The Business Need to Understand Data with ERP

For as long as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems have been around, business users have faced the challenge of getting the most relevant data out of their systems. In fact, one of the biggest misconceptions many customers of ERP have is that their system will provide all of the strategic reporting in a couple of clicks.

The reality is that ERP systems are great at capturing business activities and implementing automated processes and business rules for operational purposes. However, most ERP software options on the market tend to fall short in delivering the all-encompassing reporting needs for strategic decision-making at the management and executive levels within an organization.

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How The Market for Data Visualization and BI Tools is Evolving

Until recently, ERP vendors have focused their efforts on execution based features to differentiate their offerings in improving efficiencies around the Order to Cash and Procure to Pay processes related to the day to day operations of a business. 

Although the focus on those features tend to still dominate feature releases, with the more mature offerings, such as NetSuite, there has been a recent push to move beyond operational features and focus on delivering more advanced reporting out of their systems.

Today’s ERP users require increasing more sophisticated reporting capabilities, which they’re not finding out-of-the-box in their systems. For example NetSuite advanced reporting features, while robust on their own, will get you 80% of the way. That 20% gap that your ERP isn’t fulfilling in allowing you to drill deep into your business data is where you need NetSuite Business Intelligence capabilities provided by third-party applications or add-ons. The right NetSuite reporting tools will allow you to fill the remaining gaps critical to your business.

In recent years, we have seen a major growing trend in large software vendors investing heavily in the BI space. An example of this is the acquisition of Tableau Software by Salesforce in 2019. Then, you also have Microsoft’s heavy investment in Power BI which has maintained its lead in the BI space for over a decade.

Without looking into a crystal ball, it would seem that these investments are in play to address an increasing demand from ERP and CRM users to better leverage the strategic data from their systems without leaving the experience of a unified platform.

The concept of the unified platform is the driving force behind these large vendors and their push to incorporate smarter analytics and visualization solutions into their product ecosystem.

As a NetSuite partner and services provider, we’ll often vet questions from existing users along the lines of “does Power BI connect to NetSuite?”, “How does Looker work with my ERP?”, “Are there specific NetSuite BI tools?”. These are all reasonable questions, especially when you consider Oracle’s massive ecosystem of NetSuite add-ons. There has to be a fitting solution for my company, right?

In the Oracle NetSuite world we have seen recent strides in the enhancement of reporting with the launch of SuiteAnalytics Workbooks in 2019. Complementing Saved Searches and Standard reporting, the Workbook analytics option has been gaining traction by allowing NetSuite users to leverage more typical visualizations capabilities, such as:

  • Pivot table creation
  • More charting options
  • and separate data sets to better manage report creation.

Moreover, NetSuite’s recent foray into the Data Warehouse space has demonstrated the increased interest in ERP vendors delivering robust BI offerings within their own platforms.

As cloud based CRM and ERP vendors enter the world of BI, we’re seeing the start of a technological shift. For our clients that are using ERP, Data Visualization is the natural first step in delivering enhanced NetSuite data analytics capabilities.  Labelled the “Eye Candy” of the BI market, mid-market businesses can easily relate and integrate these visualization and exploration tools into their current enterprise platforms with ease and see an immediate impact on their reporting processes. Data Visualization software (as a subset of the BI marketplace) is designed to integrate with popular SaaS applications. 

As a leader in the cloud ERP market, NetSuite is the ideal platform to take advantage of the enhanced strategic reporting capabilities offered up by Data Visualization solutions.

Here are the top 5 reasons NetSuite users need to leverage true Data Visualization in their platform:

1. Turn your ERP investment from an operational system to a strategic solution

Enhanced Data Visualization allows Management and Executives to quickly pinpoint problems or trends with multiple types of visuals in a single view.  Going beyond the standard reporting capabilities, flexible joining of data and dynamic drilling allows for better strategic decision making.

2. Share all your metrics and KPIs from your ERP for your most frequented platform

Robust Data Visualization solutions are designed to be embedded in your current platform.  Embedded visuals not only enhance the user experience and collaboration, but should also adhere to the permission settings and roles for reporting purposes.


3. Consolidate data from external sources to increase visibility across the organization

One of the primary objectives of Strategic ERP is to have increased visibility across multiple enterprise systems.  Data Visualization solutions can facilitate the consolidation of data across multiple systems (ERP, CRM, WMS, etc.) without going down a complex integration path.  Imagine combining data from multiple systems in a single visual giving your team a fuller picture of the business and greater insight into your company performance.



4. Spot Pattern and Trends dynamically improving the decision making process

One the main benefits of Data Visualization is the ability to go beyond the visuals and dynamically explore the data with a couple of clicks. Mining your data in an efficient and friendly manner allows for deep data discovery for forecasting and trend analysis.



5. A Picture is Worth a thousand Words! Variety of charts and tables to empower data exploration and discovery

Most ERP systems are limited in the visuals their reporting tools provide. In order to accomplish real data discovery and exploration that yields strategic results, dynamic visuals are required to guide the user through the discovery process. Data Visualization solutions provide varying charts and visuals to address the unique use cases of evolving businesses. From basic visuals such as pie charts, bar charts, line charts and diagrams to more sophisticated three dimensional bubble charts, heat maps and scorecards delivering powerful analytics at your fingertips


To learn more on how Gurus Solutions can help with your Data Visualization challenges, feel  free to check out Business Intelligence for NetSuite, Powered by GURUS.

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About Athen Bozoglu

Having caught the writing bug at an early age, Athen has been working with different companies in leveraging the freshest content for over a decade. He comes from a copywriting background. In the past, he has worked on copy for B2C and B2B clients across Montreal and Canada for retail, construction, manufacturing, education, and restaurants. He studied Communications and English literature at Concordia and developed a loving relationship with media the minute he laid hands on his first DSLR camera. 

Today, he consults with a team of technical experts to hone in on the latest industry trends and bring you powerful blogs on Oracle NetSuite, the Cloud, and technology.

In speaking with a great number of experts and clients across most major industries, the approach and questions remain the same: How can I optimize my business to bring in more money? What are the technologies that are right for my company? How can I improve my financials and better manage growth?