The Oakley ERP Blog

Getting to grips with Business Intelligence
Wednesday April 16, 2014

You’ve got to spend money to make money. That’s what they say, isn’t it? It’s all well and good having a great business plan and a model which works, but quite often if you don’t have the investment to advertise, or the money to grow it can all come to a bit of a standstill. It’s so important that when you spend money you spend it in the right areas, therefore getting the most from every penny. It’s just good business sense, but knowing where to start is easier said than done.

What is Business Intelligence?

You’ve almost certainly heard of Sage before, even if you’re not very familiar with it, or if you’ve only used their small business solutions in the past. Sage are a lot more than just accounting software though, and have a wide range of products designed to make modern businesses run more smoothly. If you’re looking into Sage 200 demos it’s likely to be because you’re interested in a high quality product and you’ve realised the value of the platform.

With a performance improvement of 1.6 times on average for employees, each individual becomes much more valuable, and your work capacity on a day to day basis can improve massively almost immediately – without you needing to recruit and hire more staff. The cost of this sort of solution is far lower than you’d think, and with the impact it has on productivity, it can soon become invaluable.

It sounds good, doesn’t it? But what exactly is Business Intelligence, and more importantly, how do you get it?

Business Intelligence (often shortened to BI), is a module you receive with Sage mid-market solutions. In essence, it’s there to help analyse your company’s raw data, meaning that reports can be produced much more quickly and easily, cutting out man hours and enabling your existing staff to spend time using rather than producing that information.

As you’ll see from a Sage 200 demo, BI allows you to gain a better insight into your business through analytic tools on your desktop. Any anomalies can be recognised instantly, and then by using contextual information you can identify just what happened. You don’t even need to understand any level of technical terminology to get to grips with your business’s key data. See it for yourself with a Sage 200 demo if you’re not convinced!

Business Intelligence is so worthwhile to companies that it’s far more than the sum of its parts. This software allows your managerial teams to make strategic decisions, as well as making the impact of operations more clear on a basic level. It something which can be used throughout your company, from director level down through to the sales team who will be able to use the information to help improve their process.

As the process of producing reports is so quick, you can be sure the information is current and you will be able to act on live data, rather than always working a few days behind the curve.

Seven steps to rolling out BI systems:

  1. Make sure your data is clean.
  2. Train users effectively.
  3. Deploy quickly, then adjust as you go. Don’t spend a huge amount of time up front developing the “perfect” reports because needs will evolve as the business evolves. Deliver reports that provide the most value quickly, and then tweak them.
  4. Take an integrated approach to building your data warehouse from the beginning. Make sure you’re not locking yourself into an unworkable data strategy further down the road.
  5. Define ROI clearly before you start. Outline the specific benefits you expect to achieve, then do a reality check every quarter or six months.
  6. Focus on business objectives.

Don’t buy business intelligence software because you think you need it. Deploy BI with the idea that there are numbers out there that you need to find, and know roughly where they might be.

If you’re still not sure whether Sage BI will help your company, arrange a Sage 200 Demo through your local Business Partner to see it for yourself.

Written by David Weaver at 00:00