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Business Intelligence Systems Software means you have access to better data and reporting, and better analysis can be done, better insights achieved, and more informed decisions made. BIS is an absolute necessity in this day and age to stay abreast, never mind ahead of the pack.

See why business intelligence and Insights is important plus a lot more… below.

Business Intelligence Insights

Business Intelligence Systems Provide Better Data For Forecasting

A business intelligence system offers an effective way of acquiring the data that you need for better forecasting.

The better your forecasting, the more efficient, productive, and cost-effective your business.

Changing business conditions, economic uncertainty, and shifts in supply and demand can make accurate forecasting more guesswork than science.

With business intelligence systems you can forecast with greater accuracy and precision and make more informed decisions

How Can Business Intelligence Solve Forecasting Issues e.g. in The Sales Arena?

Forecasting involves five big questions:

  1. Who are you selling to?
  2. What are you selling?
  3. How to get it (what you are selling) to people who need it in the easiest, most efficient, effective way?
  4. When will you close the sale and take the order?
  5. What can prevent you from selling?

Without a business intelligence system, your forecasting abilities will be hampered by missing, incomplete or incorrect data. The bigger the company grows, the more people are involved, the more difficult it becomes to keep tabs on data. You need accurate and comprehensive information at the right time to facilitate forecasting. Guessing provides unreliable forecasts.

Challenges of Traditional Forecasting Methods

Most companies have access to transactional data in some form or another. Often, it exists in spreadsheets or different files scattered throughout the company. The biggest challenge is integrating files from various sources – merging numerous files on different systems, eliminating duplicate entries, ensuring accuracy and integrity of the data. Without a central, trusted source, you could end up spending hours working with spreadsheets, trying to make the numbers add up – time that could be better spent on other more rewarding tasks.

Business intelligence systems automatically pull together data from various functions, branches, departments into a series of reports. The information obtained from your BI system is accurate, timely, and reflective of all activities tracked within your organization.

The information is usually displayed visually in the form of graphs and charts, either on a central dashboard or on relevant PCs. The graphic nature of the reports helps one recognise trends more easily.

Data on Tap

Forecasting tools in Business Intelligence Systems (BIS) can help you improve all aspects of your business – anticipate shifts in customer demand, improve stock control and inventory management, financial management, warehousing, distribution, sales, marketing – you name it.

Automated software systems make extrapolations and projections into the future much easier.

Accurate and immediate access to consistently correct information across the enterprise helps staff get answers to any questions and helps everyone do a better job.

  • Procurement can order the right amount of raw materials.
  • Production can gear up to produce the best estimate of what is needed.
  • Logistics can organise e.g. transport or imports and exports more efficiently.
  • Accounting and finance can better assess the company’s current financial state compared to anticipated revenue from future quarters.
  • Sales and marketing can use this data to target customers and industries more effectively by trying to sell more of what’s already selling well.
  • Merchandising can streamline processes.

Improve Forecasting and Make Better Business Decisions Using BIS

As we all know, a business intelligence system can’t do everything. But when it comes to improving your ability to forecast sales and demand, it’s one of the best steps to improve your business.

Definition Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence (BI) is described as the transformation of raw data into relevant and practical information for business purposes. BIS encompasses the processes and methods needed to analyse, display, and report business operations or activities.

The implementation of a Business Intelligence System can help executives and managers make better decisions with easy access to information.

Business Challenges That Can Be Solved With BIS:

  • Multiple data sources can be consolidated and/ or integrated with BIS
  • Multiple databases with duplications and/ or differences can be eliminated
  • Risk of non-compliance can be eradicated
  • The high volume of data (big data analysis can be streamlined)
  • Information not accessible to employees (dashboards provide easy access to relevant staff)
  • Issues with budget and forecasting (Automated reporting with drill-down functionality makes life easier)

Where Can You Use BI in Your Organization?

BI has an executive & strategic orientation – it can be applied in your operations, HR, supply chain, finance, sales, and marketing departments, in fact, Business Intelligence can be leveraged throughout your entire organization to track metrics e.g. employee performance, budgets, conversion rates, marketing trends, engagement rates…

Increase efficiency throughout your organization because staff will no longer need to manually gather or organize data.

Challenges With Business Intelligence

  • If you rely too heavily on dashboards, your view of the company may be too high level, missing key details on specific performance issues.
  • You need the ability to drill down into each area covered by a dashboard and play “what if” scenarios, based not just on a historic perspective, but also on prospective views – or you will not get a true picture of what is going on in your organization.
  • The data you capture may only offer a snapshot view of your business, making your intelligence unfortunately short-sighted.
  • Approaches that focus primarily on tools while overlooking data, strategy and results will add little value.

When your approach includes both reflective and predictive perspectives, you can get much more out of the tools you’re using to balance risks and rewards and set strategies more effectively.

