While we are spending time with our customers, we gain valuable insight into BI and ERP goals and objectives. One topic that has been of critical importance as we start 2016 is the continuing evolution of Business Intelligence in the manufacturing enterprise. As a developer of manufacturing ERP and BI solutions, we rely on our customers to guide us and help to shape those solutions. But it also gives us a vision of where our customers see trends and patterns when it comes to data analytics and the consumption of information. Sure, it’s “big data” but our focus is on how to mine that big data and then what to offer our customers in terms of tools to work with those results. For 2016 we wanted to get a sense of goals, objectives and trends.
In general, our findings show further expansion of true end user, empowering tools to transform raw data into meaningful and useful information. In 2016, BI has left the IT department and is now firmly in the hands of the data consumers. In previous years, companies would give their end user / consumer community the ability to define the metrics, facts and dimensions and then it was left to a technical resource to produce the desired output. No longer; users have consistently demanded end user tools for true self-service development of “ad hoc” reports. That is now a reality and there are few signs of a reduction in such demands.
In particular, the 2016 trends include easy and secure access to rich manufacturing, distribution and financial data. The requirements are for easy and robust Manufacturing Business Intelligence tools; tools that require no more knowledge than the basic use of Excel. There is a thirst for simple, highly visual reporting tools. Finally there is a need for the results of their analysis to be easily consumable and shareable and to foster collaboration and deliver a solution to ensure that their compliance and regulatory goals are consistently being met.
Of importance in 2016 is a full service, self-service solution with BI tools to offer not only easy usage of dashboards, but also non-technical creation of these dashboards. There is a sense that the end user consumers of these dashboards would adopt these tools far more easily if they were delivered in a manner that offered true user independence, without reliance on IT.
One comment that was consistent was “we need to make sure that we get the ERP data into the hands of the people that need it, when they need it and deliver that data via a simple delivery mechanism.”
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