datasets from multiple sources in real time. This added speed removes a significant barrier that has traditionally hampered business agility. BI systems enable your business to identify inefficiencies, optimize processes and reduce costs, leading to improved operational efficiency and cost savings.

The integration of ERP Business Intelligence systems offers your organization a holistic view of operations, empowering you to make better decisions, optimize processes and drive business growth. By leveraging the benefits of Business Intelligence ERP systems, your business can unlock the full potential of data and gain a competitive edge in today’s data-driven landscape.

Integration of Business Intelligence and ERP

Data Integration

One of the key aspects of integrating BI with ERP is data integration. BI software can be integrated with Enterprise Resource Planning systems to allow for real-time data transfer, ensuring that the data used for analysis is always up-to-date. This real-time integration enables your organization to make informed decisions based on the latest information, leading to better business outcomes.


The integration of BI and ERP systems enables your business to generate custom reports that pull data directly from the ERP system. This integration allows you to create reports that provide a more detailed and accurate view of operations. Custom reports can be tailored to meet the specific reporting needs of different stakeholders, enabling better decision-making and performance monitoring.

Data Analysis

The integration between BI and ERP systems enhances data analysis within your organization. BI software can analyze data from ERP software to identify trends, patterns and insights. By leveraging advanced analytics capabilities, your organization can gain a deeper understanding of business processes and performance metrics. Data analysis provided by BI software helps you to optimize your business’ operations, identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions.

Dashboard Creation

BI software facilitates the creation of interactive dashboards that pull data from ERP. These dashboards provide a real-time view of business operations and enable stakeholders to monitor key performance indicators and track progress towards strategic goals. Interactive dashboards empower your organization to identify issues or opportunities quickly and take appropriate actions.


BI tools can be used to create forecasts based on data from ERP solutions. By leveraging historical data and market insights, your organization can forecast demand, plan inventory levels and make informed decisions. Accurate forecasting enables your business to optimize resources, minimize risks and capitalize on market opportunities.

The integration of Business Intelligence and ERP systems enables your organization to harness the power of data insights for better decision-making, process optimization and business growth. By combining the transactional and operational data captured by ERP software with the analytical capabilities of BI software, your organization can unlock actionable insights and gain a competitive advantage.

business intelligence in erp

Integrating Business Intelligence into Core Business Processes in ERP Systems

To maximize the benefits of business intelligence in ERP software, integrate it into your core business processes. By embedding BI into every level of your organization, from operational to strategic, you can foster a data-driven culture and ensure that decision-making is based on actionable intelligence.

For example, your organization can integrate ERP BI into sales processes to track sales performance, identify top-performing products and analyze customer behavior. This enables sales teams to optimize strategies, target the right customer segments and drive revenue growth.

Similarly, integrating ERP BI into supply chain and inventory management processes allows your organization to monitor inventory levels, identify demand patterns and optimize procurement strategies. This ensures that you maintain optimal inventory levels, minimize stockouts and reduce carrying costs.

By integrating BI into core business processes, your organization can unlock the full potential of ERP software. This integration enables stakeholders to access actionable intelligence seamlessly, empowering them to make data-driven decisions that enhance operational efficiency, customer satisfaction and overall business performance.


In today’s data-driven world, integrating Business Intelligence with ERP is essential for organizations seeking to optimize operations and drive growth. By combining the streamlined processes of ERP systems with the insights derived from Business Intelligence, your organization can make better decisions, identify opportunities and optimize their processes.

To fully leverage the power of business intelligence, your organization should select ERP systems with built-in Business Intelligence capabilities. This ensures a seamless user experience, eliminates the need for additional tools and provides industry-specific analytics. By maximizing the value of ERP software with actionable intelligence, your organization can gain a competitive edge, make better-informed decisions and drive business growth in today’s fast-paced and data-driven business environment. The future of business intelligence in ERP will continue to evolve, and business data and analytics will have a bigger role in shaping your business strategy, helping you to make faster and more informed decisions.

Ultra Consultants is a leading BI and ERP consulting company. We help organizations of all sizes to integrate ERP and BI systems to unlock the full potential of data. With our team of experienced consultants, we can help you to select and implement an ERP solution that is tailored to your specific needs and requirements. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you to get actionable intelligence from your ERP system.

Vendor QA

We asked specialists from Infor to weigh in on the importance of gaining actionable operational intelligence.  The comments provide information about Infor’s Birst enterprise business intelligence and analytics platform. See their answers below.

What are some of the top challenges manufacturers face today in relation to data?

  • Nick Castellina, Infor Director of Industry and Solution Strategy
Today’s manufacturers are faced with several challenges when it comes to managing and utilizing data. Many of these challenges stem from having multiple, legacy systems that are disconnected from each other. This leads to old, inaccurate, untimely data that requires inefficient, manual consolidation leading to poor decision-making.
A lack of modern tools hinders businesses from interacting with data for decision-making.
Additionally, the sheer amount of data available to businesses makes it difficult to find and consume relevant data. Lastly, a lack of modern tools hinders businesses from interacting with data for decision-making.

Who in the organization is typically responsible for operational intelligence?

  • Azmat Tanauli, Infor Senior Director of Product Strategy:

Operational intelligence – that can be put into action — is key to running a streamlined and efficient manufacturing organization. 

Depending on how the organization is structured, this could be a centralized role, managed by a business intelligence and reporting manager in the IT department, or it could be a de-centralized role, managed by a business analyst in a departmental role within a manufacturing organization.  No matter who in the organization is responsible for providing operational intelligence, the Birst BI platform, enables both business and IT to provide this intelligence easily and in a trusted manner, that enables business success.

How can a manufacturer get started with supporting employee decision-making?

  • Azmat Tanauli, Infor Senior Director of Product Strategy:
The best way to get started is by looking at your current manufacturing operations and identifying metrics that will help measure the success of these operations.  In terms of functionality from Infor, Birst provides a valued based design methodology to help organizations identify key metrics. 
Look at current manufacturing operations and identify metrics that will help measure the success of these operations.
Once these metrics are identified, the next steps are to follow the data and isolate all the data sources needed to accurately report on these metrics and to provide them in smart analytic Birst dashboards, as well as embed them in the ERP applications used by employees, to enable employees to make decisions at the place and the right time in the manufacturing operations.

How have Infor systems evolved to accommodate today’s challenges to drive better decisions through data?

  • Nick Castellina, Infor Director of Industry and Solution Strategy:

ERP is the foundation of your organization’s data. It is a repository that analytics can be applied to when supporting enhanced decision-making.

Infor provides user-friendly, self-service analytics that enable end users to easily find and consume data that is relevant to their jobs. We provide industry specific KPIs and dashboards that help our customers determine relevant performance metrics for their industry, and then manage to those metrics. We also provide tools that enable manufacturers to easily connect multiple data sources into one place where analytics can be applied on the fly.

Learn More about Actionable Intelligence

Looking  for actionable intelligence? Our broad team of industry experts at Ultra Consultants is your best source for additional information. Contact us for the next steps in getting the BI capabilities and predictive analytics of Actionable Intelligence you need in your company.

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