TGI - ERP Software Solution

Main Menu

Posts Tagged ‘Business Intelligence’

Enterprise 21 ERP Software with Integrated Business Intelligence Functionality Makes Decision Support Available to Executives, Management, and Individual Contributors

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009 by admin

There was a time when business intelligence solutions were reserved for very few business leaders.  Only those executives who really understood technology were willing to spend the money necessary to have a business intelligence system put in place that would take data out of their ERP software to populate a completely separate data warehouse for analytics purposes.

The time and cost to implement and make this functionality available made it cost prohibitive to nearly all small and mid-market businesses.  And for those few enterprises that were willing to invest in this technology, only a small core set of executives (read one to two players per company) would have access.

However, fully-integrated ERP software solutions, like TGI’s Enterprise 21, offer complete business intelligence functionality out of the box as part of the application’s core product offerings.  With Enterprise 21, each user can have his or her own unique series of dashboards.  Each dashboard tab can consist of up to four panes.  The data content and manner in which one views the data can vary from pane to pane.

Some users, for instance, may like to see raw data in a spreadsheet-like grid format.  Others may be more visual in nature and want to see the same data in a graphical format.  For those who want to view data in graphs, there are a variety of formats that one can choose from including line charts, bar charts, pie charts, area charts, and scatter charts.

In addition to displaying graphical and tabular data, Enterprise 21’s dashboards can also display gas gauges for rapid review of key performance indicators for the organization.  Maps can also be displayed including ones consisting of prospects and customers which are color coded based on odds or size of the given business enterprise.  Finally, for those users with security permissions to do so, financial reports which are produced from within Enterprise 21 can be displayed in dashboards.

One of the key advantages of the dashboards is that users can open the underlying data for analytical purposes.  In doing so, one can perform analytical drill down of data being shown across a series of dimensions.  For example, one might be looking at a graph of sales revenue over time.  This data can be sliced-and-diced across dimensions including drilling down by customer groups to as granular a level as a specific customer and product groups as deep as a specific product.  One might also want to review specific geographic regions or states, specific facilities, and specific sales regions, branches, and territories.  Through this simple description, it should be clear that application users can analyze core business data at any level of detail necessary to make well-informed business decisions.

In addition to sales-related data, all functional areas of the business can have their own series of dashboards including inventory management, warehouse management, customer service and sales order management, manufacturing, purchasing, and accounting, including financial reporting, accounts payable, and accounts receivable.  Furthermore, key external data such as new building starts and commodity market futures prices can be pulled into the system and trended for analysis purposes.

Because business intelligence functionality is built directly into the fully-integrated Enterprise 21 ERP software, TGI’s customers don’t need to invest in totally separate software solutions which it then has to implement and manage to gain these analytical capabilities;  rather, TGI customers can take advantage of complete business intelligence functionality as part of their investment in Enterprise 21.

Gaining Visibility to Key Performance Metrics in the Distribution Industry

Friday, May 15th, 2009 by admin

In a recent survey research paper titled, “Technology in Distribution: Trends and Future Challenges,” Adam J. Fein, Ph.D., founder and president of Pembroke Consulting, Inc., discusses, among other things, how many distributors across various industries lack the ability to track key performance metrics. The specific key performance metrics evaluated in Dr. Fein’s research include gross profit by customer, average order size by customer, operating profit by customer, delivery performance by customer, and profitability of fee-based services.

While executives from various distribution industries report mixed and, in some cases, disappointing results in their abilities to access such information, distributors using TGI’s Enterprise 21 wholesale distribution software can readily gain access to these and other key performance metrics. While Dr. Fein’s research paper focuses on the distribution industry, manufacturers who run the Enterprise 21 system can also leverage its business intelligence software capabilities to gain a competitive advantage.

By leveraging Enterprise 21’s business intelligence functionality, executives and all system users can have their own personalized dashboards consisting of the information that is most important to their day-to-day operations. Each individual’s dashboard in Enterprise 21 can consist of an infinite number of tabs with up to four information panes per tab. The information panes can include data displayed in graphical and tabular formats. Some of the graphical views available include pie charts, bar charts, area charts, and gas gauges, which allow executives and other system users to enjoy rapid access to key performance metrics.

Furthermore, while individuals can view summarized data in their dashboards, Enterprise 21’s business intelligence capabilities enable individual dashboard panes to be opened in full analytical drill-down mode, so users can slice-and-dice the information for further analysis purposes. This slice-and-dice capability enables executives to start with a broad brush view of their operations while being able to drill down in detail to pinpoint opportunities for continuous improvement within their organizations. In addition to being able to review and analyze operational data within Enterprise 21, executives can also have financial reports delivered to their dashboards, providing them with a consolidated electronic management book with easy access.

Through the use of Enterprise 21’s business intelligence functionality, executives can efficiently manage their organizations by gaining immediate, consolidated visibility to key performance metrics through individualized dashboards. By leveraging Enterprise 21’s analytical slice-and-dice capabilities, executives can readily identify opportunities for improvement which can lead to increased bottom-line results.

