Business Intelligence and Dashboards

ERP systems and other business management software help businesses to manage their operations efficiently and effectively. Since they are designed to ensure that processes run smoothly and records are managed consistently, it’s important that data is presented in a user-friendly way.

One way to present this vital business intelligence (BI) is using a dashboard presentation. Our latest whitepaper looks at the benefits of using dashboards to display BI and what you should consider when implementing a dashboard design in your ERP system.

What is a dashboard?

Essentially, a dashboard is a means of displaying information and data. It usually takes the form of traffic light systems, graphs, gauges and meters.

Dashboard Functions

The main objectives include:

  • Conveying information easily
  • Being more visually appealing
  • Collecting information for specific functions
  • Defining and measuring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
  • Displaying information on a single screen

Dashboards for ERP

A dashboard can be specifically designed to integrate with the sector-specific functionality that an ERP system can bring.

Dashboard Data

To be most effective, they should be designed with:

  • Visually intuitive graphical representations of KPI metrics
  • Colour-coded bar charts, graphs and other visual depictions of data
  • Data that’s easily accessible by users from a single screen
  • A real-time review relevant to a user’s functional area
  • The ability to access data anytime and anywhere
  • Inbuilt integration with disparate systems, e.g. CRM solutions

Bespoke data

By displaying information specific to an industry sector, ERP systems can offer business intelligence entirely bespoke to an organisation’s needs and requirements. As such, processes can be improved upon. This could include downtime monitoring, stock outs, maintenance requirements, and other real-time reporting.

Dashboard hand

As well as industry-specific functionality, a dashboard could be configured for individual users or groups of users, displaying the information that’s most important and relevant to them. For example, an ERP system for wholesale distribution might need a dashboard for production staff that tracks inventory accuracy, quality achievements and production measures. Whereas a shipping manager might use one to track on-time shipping completion percentages and freight costs.

The bespoke nature of this information means that a company can react in real time to any issues that are flagged up. By making informed decisions and taking immediate action, individuals can concentrate on the tasks, goals and targets that the organisation has chosen to focus on.

Secure & User-friendly

Certain information will only be relevant to specific individuals within an organisation. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that security measures are in place so that users can only see the charts and graphs that relate to their role.

The business world of today requires information to be delivered quickly and accurately, more so than ever before. As a result, corporate decision-making has to be both user-friendly and mobile for the modern on-the-go worker.

Using a dashboard

With this in mind, an ERP dashboard is likely to fall into three categories, depending on the business activity that they relate to:

  • Strategic dashboards focus on high-level measures and are usually accessed by managers and senior members of staff.
  • Analytical dashboards compare complex data relationships across the business and offer drill downs into more detailed analysis.
  • Operational dashboards monitor specific activities and events that require attention, providing a far deeper level of detail.

Dashboards can be a valuable tool for ERP users. Individuals within a business can track and measure key data, visualising trends and trajectories and ultimately improving business processes.

With the right solution, personnel at all levels of a company can gain quick access to KPI information. Whether it’s used as a tool to measure performance across the whole organisation, a specific division, or one individual focused on a single project, the importance of an effective dashboard can’t be denied.

If you’d like to find out more about the role an ERP dashboard could play in your business, download our latest whitepaper, Business Intelligence and Dashboards now.

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