WHITE PAPER WHY ENTERPRISE RESOURCE PLANNING SOFTWARE IS YOUR BEST BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE TOOL

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1 WHITE PAPER WHY ENTERPRISE RESOURCE PLANNING SOFTWARE IS YOUR BEST BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE TOOL

2 CONTENT WHY COMPANIES WANT BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE... 1 BUILT-IN MEANS BETTER ACCESSIBILITY... 2 CONCLUSION... 3 ABOUT IFS... 4

3 WHY ERP IS YOUR BEST BI TOOL WHY ENTERPRISE RESOURCE PLANNING SOFTWARE IS YOUR BEST BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE TOOL RICK VEAGUE IFS CHIEF TECHNOLOGY OFFICER With the explosion of Big Data in recent years, more companies are increasingly interested in gathering the enormous amounts of information their business generates and mining some sort of intelligence from it. Like a diamond in the rough, this information can be analyzed to reveal a goldmine of trends, patterns, successes and failures about their business s processes. The idea is that they become enlightened by this new-found intelligence and use it to develop and measure key performance indicators (KPIs) to help them make decisions about how their business can become more efficient and competitive in the future. WHY COMPANIES WANT BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE At its core, business intelligence (BI) is really a euphemism for, What s going on in my business? Am I making money? Where am I doing well? Where do I need to improve? These are all good things to know. But entering orders and buying a part (which is what enterprise resource planning (ERP) software tools help you do) doesn t tell you if you are ordering from the right vendor with the best price and best on-time delivery. You must measure and track KPIs to know if the business is doing well or not. And to calculate KPIs, you must first gather the information and analyze it. Having intuitive analytics capabilities built into your ERP solution allows users to easily access the right intelligence, at the right place and at the right time, to make smarter decisions. Many companies use data warehouses to store information from throughout their enterprise to develop KPIs. We know that data warehouses tend to trail reality. Information is gathered from last week, last month and last year and is then sent over to the data warehouse, but the information stored in it always lags behind what s going on right now. This historical data is useful because some KPIs can only be calculated after enough of a historical track record or view of data has accumulated so that you can actually look back on it and do an analysis. However, this is a rearview-mirror approach to running a business because you are making decisions based on what has already occurred. A more effective more agile approach is to use in-context analytics, which empowers users to make better decisions using real-time information that they are able to gather at the point they are making the decision. 1

4 WHY ERP IS YOUR BEST BI TOOL BUILT-IN MEANS BETTER ACCESSIBILITY If you consider all of your KPIs ahead of time, you can make a better decision that is in line with your requirements. For example, when deciding with which vendor you should place an order, you may consider the following: I know this vendor charges a higher price than most, but they will deliver it the next day, or, I know I don t need the part right away, so I can go with a vendor that charges less and will have it to me in a week. If you have the most current in-context data about each vendor right at your fingertips within the operational system (your ERP tool), you can prioritize your criteria and make a smarter bottom-line decision based on what you need right now (e.g., faster delivery or lower price), and not after the fact. There s nothing wrong with using information from a data warehouse per se, but it needs to be augmented with real-time data, which can only come from the operational system, to support immediate decision making. Better bottom-line decisions require information that is easily accessible from the operational standpoint in several different dimensions, such as: How many orders are in process right now? How many orders do I have with this vendor right now? If I give him more, will I overload him and impact delivery times? This is the true value of built-in, in-context BI. That s not to say that historical data doesn t have value it always will. But if in-context information is quickly and easily available to a user earlier in the value stream (i.e., at the time a decision needs to be made), users won t hesitate to tap in to it. For example, if you are creating a purchase order, you don t want to have to log off your ERP system and then log in to the data warehouse to execute a series of complicated queries, get your answers, then shut that down and log back in to the purchase order, only to think to ask, What if I would have done X? and then have to reverse the entire process. That would be very time-consuming. But if you were able to drill down into the data while remaining logged in to your ERP system, and then bring that information into the equation at the time you need it, instead of looking at it afterward for the next time, it is much more efficient and can result in immediate impact to the bottom line. The ability to present this synthesized information to the user, very naturally, at the precise point in time when it is needed, has real-time potential to improve business outcomes. And that s the difference between in-context BI and traditional BI, which is always, by its nature, based on what happened in the past. Built-in BI is about using the info you already have to make better decisions, which is why you buy an ERP solution and use in-context analytics. But the criteria are usually quite basic: Can you process orders, calculate commissions, etc., which is important and where the payback is. However, the real business benefit from in-context analytics is having a smarter organization that can make better decisions faster to keep up with the changing competitive landscape. 2