Aspects of Business Intelligence

Business Intelligence strategies can include, but is not limited to – data extraction, data processing, data mining, data analysis, reporting, dashboards, performance management and actionable decisions.

Data, information and insights are not synonyms

Forrester research reports 74% of firms to say they want to be “data-driven”, yet only 29% are actually successful at connecting analytics to action.

The better your forecasting, the more efficient, productive, and cost-effective your business.

How to create Business Intelligence

Step 1. Collect data

Step 2. Apply analytics

Step 3. Create reports; charts, graphs, stats

Step 4. Interpret insights

Business Intelligence can be depicted in the form of a hierarchy pyramid with data at the foundation, information in the middle and insights at the pinnacle

business intelligence

Data is the raw and unprocessed facts that are usually in the form of numbers and text. Data can be quantitative (measured) or qualitative (observed). Data primarily exists in computer-friendly formats and is mostly stored in databases and/ or spreadsheets.

Information is prepared data that has been processed, aggregated and organized into a more human-friendly format that provides more context. Information is often delivered in the form of data visualizations, reports in dashboards.

Insights are generated by analysing information and drawing conclusions.

Both data and information set the stage for the discovery of insights that can then influence decisions and drive change.

What Makes Insights Actionable?

Alignment, context, relevance, specificity, novelty, clarity, personal.

Other terminology used in relation to business intelligence

Business intelligence (BI) and its subsets—business analytics and data analytics—are data management solutions used to understand historical and contemporary data and create insights.

Business intelligence

 Deals with what happened in the past and how it happened leading up to the present moment.

Business analytics

Deals with the why’s of what happened in the past.

Forecasting helps identify big trends, patterns and predicts the future and is based on business intelligence and analytics. Budgets and strategic planning is based on forecasting.

Data Mining

Knowledge Management

Knowledge management is the process of creating, sharing, using and managing the knowledge and information of an organization. It refers to a multidisciplinary approach to achieving organisational objectives by making the best use of technology to provide the most insightful information in a visual format in order to easily interpret the results.

Business Insights

Business insight is when you analyse data to find meaning and a deeper understanding of a situation or issue. The objective is to gain insight into major mechanics related to your particular business, industry, your competition, or some other aspect that will result in a competitive advantage for your business.

Consumer insight is all about analysing your customer data to better understand who your customers are, what they want from your brand so you can better personalize and tailor products to the needs, wants, and demands of their customers. Smart use of customer insights intended to improve customer experience, and could obviously mean more revenue.

Customer insights can provide a deeper understanding of how your customers think and feel about your products and services, understand what they need and why they need it and help you make better decisions about how, when and what to sell them.

Data is more or less useless nonsense without analytics. Analytics is how you make sense of your data and uncover meaningful trends.

  • Insight is gained by analysing data and information to understand what is going on with a particular situation or phenomenon. The insight can then be used to make better business decisions.
  • Insight is the value obtained through the use of analytics. Analytical insights are incredibly powerful and can be used to identify areas of opportunity and grow your business.

Decision support system definitions

A decision support system is an information system that supports business or organizational decision-making activities – Wikipedia

A decision support system (DSS) is a computerized system that gathers and analyses data, synthesizing it to produce comprehensive information reports – Investopedia

Decision support systems are generally recognized as an element of business intelligence systems, along with data warehousing, data mining, executive information systems, expert systems, and agent-based modelling in order to help organizations make informed business decisions.

Management Information System (MIS)

The objective of MIS is to provide information for decision making on planning, initiating, organizing, and controlling the subsystems of the enterprise and to provide a collaborative organization in the process. It facilitates the decision-making process by furnishing information in the proper time frame.

  • MISManagement Information Systems provide managers with feedback about their performances and help supervise the company.
  • EISExecutive Information Systems help keep tabs on the performance of execs, managers departments and overall business.

Business Management Solutions

Business management software is an application that helps businesses support, improve, and automate processes, to eliminate errors, duplication of effort, facilitate completing business tasks, increase overall efficiency and effectiveness and report activities and performance.

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Differences between Business Process Management and Enterprise Resource Management

Difference between BPM & ERP

Business Process Management (BPM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are often confused. From a high-level overview, they may seem similar, but there are some key differences.

Both systems are generally implemented into an organisation to help increase efficiency, reduce costs and increase profit. Which system you choose will ultimately depend on the specific goals and functional needs of your organisation.

Business Process Management (BPM) Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
BPM is much more process-focused.

BPM system help model, analyse and optimise processes to drive the business transformation forward.

If you want additional business analysis and improvement capabilities, then BPM will be a much better option.

BPM offers workflow customization

ERP tends to be limited to organisational functions.

If you are looking for a system to house and automate some core business processes then ERP is likely to be a good option for you

Provides business intelligence. BI tools provide insight into process execution times, process statuses, the number of closed processes and the number of those open.

