ERP software stores a host of crucial business intelligence, but many business users don’t seem to know it’s there. They should.

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It’s easy to see why many SMEs think they’ve reached the end of a journey, when their new ERP system goes live.

After all, they’ve probably spent a year or more debating the issue:

  • Choosing the right author
  • Deciding on the system specifications
  • Finding the finance
  • Seeing the software installed and trialled.

ERP implementation is only the first step

By the time it’s Go-Live Day, the management team and everyone involved is probably looking forward to a quiet celebration.

However, this article has a neat way of describing what happens if management teams don’t then mine their software to extract and analyse their ERP intelligence.

It’s the difference between flying in the day and flying at night. Most visual landmarks disappear, so you rely on GPS to see if you’re on course.

It cites crucial ERP metrics which must be monitored daily from a customer perspective.

  1. The total value of your invoices
  2. Your updated late order position, and
  3. The number of new customer orders

This warning is timely, given that many ERP users are still seemingly not using their system as a way to garner vital intelligence about their own business.

A warning which went unheeded

However, it’s something of a surprise that such advice is needed in 2013, given that the same issue was addressed by Aberdeen Group four years ago:

Now’s the time to use Business Intelligence (BI) tools to tap into that rich pool of data, sitting unexamined on your ERP system. The prize? Increased visibility into what actually makes your business tick.

Even management teams who realise that crucial business intelligence lies within their ERP though, don’t always know how much.

Curious about where BI is going? View the infographic.

Getting in touch with your company’s ‘inner secrets’ from your ERP system will require a ‘dashboard’ on a screen inside your business, of course.

Keep your eyes fixed firmly on the dash

The ideal ERP dashboard will:

  • Display mission-critical information needed on a real-time basis to run the business.
  • Provide interactive user selections to manage time frames and risk assessments.
  • Enable drill down, or across, from the dashboard to better assist decision-making.

However, companies who haven’t yet begun to assess how they can access business metrics from their ERP systems really do need to move quickly.

Not least because in the last year we have seen a dramatic increase in the integration of ERP into mobile BI solutions. Once managers get a taste of ERP-powered business intelligence, they don’t just want it at their PC; they want it in their pocket!

The reason why is simple enough: for SMEs it uncovers previously hidden ‘real-world’ opportunities to transform their business performance. Maintaining competitive advantage, achieving growth and cutting costs is all possible once you can see ‘the truth’ about your business.

If you are worried about compliance in the manufacturing industry read ‘A guide to compliance issues for manufacturers: succeed against toughening demands.’

This post first appeared on the Sanderson blog.