BI reporting tool adoption: 5 ways to assess for BI readiness

How do you know that it’s high time for your organization to opt for a BI reporting tool? Here are some of the tell-tale signs.

When it comes to the use of BI reporting tools, I’d like to use the case of Usha International as an example. The business of Usha International is growing. So we at Usha International are working toward supporting the business’s growth through latest technology solutions. Not only support, these solutions will also help in taking the business ahead and making it competitive in the market. One such technology we plan to adopt and leverage is business intelligence (BI).

BI is critical for information analysis and generating business reports. Having a BI reporting tool can make the process of digging up relevant information far simpler for all levels of management. We plan to implement a BI module as part of an existing SAP implementation. However, there are some crucial factors that occur within an organization, which signal the right time to bring in BI reporting tools. Here are five such factors that will help you evaluate if your organization needs BI reporting tools and whether the time is right for its implementation.

1.     When ERP is stable and mature and the organization needs an evolved system for decision making: ERP is a transaction system, which takes time to stabilize within the organization and among users. Once it is stabilized and efficiently working with users, the need to analyze the data is generated. BI is essential for efficient analysis of data. A BI reporting tool makes data analysis handy and easily accessible during strategy building.

2.     When there are too many legacy MIS reports being generated through various modes: Most of the reports generated in organizations are prepared manually using legacy processes like Excel and Word for data analysis. These reports are then submitted to the management, which are often used for critical decision making. Reports generated through legacy processes are more prone to human errors, manipulation etc. At this stage, an organization needs a BI reporting tool, which directly captures data from the ERP to generate MIS reports. 

3.     When multiple people need to access MIS reports in the organization: Generally, business users create reports in Excel and circulate them to multiple people within the organization. This results in multiple versions of the reports due to the multiple tweaking that happens at each level, which in turn confuses the management when the time comes to take the right business decision. To eliminate such issues, a BI reporting tool becomes essential.

4.     When senior management wants to reduce manual intervention and generate foolproof reports for better business decision making: In our case, management was keen on having BI reporting tools. The business was growing, senior management wanted to generate reports to help them understand market demand and trends, and know the kinds of products that are working while figuring out scope for improvement. A BI reporting tool meets all these needs.

5.     Managing hundreds of Excel-based reports becomes a tedious task: Business Intelligence helps in creating on-the-fly reports and analysis of the current data, as it integrates with existing ERP to give you data in real time. A BI reporting tool can thus, eliminate the clutter that multiple Excel reports cause.

About the author: Subodh Dubey has been serving as the group CIO at Usha International since January 2010. He has industry experience of 17 years and has worked with companies like K Raheja Corp, JCP Manufacturing, and Mahyco Seeds.

(As told to Yuga Chaudhari)

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