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Whether your business runs on multiple stand-alone applications, a tailored software suite, or a complete Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system that combines all functions into a single platform, the key question remains to be – how can I extract value from my data?

An ERP system is the backbone of many small and large businesses today. It helps integrate and manage finance, sales and marketing, inventory, production, logistics, human resource and other departmental functions, with some providing add-on features such as analysis services, forecasting and even scenario planning. The primary reason for implementing an ERP system is usually to replace legacy systems.

When business executives are not getting timely insights for them to make business decisions, some are quick to jump to the conclusion that their ERP system has failed and an upgrade is required. From our experience, this may not always be the right move. Implementing a new ERP system can be complex, time-consuming and costly. More importantly, post-implementation, it may still not resolve the pain points that spurred the replacement in the first place. As a result, business executives would conclude that the ERP implementation was a bad investment decision.

In recent years, there is increasing popularity for business intelligence (BI) solutions and this may be the answer to resolve this pain point. A BI solution ingests data points from various systems and churns out timely insights of your business to help you conduct meaningful analysis. A BI solution complements existing ERP systems in various ways:

  • BI solution provides high actionable insights of the business.
  • ERP collects the data companies need, whereas BI solution summarizes the collected data and makes sense out of it.
  • BI solution is embedded with an automated data cleaning feature, which significantly cuts down the manual data sanitization process and promotes organizational efficiency.
  • BI solution enables quicker data-driven decisions by real-time or near real-time analysis.

The difference between BI solution and ERP system

We can define both in this way: BI solution is the analytical brain, whereas ERP systems contain rich data points to enable the effective implementation of BI solutions.  ERP systems enable your company to perform essential tasks including data input, workflow automation, a centralized database of information and business processes. A BI solution incorporates the extract, transform and load (ETL) technique, data wrangling and exploration and finally, data visualization capabilities. This integration provides broad insights into the business that will facilitate better decision-making.

ERP and BI are two entirely different systems, yet both play essential roles in helping to streamline the organization’s business processes and churn out meaningful analytics. Choosing the right ERP software and BI solution is the key to successful digital and data transformations for your company.