5 WHY ERP IS YOUR BEST BI TOOL Built-in business intelligence empowers users to drill down to the underlying data to create in-context analytics that can help them make smarter real-time business decisions. CONCLUSION If a business is going to successfully operate competitively, it needs to expand its analytics processes beyond the rear-view mirror. In-context analytics derived from both historical information and real-time data provide more accurate and intuitively structured intelligence. Accessing this information through a built-in BI tool within an ERP environment enhances the process and empowers users to improve business outcomes in real time. Rick Veague is Chief Technology Officer with IFS North America, and is based in the Itasca, Ill. headquarters. In this role, Rick works with leading IFS customers and prospects with a focus on enterprise asset management, field service and complex manufacturing solutions leveraging service-oriented architecture and cloud computing. Rick joined IFS in 1999, and has held various pre- and post-sales positions developing, marketing and delivering high-value business applications including ERP, EAM, ESM and MRO solutions. He holds a degree in Computer Science and Mathematics from Knox College. 3

6 ABOUT IFS IFS is a recognized leader in providing business software to companies that aspire to become more agile. IFS uses its deep industry-focused expertise to help companies in targeted sectors increase agility in three core areas: enterprise resource planning (ERP), enterprise asset management (EAM), and enterprise service management (ESM). Founded in 1983, IFS is a public company (XSTO: IFS) with over 2,600 employees. IFS supports more than 2,200 customers worldwide from local offices and through partners in more than 60 countries. For more information about IFS, visit AMERICAS ARGENTINA, BRAZIL, CANADA, ECUADOR, MEXICO, UNITED STATES ASIA PACIFIC AUSTRALIA, INDONESIA, JAPAN, MALAYSIA, NEW ZEALAND, PHILIPPINES, PR CHINA, SINGAPORE, THAILAND EUROPE EAST AND CENTRAL ASIA BALKANS, CZECH REPUBLIC, GEORGIA, HUNGARY, ISRAEL, KAZAKHSTAN, POLAND, RUSSIA AND CIS, SLOVAKIA, TURKEY, UKRAINE EUROPE CENTRAL AUSTRIA, BELGIUM, GERMANY, ITALY, NETHERLANDS, SWITZERLAND EUROPE WEST FRANCE, IRELAND, PORTUGAL, SPAIN, UNITED KINGDOM MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA INDIA, SOUTH AFRICA, SRI LANKA, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES NORDIC DENMARK, NORWAY, SWEDEN FINLAND AND THE BALTIC AREA ESTONIA, FINLAND, LATVIA, LITHUANIA THIS DOCUMENT MAY CONTAIN STATEMENTS OF POSSIBLE FUTURE FUNCTIONALITY FOR IFS SOFTWARE PROD- UCTS AND TECHNOLOGY. SUCH STATEMENTS OF FUTURE FUNCTIONALITY ARE FOR INFORMATION PURPOSES ONLY AND SHOULD NOT BE INTERPRETED AS ANY COMMITMENT OR REPRESENTATION. IFS AND ALL IFS PRODUCT NAMES ARE TRADEMARKS OF IFS. THE NAMES OF ACTUAL COMPANIES AND PRODUCTS MENTIONED HEREIN MAY BE THE TRADEMARKS OF THEIR RESPECTIVE OWNERS. IFS AB 2014 En Production: IFS Corporate Marketing, May 2014.

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