For additional information about Enterprise 21’s business intelligence capabilities and to further review how distribution and manufacturing executives can gain improved visibility to their organizations’ key performance metrics, please view an overview demonstration of Enterprise 21’s business intelligence functionality by clicking here.

Extending CRM Usage to the Executive Level

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009 by Alex Smith

What if an executive could see into the future? What if an executive could see past the internal rhetoric to dig deep into the sales funnel or customer base and spot sales growth or dips well before they actually occur? Without question, this insight would dramatically impact the decision-making ability of the executive, as well as provide a more adaptable organization. While some may refer to this as the works of a fortune teller, the “crystal ball” exists today and is utilized by savvy executives in many small to mid-market companies. This crystal ball is far from voodoo or hocus pocus; it is the power of a strong customer relationship management (CRM) ERP software solution.

A business executive recently said, “I would give anything to be able to have visibility into my sales funnel and future revenue stream. In fact, I’d give anything just to be able to know what my sales representatives do each day and if they are actually making the sales calls they claim.” Given the amount of CRM capabilities that are available in the SMB market, this statement is surprising. While CRM was at its infancy stage years ago, the CRM packages of today are powerful.

In Enterprise 21, CRM is more than a module. It is fully-integrated into Enterprise 21 and reaches across the entire ERP suite. It is closely tied to online quoting and order management, accounts receivable, and even manufacturing and shipping. This holistic approach takes the usage of CRM from the sales force and extends it into the entire back office and the executive level. It allows CRM to become a tool for the entire organization.

When CRM data and usage is integrated into a decision support system, the daily activities of quoting, forecasting, and sales call reporting all become strong resources. These generic actions provide a consolidated view of the organization’s past and future activities.

In Enterprise 21, a CEO can see a wide range of information right from within his or her own personal dashboard. The dashboard not only provides information specific to the CEO’s needs, it provides it in the manner he or she desires and allows for further drill down or detailed analysis. This permits the CEO to view critical information such as sales funnel trending, anticipated revenue, and even a given sales person’s daily activities such as onsite sales calls, outstanding quotes, and newly entered sales orders. While this may be too much information for some, to the CEO who has four new hires, it may be just the information that is needed to know if a specific sales representative is delivering as promised.

CRM information can be extended even further to trigger alerts when changes occur in an existing customer’s buying trends. The worst customer is not the customer that constantly complains; the worst customer is the customer who quietly takes part or all of their business elsewhere without any notification or warning.

While Enterprise 21’s CRM functionality cannot change the customer’s communication style, the CRM module can warn of an unexpected drop or delay in a customer’s ongoing purchases or buying trends. While these CRM-based alerts are not necessarily a crystal ball, they are powerful and provide a means for facilitating proactive behavior on the part of the sales force or management team. Most importantly, the alerts and other dashboard information provide the information necessary to move the company from reactive behavior to much more successful proactive operations and communications.

Learning To Develop Your Own Reports In Enterprise 21

Thursday, February 19th, 2009 by Alex Smith

After the dust has settled from a software implementation and system users have become fully submersed in the various functions they perform on a day-to-day basis, one of the key areas of importance post go-live is to learn to develop personalized reports.

In Enterprise 21, reports can be generated in a variety of ways with each possessing varying degrees of difficulty and flexibility for customization. If you are only looking to export data out of the system and into a report, with appropriate security privileges you can simply click an icon that allows you to export the raw data that you are viewing directly into an Excel spreadsheet. The data you see in this report, however, is limited to the fields and data contained on the specific screen from which the data was exported.

The second way to generate your own reports in Enterprise 21 is to use the fully integrated business intelligence software. The business intelligence module is designed for users to view and track data residing primarily in Enterprise 21’s associated data warehouse in a variety of formats, including pie charts, bar charts, area charts, simple spreadsheets, a combination of graphs and spreadsheets, etc. With this reporting and analytical tool, users can “drill down” on information from high-level views to more detailed views, such as viewing sales over time to then viewing sales over time by customer or product.

A third way to generate reports in Enterprise 21 is through workbenches. Workbenches enable users to create and design their own inquiry screens without touching application source code. Users can choose any of a variety of fields to place on a given screen and then use these fields to generate data that can be put into reports in graphical or spreadsheet format. The benefit of using Enterprise 21’s workbenches to generate your own reports is two fold; first, the workbenches can be created on a user-by-user basis with no two workbenches being exactly the same, without touching application source code. Secondly, such a tool further alleviates users’ dependence on their software provider. The workbenches offer Enterprise 21 users a degree of independence on the part of the user after what was largely a dependent process in the software implementation project.

Finally, users can also be trained to develop reports using Crystal Reports. Depending on the complexities of the information contained in the report, this may or may not be an option for users looking to create reports without the help of a technical resource.

Having users within your organization learn to develop reports on their own is an essential part of the implementation process; remember, the implementation process does not end at go-live! In a world with routine (and lately, dramatic) price and market fluctuations, creating reports to track daily and weekly fluctuations and trends is vital to ongoing business success, planning, and forecasting.