Business Intelligence and ERP: A Winning Combination for Mid-Sized Businesses

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1 Business Intelligence and ERP: A Winning Combination for Mid-Sized Businesses Once the exclusive domain of large enterprises, business intelligence applications are now filtering down to the mid-market putting powerful analytic capabilities within the reach of all companies.

2 2 PRONTO Xi Dimensions White Paper

3 Contents The rise of the intelligent economy 4 Business intelligence: the information you need, when you need it 5 What is business intelligence? 6 The need for better intelligence 6 The ERP/BI convergence: driving change in business 7 Introducing PRONTO-Xi Dimensions with IBM Cognos BI 8 Pronto and IBM: putting the intelligence in business intelligence 9 Collaboration from the top floor to the shop floor 9 Dashboards out of the box for instant business insight 9 Other benefits of PRONTO-Xi Dimensions 10 BI for all 10 Ease of use 10 Conclusion 11 PRONTO Xi Dimensions White Paper 3

4 The rise of the intelligent economy In today s increasingly connected world, information enters companies from many sources and along many different trajectories from computers, the Internet, social networks, sensors and mobile phones. This is driving a shift from the information economy to the intelligent economy, where it is not only access to information, but the ability to analyse and act upon it, that creates competitive advantage. Under the old model, staff were traditionally kept busy completing transactions. People moved things physically, while computers controlled these moves and the flow of information they created. Management then looked at the summary data and made decisions that were somewhat autocratically thrust upon staff, usually after some delay. Under this command-and-control system, insights were pushed out of the executive suite. No matter the size of the company, access to critical business information for reporting and analysis is vital to business success. 4 PRONTO Xi Dimensions White Paper

5 Now we are seeing traditional hierarchical management structures being replaced by distributed, realtime information sharing. Workers are being empowered with access to more data and knowledge often more than managers could manage on their own and are using their increased insight to make better decisions that directly impact the bottom line. Business intelligence (BI) is the tool that enables companies to manage data and turn it into insights and decisions more quickly and more effectively than their competitors. Business intelligence: the information you need, when you need it In this intelligent economy, companies of all sizes are clamouring for better BI capabilities that extend to all levels of the business. Businesses want access to more data, greater reporting capabilities and more useful business insights. They also want more out of their enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and are under more pressure than ever to gain a competitive advantage by making better use of their transactional data and other business information. No matter the size of the company, access to critical business information for reporting and analysis is vital to business success. However, the BI reporting and analysis tools designed for large enterprises are often difficult for smaller businesses to afford and implement. Fortunately, there is an alternative. A new generation of BI products is emerging that offer a range of analytics capabilities without the hefty expense of installation and maintenance. Swift to deploy and easy to use, these tools put sophisticated BI capabilities within reach of employees, from workers on the shop floor to key managers. Now company of all sizes can obtain powerful data access, analysis and distribution capabilities, even on a mid-sized IT budget. PRONTO Xi Dimensions White Paper 5

6 What is business intelligence? Business intelligence is a broad term that describes a category of applications and technologies for gathering, accessing and analysing data so that business decisions can be better-informed and made more quickly. Analytics turn information into knowledge, empowering staff to make decisions on the best available information, rather than on intuition alone. Instead, employees can combine business intelligence tools with their industry expertise to make decisions in ways that fundamentally transform the way the business works and manages information. This knowledge and insight equals business foresight. Armed with this intelligence, key executives can develop strategic plans, model potential scenarios, make predictions and prescribe actions. For example, marketers can use knowledge acquired from analytics to devise new retention and promotional offers aimed at specific customers, or to plan marketing campaigns based on social network analysis of usage patterns. The need for better intelligence Companies of all kinds and sizes are sitting on mountains of data that reside in transaction processing systems, ERP applications and elsewhere. Business intelligence tools are a key business and IT resource for companies wanting to derive value from that data. Most companies find it hard to explore or mine the data they have, and to present it in a way that is meaningful for business planning. So it is not surprising that the BI market is one of the fastest growing areas of the technology industry. According to analyst firm IDC, the BI software market is expected to grow by 20.5 per cent this year in Asia Pacific countries alone. The market, valued at roughly A$429 million in 2007, is expected to reach record heights of up to $A645 million in 2011 in the Asia Pacific region (excluding Japan). The biggest growth is expected to be in Australia and New Zealand, which make up nearly half of the Asia Pacific market value. With those kinds of numbers, it s not hard to see why BI is a top priority for most businesses. A good BI solution means a clearer view of data, which in turn means a clearer view of the business. Underperforming products can be discontinued, resources can be shifted to more profitable areas of the business and reporting can be accelerated. 6 PRONTO Xi Dimensions White Paper

