Wondering what Business Intelligence (BI) and ERP systems have in common and how they can help your company create value in today’s data-driven world?

Here’s the gist: BI and ERP can support the seamless operation of today’s highly complex business environment. However, with competition growing and business demands rising, ERP and BI are no longer mutually exclusive options. Businesses need them to work together for a more holistic, integrated approach to data analytics and business intelligence.

Product selection for optimal business intelligence and ERP data analytics starts with a business’s specific needs to understand, report and track data over time.

After all, no one tool is the universal best fit for every business need. But first, it’s important to distinguish the key roles Business Intelligence and ERP system plays in your company’s agile climb to success. 

What is ERP?

ERP Systems (Enterprise Resource Planning) manage your company’s business processes to increase its efficiency and overall profitability. These systems connect collaboration, quicker decision-making, and transparent data communication from the entire organization. In general, ERP systems can:

  • ERP is a key strategic business process management tool for tracking and improving core business processes, providing a single point of reference for all information.
  • ERP systems are designed to provide data, processes, and information in a timely, consistent and accurate manner and in real-time.
  • ERP systems collect and store information such as financial and accounting, human resources, customer relationship management, distribution, production, and supply chain management. ERP systems also provide the ability to analyze and report on the information they collect and store.
  • ERP systems integrate many different departmental computer systems and applications across the enterprise.
  • ERP systems can support the functions of a single department, multiple departments, an entire company, and an entire enterprise (intercompany) as well.

What is Business Intelligence?

Business Intelligence (BI) provides the means to manage, collect, and analyze a company’s information to make smarter, faster decisions, with automated and real-time access to data. BI is designed to help companies identify trends, determine issues and opportunities, and anticipate and predict business outcomes. In general, BI can:

  • Collect, organize, store and analyze your data using a variety of front-end tools such as dashboards, reports, scorecards, and analytics.
  • Provide instant access to information throughout the organization and also in real-time.
  • Provide accurate and timely information for optimal decision-making and allow you to make changes to your business practices and processes more quickly.
  • Pull extensive and detailed information from internal and external sources — and across multiple platforms.
  • Provide detailed reporting, dashboards, and visualizations that provide a complete picture of what is occurring in the company, as well as in individual departments, sales territories, and markets.

Business Intelligence vs ERP: Key Differences 

ERP systems manage processes, and BI analyzes information. ERP covers the “what” and BI covers the “why.”

ERP systems are focused on how your company does business, and BI systems focus on why your company does business. ERP systems can provide an overall, high-level view of what the company does, and BI systems can provide a deep, rich understanding of why that matters to your company.

With ERP systems, you can track what your company does, and you can improve how it does that, using data analytics. But you cannot develop new business strategies and new processes without an understanding of why it’s happening.

The Bottom Line: The Synergetic Relationship Between Business Intelligence and ERP Systems 

Data is driving business action and shaping it in new ways. If a company is to grow and succeed in today’s competitive business environment, it will need to develop insights from its data and to use that information to make timely, informed business decisions.

Put another way, Business Intelligence (BI) can help you determine why your company needs to do certain things, and ERP can help your company do those things better.

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