What are you waiting for? Let’s make this BI thing work

William van Zweeden
16 Jun, 2022

Many businesses are changing their operational models and transforming their business processes. Often, they begin with an ERP transformation project as an opportunity to change how they work. However, fully deploying ERP infrastructures might take months, if not years, especially for global organisations. That should never stop you from beginning to invest in business intelligence. Start by defining your KPIs and collecting data to begin transforming your data into information that can be used to track your business performance.

Start with the end in mind

When businesses work with a (custom built) legacy landscape, many standalone systems, accompanied by extensive pivot tables in Excel or Access, problems arise. There is a point where they have too many data handoffs, master data issues, and information that is scattered throughout the organisation. The landscape is both complex and complicated, pleading to integrate everything into a single platform and apply application rationalisation.

Business process transformation is frequently associated with the implementation of a new ERP. An ERP transformation project of this scale takes a long time and involves a great deal of complexity. As a result, it’s important to begin with the end in mind: what are we aiming to achieve? Improve operational efficiency, customer intimacy, or product and service quality? Build your business case and KPIs around the objectives you wish to achieve with the ERP transformation program.

Define KPIs: understand your operations

Many businesses today overlook key critical business measures. And for any business, it’s not just about finance as a single dimension. Because daily operations, sales, and HR all have an impact on finance. To understand your most critical KPIs, you must first understand your company’s operating model and business intelligence requirements. Ultimately, you want to determine the KPIs that will help you maintain your market leadership in terms of service, product, and operational excellence.

What sources do you use to collect data?

However, working towards a single data platform should not prevent you from gathering data right away. Because, while you’re involved in this business process transformation, you must still manage the business and keep information relevant, ensuring that it supports the company’s transformation. As a result, it’s essential to start your BI early in an ERP transformation project rather than waiting until the end.

You probably already have a lot of data coming in from different platforms, whether it’s e-commerce, supply chain systems, or third parties. And you can still use it, even though you have your legacy systems. All of those systems should be used to create a business intelligence and analytics landscape, as well as to understand the impact of your transformation.

Why wait for your ERP to get BI going?

Don’t wait around: determine your KPIs, improve your business processes, help people use information more effectively in the business and measure the impact of the ERP transformation program. It is necessary to start those activities immediately to make this BI thing work.

Do you have a data-first strategy in mind but aren’t sure how to put that into practice?

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