Saving Time with Business Intelligence Software
A business software system can be a big investment, so it’s no wonder that a lot of firms still look at these systems as a luxury. But these days the availability and reliability of data can make or break a business, so robust business intelligence software isn’t just for enterprise-scale companies anymore.
Mid-size and even small businesses can ultimately benefit from smart business intelligence systems – even when the benefits aren’t necessarily obvious or immediate. One of the biggest hidden benefits is the time (and consequently money) saved when data systems are integrated. That’s because when mining and analyzing data and generating detailed reports is automated, there’s more time for making sales.
How Business Intelligence Systems Save Time
Duplication of data in different repositories is not only inefficient but also increases the risk of errors. Data retrieval and analysis that has to be completed by hand (copying, pasting, and calculating) is also tedious. And seeing the big picture – and generating comprehensive reports – is complicated when information silos make tracking, cross-referencing, analyzing, and reporting on different data points challenging.
A business intelligence system lets companies extract the most important pieces of internal data so they have the information they need to make critical business decisions. Trends become obvious, anomalies are caught more quickly, and questions from stakeholders and shareholders can be answered rapidly. Generating reports is fast and easy because most of the work is done by the system itself and finalizing reports involves less math and more strategic analysis.
The end result is that tracking and understand data is simpler and decision-makers in a firm are empowered to make better decisions more quickly. Management, employees, and customers reap the benefits internally while outside investors and other interests are able to see a company’s value at a glance.
Real World Results
The benefits of business intelligence systems aren’t just for big businesses. We worked closely with the California Center for Sustainable Energy (a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the transition to a sustainable world powered by clean energy) to simplify a reporting system that was pulling data from four different streams. CFO Elizabeth Wood was literally spending several hours each month extracting and consolidating data from multiple sources to create reports in spreadsheets by hand.
“I needed to closely monitor revenues and costs, identify what was happening, and provide updates for the executive and senior management teams, but we didn’t have the proper tools in place,” she said, “… our labor revenue wasn’t meeting our budget expectations.”
We recommended Sage 100 ERP Intelligence Reporting as a connector to extract the relevant data and streamline the organizations reporting. Ms. Wood later told us that she found Sage Intelligence to be intuitive and easy to use because it’s Excel-based. Additionally, Sage 100 ERP Intelligence Reporting was a cost-effective option that completely automated the California Center for Sustainable Energy’s financial reporting.
“Not only am I saving several hours every month on just the financials, I also used Sage Intelligence Reporting to create half a dozen graphical dashboards that our executive and senior management teams use to visualize and pinpoint what’s happening at a very detailed level ‐ literally by employee or on a contract‐by‐contract basis when needed,” said Ms. Wood.
“Without Sage Intelligence Reporting, I simply wouldn’t have the bandwidth, nor would it be cost‐effective, to produce the types of reports, graphs, dashboards, and insight that we now have at our disposal.”
Following up with the California Center for Sustainable Energy’s experience was a great reminder that it isn’t just huge companies that benefit from business management software. While it’s true that a business intelligence system can represent a significant investment, firms shouldn’t just assume there isn’t a cost-effective option available before consulting with a business management software provider.
Never forget that wasted time comes at a cost, too, which means the right business intelligence software will often pay for itself in short order.
Written by Kayley Bell, Chief Operating Officer at DSD Business Systems