Business intelligence blog

    BI vs ERP. Six reasons you should implement business intelligence first


    For many IT professionals, the thought of changing or updating an ERP system is unbearable. Aside from the selection process, which itself can take many months, the implementation project can run from a couple of months to a couple of years. During this period, existing IT infrastructure is generally put in a holding pattern and all new projects are frozen. So, how can business intelligence help?

    A quick search of the Internet unveils many ERP implementation disasters and it is not hard to believe that most ERP implementations overrun their budget in terms of time and money. Many professionals who have worked in a medium to large company may relate to the feeling of everything in the company revolving around the implementation, rather than around the business itself.

    With many companies focusing on new ERP systems, the value of Business Intelligence (BI) may be overlooked. BI not only provides actionable intelligence, it also saves time and money as a part of the ERP implementation process. If you are thinking about upgrading to a new ERP system, here are some of the key reasons why you should first look at implementing business intelligence:

    1. Unpredictable timeframe expectations for ERP projects 

    As indicated above, ERP upgrades or implementations are simply unpredictable. You may think an ERP project will be quick and simple, but in reality, they usually are not. If you do not have a business intelligence solution in place, business continuity can be put at risk as you move between different ERPs. Instead of operating with sub-par systems or with access to just one ERP during this time, you can introduce effective systems such as Phocas BI which do not require changes to your business processes and can be up and running within days.

    2. Retain easy access to your data during the ERP transition and minimize disruption

    If you have an end user analytics tool such as Phocas in place, when you switch over to your new ERP, the transition will be seamless from the perspective of management and the sales team. All of your historical sales, inventory and financial data will be easily accessible at all times. When the cutover to the new ERP happens, you simply re-point to collect data from the new ERP and generally within a day it is all done.

    Most people using Phocas will see the exact same thing (interface) despite there being a completely different ERP on the backend.

    3. Save on expensive consultancy fees 

    When transitioning from one ERP to another, there can be many hidden costs. You may need to dedicate thousands of dollars to hiring expensive consultants to create reports and setup the new ERP tool.  The money may need to be taken from shrinking IT, IS or technology budgets. In addition, you may need to customize your new ERP to enable these reports to be produced. With BI such as Phocas, you can quickly and cost effectively view the same information whether you are using Infor, SAP, JDE, MYOB Exo, Dynamics (NAV or AX), Pronto, or SAP Business One. BI makes the transition between ERPs far less painful.

    4. Cleaner business data

    Your ERP likely contains data that was created from when your company started trading. How much of this data is relevant to your decision-making now? Perhaps you would be better served with access only to the data you need to make informed decisions? By implementing Phocas BI, you can reduce the clutter and see the critical business data you need to make more strategic and informed decisions.

    Phocas also helps you clean your data by identifying uncategorized products. If one of your products is not categorized, Phocas will alert you through hashtags. This makes it easier to identify and clean your business data. 

    5. Save on training costs

    Most new ERP systems require training across the business. Instead of training staff members on how to use your new ERP, which can often be more complex than an easy to use BI tool, you can save time and money by implementing business intelligence before the switchover. BI such as Phocas often requires very limited training before executives and non-technical people can use it. Consider the time savings and opportunity costs of reducing the need for executives and managers to sit through training sessions.

    6. Is a new ERP really needed?

    Implementing a new business intelligence tool is much quicker and less expensive than implementing a new ERP system. Perhaps your BI system will unlock the information the executive team and your staff need to make more informed business decisions? By implementing a BI tool, you may also save on licensing costs as a BI tool such as Phocas is more cost effective than many ERP systems.

    Upgrading or replacing an ERP system is a major project that requires months of planning and potentially years for the implementation.

    For some businesses, the update is due as legacy solutions have forced IT teams to focus all of their time and attention on patches just to keep the system going. For others, the need to modernize their business processes and integrate new technology has raised executives’ concerns on whether their ERP is right for today.

    Data is at the heart of any ERP system. Having access to business critical information and the ability to review and analyze data anytime means better business decisions, a wider visibility into operations and improved performance. Implementing a BI platform can help alleviate some of the frustrations with the ERP system, by managing the data aggregation, integration and analysis roles. This can perhaps prolong the life of the current ERP system, and if the business proceeds with the ERP project, BI can assure business continuity, as well as provide structure to your data strategy and facilitate data migration.

    Before you tackle a major ERP upgrade or change, consider how BI can help your current business and facilitate the transition.

    To learn how Phocas can benefit your IT team, download the Phocas for IT white paper by clicking the button below.

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    Written by Phocas Software
    Successful Business Intelligence - Phocas Software
    Successful Business Intelligence - Phocas Software
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