7 The ERP/BI convergence: driving change in business As powerful as BI is for delivering instant insight into business performance, combining BI tools with ERP systems can substantially amplify the benefits. Merging BI and ERP and the ability to combine the two will transform businesses of all sizes in many different industries. Most mid-sized businesses invest in ERP systems because of their ability to centralise information and standardise and streamline business processes. ERP systems also provide many critical business capabilities, chief of which is the ability to manage financial information, products and inventory, human resources planning, and other transactional data all within one environment. Increasingly, companies that have invested in ERP are realising that the value of their systems can be improved considerably by analysing the data captured within ERP applications. ERP s central role in providing visibility across functions and departments is the source of its strong convergence with BI and the ability to unlock the insights contained within business data. A BI application that seamlessly integrates with an ERP system is a powerful combination, and has a vital role in turning data into strategy and strategy into revenue. PRONTO Xi Dimensions White Paper 7

8 Introducing PRONTO-Xi Dimensions with IBM Cognos BI One company catering to the demand for BI tools among mid-market companies is Australian ERP vendor Pronto Software. The company s latest offering, PRONTO-Xi Dimensions, is an innovative product that brings together ERP transactions and BI analytics in a unified solution that includes the powerful Cognos BI suite from IBM. PRONTO-Xi Dimensions with Cognos BI delivers an enterprise-grade, fully integrated intelligence solution that provides instant value. The focus is on simplifying BI, negating the need for complex IT infrastructure, excessive consulting and never-ending implementation steps. For many mid-market companies, analytics and BI are frequently seen as too complex to deploy quickly. Pronto s new BI capability is designed to provide outofthebox reports and dashboards, delivering an easy and useful entry point into BI for any business. PRONTO-Xi Dimensions, is an innovative product that brings together ERP transactions and BI analytics in a unified solution that includes the powerful Cognos BI suite from IBM. 8 PRONTO Xi Dimensions White Paper

9 Pronto and IBM: putting the intelligence in business intelligence Pronto Software and IBM recently signed an agreement to integrate the IBM Cognos 10 platform into the PRONTO-Xi platform, making Pronto the first ERP vendor to embed and optimise IBM Cognos 10 functionality into its software. By embedding the IBM Cognos 10 platform in PRONTO-Xi, users get a foundation that enables them to leverage IBM s extensive BI capabilities. The seamless integration of two industry-leading solutions provides enhanced reporting capabilities and instant business insight, empowering users to access meaningful data anytime, anywhere. The result is a new product that seamlessly merges transactions and information. Pronto s new BI platform is the extension of its overall enterprise intelligence strategy, adding world-class reporting and analytics capability to the company s existing product set, which includes Alert Intelligence, Data Intelligence and Task Intelligence. Collaboration from the top floor to the shop floor PRONTO-Xi Dimensions with IBM Cognos 10 offers organisations a single, web-based, reporting solution that facilitates collaborative reporting. This means reports can be authored once and consumed anywhere. Many of these capabilities can be summed up as top floor to shop floor benefits a flow of information and knowledge that runs smoothly from frontline staff to management, and vice versa. This model encourages workers to co-operate with others, both inside and outside the business, and to drive improvements themselves without waiting for management direction. PRONTO-Xi Dimensions is at the forefront of this staff empowerment and is leading this next wave of worker collaboration. Dashboards out of the box for instant business insight The growth of the BI market is a strong indicator that weekly and monthly reports are no longer sufficient to drive business optimisation. There is a need to provide accurate, real-time, relevant and easy-to-understand information to assist decision making. PRONTO-Xi provides business dashboards that highlight the relevant key performance indicators (KPIs) straight out of the box. These dashboards can be customised and extended with add-on authoring tools and data packages to fulfil specific industry requirements. The addition of PRONTO-Xi Analytics Dashboards increases the visibility of business information with the addition of powerful drill-down, trending and filtering capabilities, allowing employees to make quicker, more informed decisions to improve business performance and profitability. PRONTO Xi Dimensions White Paper 9