BPM can track the efficacy of specific processes

Provides business intelligence.

ERP provides much more data storage and visibility which allows for extensive analysis across all business functions showing interrelatedness. Gives users a company-wide view that BPM cannot offer.

Provide analytics using your KPIs and custom reports Provide analytics using your KPIs and custom reports
This is the solution when more focused on specific processes and optimizing them to their full potential. This is the solution when looking for a solution to manage business functions across the company with a heavy focus on storing data in a common database

ERP business process management systems are more focused on the various business functions and the modules that support them. These include accounting, HR, inventory management, etc. ERP is also useful in tracking data across these modules. ERP allows users to track everything from sales to employee wages, all while allowing free flow of information between modules.

ERPs don’t always provide the same granular data that a BPM system would.

Typically, BPM is integrated into a larger ERP system when the ERP isn’t managing a process as well as a BPM would. This can lead to numerous inefficiencies in your business and tedious workarounds to try to fix them.

A BPM system highlights important processes in your business that an ERP would otherwise pass over. This heightened level of detail strengthens the process managed by the BPM, allowing the larger ERP to facilitate more general business functions.

If integrated properly, the two can actually complement each other and give you the best of both worlds; with automated process management that monitors the use of resources and assigns tasks, while being able to store all of your data in a central database.

There are also overarching two-in-one business management systems that have the functionality of both BPM and ERP which means there would not be a need to pick one or the other if using both is the best choice for your organization.

Business Process Management (BPM)

BPM as a discipline. Business process management (BPM) is an approach comprised of the strategies and techniques used to understand, improve and automate business processes. BPM sees processes as resources in themselves and seeks to improve them.

This can be achieved by first capturing an organisations’ current-state end-to-end processes and then documenting the steps in process maps.

Once a department (or organization as a whole’s) processes have been mapped out, you can begin to see where the inefficiencies and bottlenecks lie. This insight allows you to make informed changes to each process to reduce costs and improve overall efficiency.

Different business sectors have a vast array of different goals and objectives. Some examples are below:

  • Healthcare: would like to improve patient-centric processes and give a better quality of care.
  • Manufacturing: Would like to identify and reduce inefficiencies in a production line and reduce bottlenecks.
  • Construction: would like to make staff aware of the policies and procedures in the workplace and e.g. identify potential health and safety risks.
  • Finance and accounting:  would like to adhere to compliance regulations.

It is important to note that BPM can be used to actively support an ERP implementation and its management going forward.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

An ERP system primarily stores key information, but some high specification platforms do have some process analysis and improvement capabilities too.

Enterprise Resource Planning is a software system that consists of a number of integrated applications that are used to collect, store, manage and analyse data from several different business sectors such as finance, manufacturing, mining, health and defence use ERP systems in business activities such as:

Customer Services Management (CSM)

Customer Relationship Management (CRM)


Enterprise Asset Management

Distribution Channels (can include wholesalers, retailers, distributors, the internet)

Supply Chain Management (SCM)

Financial Management, Accounting, Bookkeeping

Invoicing and payment of external invoices


Quality Management

Research & Development (R&D)

Project Management

Service Management

Asset Management

Human Resource Management, Payroll

Corporate performance and governance

Sales, Sales order processing and quoting


Procurement (SRM)

Production (PLM)

Environmental Resource Management (ERM)

Information Technology and Systems

Big Data Analysis

Purchasing and invoicing

Stock Control and Inventory management


Purchase order processing and management

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ERP systems allow a business to view its core processes in real-time using a series of integrated databases to track resources relating to different business areas, such as cash, raw materials and current stock levels.

Business Intelligence informs Business Management Systems

Business Management systems have 3 aspects: ERP, BPM, CRM

Business Management Solutions

ERP = Enterprise Resource Planning = invoicing, order processing, asset management, manufacturing, quality control, supply chain management, accounting and much more

BPM = Business Process Management = workflow automation, collaboration, outsourcing, change management, strategic planning, HR management (time tracking, training, perf monitoring, employee engagement

CRM = Client Resource Management = customer service, sales, marketing, market segmentation

Inteligence business management solutions

The bigger your organisation grows, the longer the list of responsibilities and business complexities. Managing a business efficiently can be difficult if you don’t have the right tools, systems and software to consolidate operations or give a complete overview of business activity in real-time – from personnel management to keep on top of finances, supply chains, operations and everything else.

With the right software, you can gain insights into your company’s performance to improve strategic decision-making plus enhance efficiency, productivity and profitability to unimaginable heights.

Business Intelligence informs and is informed by all of the above

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What is right for your business?

Deciding what is right for you and your business can be quite daunting with all the different software options in the marketplace, especially if you want your software to be able to accommodate the growth and development of your business without the need to change to a more robust option, yet not be so complex that you can’t use it for a smaller business.