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How Business Intelligence Software Works for Manufacturers

Did you know traditional business intelligence techniques are not a thing of the past? In fact, manufacturers like you use them every day. The difference between business intelligence then versus now is the speed, efficiency, and accuracy with which they’re performed.

Business intelligence software in today’s world of Industry 4.0 can collect, analyze, and interpret data automatically at rapid speeds. It can help you unlock hidden patterns, find areas your teams can improve in, and craft strategies for growth that would previously take decades to perfect.

In this article, we’ll explain what business intelligence software does, how it works, and how to choose the best BI software for your manufacturing business.

What Is Business Intelligence?

Business intelligence (BI) is the collection of strategies businesses use to collect, analyze, and report data about their business processes. The goal is business intelligence is to identify areas of improvement and create plans of action that increase efficiency, reduce waste, and increase profits.

What Does Business Intelligence Software Do?

In a world of digital transformation, business intelligence software is used daily by manufacturers to improve their competitive edge. BI software can be a module included in your existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) software or a third-party software that integrates with your ERP system.

Like your comprehensive ERP system collects and analyzes data from all parts of your business, BI software also gathers relevant data from various sources within and around your organization. It can pull data from spreadsheets, databases, and external systems.

Once the data is collected, business intelligence software processes the data using analytics tools, like a business analytics (BA) module and generates reports, creates dashboards, advanced forecasts, and data visualizations that show your stakeholders trends, patterns, benchmarks, and key performance indicators (KPIs).

You can configure your business intelligence software to automatically generate reports based on time periods, like month-over-month or quarterly analyses. You can also integrate it with department-specific modules to drill down into the performance of particular business areas.

How Does Business Intelligence Software Work?

Business intelligence software works by integrating data from disparate sources into a centralized data repository, sometimes called a data warehouse. For example, it can pull in data from your ERP system, your supply chain management software, historical inventory management data, or even from external industry-wide databases to help you establish benchmarks.

Then, BI software applies data modeling, analysis, reporting, and forecasting techniques to turn raw data into actionable insights.

Most business intelligence software offers user-friendly interfaces to help your employees explore data, create custom reports, and make smarter decisions faster.

Business intelligence software uses a wide variety of traditional methods, but it does it much more efficiently. Here are some business intelligence methods you can apply using BI software:

  • Description analytics summarizes historical data to give you a bird’s-eye view to understand past performance.
  • Predictive analytics uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to forecast future market and pricing trends.
  • Diagnostic analytics uses data collected in real-time to find the root cause of current problems.
  • Prescriptive analytics find solutions to current issues, improving the decision-making process by backing it with data.

Examples of Business Intelligence and Analytics

Business intelligence software can be used to aid decision-making in as many situations as you can imagine. The most successful companies use it creatively to optimize their business processes on an ongoing basis.

Here are some examples of how you can use business intelligence software to your advantage.

  • Supply chain analytics help teams optimize inventory management, procurement management, logistics, vendor relations, and improve partnerships.
  • Financial analytics help you holistically monitor and optimize financial metrics, profitability, and budgeting.
  • Sales analytics help your salespeople identify market trends, customer preferences, and overall sales performance.
  • Customer analytics help customer care specialists understand your target demographic’s behavior, preferences, and segmentation for hyper-targeted marketing strategies

What’s the Difference Between Business Intelligence and Business Analytics?

It may sound redundant to use both business intelligence software alongside business analytics software, but both are valuable in their own ways.

The main difference between business intelligence and business analytics is that business intelligence software focuses on monitoring, reporting, and data visualization, while business analytics software dives deeper into data analysis, modeling, and predictive technologies.

When used together, your stakeholders can see the big picture while maintaining the ability to drill down into the details. You essentially empower your employees to make more informed decisions and drive business growth because the problems and solutions become crystal clear.

Today, solutions like Birst Business Analytics combine BI and BA to create one of the most powerful tools a manufacturing business can possess.

How to Choose Business Intelligence Software for Your Manufacturing Business

If you’re interested in business intelligence software but you’re not sure where to start, we recommend getting in contact with an ERP consulting firm like Godlan.

The fact is that every manufacturer has unique needs and goals, as well as problems. It’s crucial that an expert helps you identify where your company is currently struggling, the scope of your company (e.g. local vs. global markets), and what your team’s workflows look like.

Just like planning a complete ERP implementation or migration, you’ll need to clean up your data so it can be accurately processed by your new BI software. You should also consider running a business process review (BPR).

With so many types of BI software out there, the selection process can be overwhelming. Contact us today and we’ll help you narrow down the right tool for you.

Discover what is possible for your enterprise.

Reach out to our team today to begin a conversation to discuss your specific needs, infrastructure, and growth opportunities.

Godlan is a name you can trust.

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