10 Other benefits of PRONTO-Xi Dimensions BI for all Users can customise their own BI content by creating queries and analysis views using simple but powerful authoring tools. Content can be created for ad hoc single-use queries, or can be fully authored and published. While building a query, data is displayed on the screen in real time, providing immediate feedback while creating the report. For more complex requirements, users can create their own reports, analysis views and dashboards using powerful report authoring products. Standard reports can be easily modified on-site to create reports that meet specific business requirements. What s more, every PRONTO-Xi user has access to a suite of standard reports via a web-based end-user portal. This is more than just a report viewer; the tool allows reports, charts or views to be scheduled and ed, and past versions of reports to be retained. It even allows users to select the output formats (HTML, PDF, Excel or CSV). Any content authored on-site can also be viewed via the end-user portal. Ease of use The right data for reporting has traditionally been hard to find. The PRONTO-Xi core data packages take the complex underlying data and make it easy to understand. Each package contains the relevant data your users need to write reports all in one place. Further, commonly used list-style reports are provided out of the box with PRONTO-Xi. Outputs from these reports can be filtered using prompt pages and users can select output formats using the end-user portal. Search commands are also available for fine-tuning report parameters. Users can easily make changes to standard reports using the add-on report authoring tools. With PRONTO-Xi Dimensions, every user has access to a new, intuitive user interface (UI) with a high level of personalisation. This UI makes it easy to define a personalised workspace, look and feel, and provides full access to the web for collaborative networking and intelligence sharing. Pronto s new BI capability is designed to provide out-of-the-box reports and dashboards, delivering an easy and useful entry point into BI for any business. 10 PRONTO Xi Dimensions White Paper

11 The Conclusion rise of the intelligent economy The convergence of intelligent devices, social networking, pervasive broadband Internet and analytics is ushering in a new intelligent economic environment. In this intelligent economy it is imperative that all employees are equipped with in-depth knowledge and insight into the business so they can make wellinformed business decisions. Mid-market businesses need BI capabilities just as much as large companies do. They too must cope with huge volumes of data and need to make informed decisions. And in today s fast-moving economic environment, no company can afford to ignore the benefits of BI if they want to remain competitive. BI software tools used to be out of reach for many companies due to their cost and complexity. However, the latest generation of applications offers ease of use and fast deployment at a lower cost and with less infrastructure investment. When BI is combined with the data captured by ERP systems, these advantages increase. These are the key benefits that the Pronto and IBM partnership brings to the table: products that enable a tight mesh between transactional data and the capacity to make strategic and informed decisions based on that data. The integration of PRONTO-Xi Dimensions ERP modules with IBM s Cognos BI removes a substantial amount of complexity from the deployment process. The end result is a company that is energised at all levels from the shop floor to the executive suite to analyse data more effectively. The powerful BI capabilities in PRONTO-Xi Dimensions have the potential to drive a positive transformation from traditional command-and-control management to an approach built around informed and empowered employees. The future of success is making the right decisions every day, at every level. PRONTO Xi Dimensions White Paper 11

12 Pronto Software 20 Lakeside Drive Burwood East, Victoria 3151 Australia 1300 PRONTO au

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