How to transform BI, analytics into meaningful ROI

Read time 4min 50sec

Businesses need to know where to put their money if they want to succeed. Making informed decisions quickly and with a high degree of confidence boils down to having the right data and analysing it effectively.

Business intelligence (BI) reporting is a process that collects data from internal and external sources, making sense of it and presenting actionable inputs for key decision-makers.

To interpret these concepts in more detail, we chatted to our Chief Executive Officer, Ashley Regenass, and Salam Al-Mosawi, Senior EMEA Pre-Sales Manager for Sage Data Management and Analytics.

What is the difference between BI reporting and analytics, and how should it drive revenue?

Ashley Regenass

Continuing developments in both fields have made it necessary for businesses to distinguish between the two aspects. BI deals with the introduction of new tools to empower the business user, whereas analytics is progressing into providing appropriate actions based on the analysis of the data. Both need to coexist in the business to support insights and decision-making. It's no use to just have a reporting engine that spits out facts. It's about using the visualisations of charts, graphs, tables and discovering, interpreting and communicating information, insights and patterns of data.

A meaningful system needs to be self-serviced, visual and easy to decipher, set up and change. You don't want to find yourself in a situation where you have to speak to someone else for insights, and only receive feedback when the data will no longer be relevant to the business.

Managers primarily focus on maximising shareholder returns, but this mindset will not work in today's business. Managers must equally shift their focus to people, profit and the planet. An ERP system helps you to focus on all aspects of the business without making one more important than the other. So the key here is to remember that if you are taking this full view on return, you have to have a platform or tool that will show you more than just financial data.

How does Sage X3 make it easy to access the right information?

Ashley Regenass

Sage X3 is a role-based solution, you can put the right information in front of the right employee at the right time. The system gives an accurate representation of the business at each segment. However, this does not mean they are restricted. They can also see the bigger picture because all information is available to all authorised personnel. In the real world, having access to data outside your department allows a production manager to analyse sales data and see a peak in sales during a specific month - they can then cater for this in the future. Dynamic systems that are built like this allow insights to be drawn from anyone in the organisation.

How does democratising systems and data benefit business returns?

Salam Al-Mosawi

Companies need a competitive advantage, and understanding their data from a single source of truth enables a true view of performance and trends of all parts of a business with the ability to establish data-driven strategies. A single repository develops trust throughout a business to produce accurate analysis. Business users can now do more value-added work. If a company does not have a centralised data model, creating a cross-functional or departmental report will take too long to manifest and will make businesses more reactive than proactive in behaviour.

How does the Sage X3 system aggregate resources and data globally?

Salam Al-Mosawi

If you run a global business with multiple companies and sites in multiple geographies, Sage X3 provides a single-instance solution with a single database instead of drawing information from various systems. To drive greater visibility in your business, the Sage Data Management and Analytics (SDMA) tool is available as an add-on module. It removes all global synchronisation concerns that businesses go through by creating a single data model for all the sources a company is using.

SDMA will automatically build a data warehouse and cube for any data source on the market. Cubes are pre-built hierarchies in the system that give users quick access to information without inputting queries every time. Users can drill down cube configurations to build customised reports on the exact data they need in real-time. If you want to see how your business in China is performing financially, you can easily access the data, export it and send it to a team member in China to review it further. This integration means that you don't have to manually cross-reference data across global companies.

What outcomes and benefits do customers get from a BI reporting solution?

Salam Al-Mosawi

There is no technical expertise required to create new data modelling or reporting requests. The user experience in SDMA is intuitive and easy to use, allowing a basic user with no BI reporting experience to build a complex data warehouse and cube hundreds of analytics easily. There are online help centres and Webinars to go through if you struggle with anything. Don't forget, SynergERP is here to assist you with any aspect, be it technical or non-technical.

Take a closer look at how SDMA for Sage X3 works:

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SynergERPAmy van der Merwe
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