Data Visualization & Data Warehousing for NetSuite with GURUS BI

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In this article, I’ll be talking about Business Intelligence, but more specifically:

  • What is Business Intelligence and how does it work with ERP?
  • What’s available for the NetSuite community in terms of BI & analytics solutions
  • And what is GURUS Solutions’ BI solution for Data Visualization and Data Warehousing?

First of all, what is Business Intelligence?

Let's look at the term “business intelligence” for a moment and clear up any misconceptions before we move forward. As I wrote in another article and as I explain it to customers, Business Intelligence is not “Reporting on Steroids”. When we hear that, we’re hearing a throwaway term that has been coined by popular business culture. However, it doesn’t serve to give you a real picture of what BI actually means.

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Here is Wikipedia’s Business Intelligence definition:

“Business intelligence (BI) comprises the strategies and technologies used by enterprises for the data analysis of business information. BI technologies provide historical, current, and predictive views of business operations. Common functions of business intelligence technologies include reporting, online analytical processing, analytics, dashboard development, data mining, process mining, complex event processing, business performance management, benchmarking, text mining, predictive analytics, and prescriptive analytics.”

While this definition is technically accurate, let’s simplify it and put it in context here. A business intelligence solution is meant to provide a flexible platform for the user to process, access and visualize large amounts of data from multiple systems. “Business intelligence”, in this context, is an umbrella term for the “Hard Stuff” that companies want to achieve in their business systems. These difficult activities are ultimately aimed at enabling forecasting and predictive analytics. Single systems will fall short in these complex areas, which is where companies start to look into Enterprise BI.

While this definition is technically accurate, let’s simplify it and put it in context here. A business intelligence solution is meant to provide a flexible platform for the user to process, access and visualize large amounts of data from multiple systems. “Business intelligence”, in this context, is an umbrella term for the “Hard Stuff” that companies want to achieve in their business systems. These difficult activities are ultimately aimed at enabling forecasting and predictive analytics. Single systems will fall short in these complex areas, which is where companies start to look into Enterprise BI. 

Before getting into why we, at GURUS Solutions, developed a Business Intelligence solution for the Oracle NetSuite community, I would like to give a brief overview of the purpose of Business Intelligence tools.

There is a famous author and Marketer, Simon Sinek, who coined the “Golden Circle'' framework.  This famous framework states: 

  • Every organization knows WHAT they do 
  • Some understand HOW they do it
  • Very few understand WHY they do what they do

Historically,  the discipline of Business Intelligence has been leveraged by many related software markets including reporting, data visualization, data warehouse and analytics (to name a few).  Although these tools facilitate the process of BI in one form or another, the sole purpose of Business intelligence is to empower organizations to go beyond the tactical WHAT delivered by basic reporting, and ultimately understand the strategic HOW and WHY impacting the decision-making process of the leaders that drive your business.  

This is where Business Intelligence reporting technology comes into play -  BI data solutions need to deliver a system architecture combining visualization, exploration and ease of access to information, empowering your decision makers to stay on top of these critical questions that drive your business.

Why GURUS Business Intelligence? AND How does this all work?

GURUS NetSuite Data Toolkit
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Let’s start with the WHY?

Very simply - ERP systems, such as Oracle NetSuite are designed to run your day to day operations.  From a reporting perspective, they will deliver primarily operational reports focused on your core business activities. That being said, we know speaking to business leaders in the NetSuite community that executives need to effectively visualize all relevant business data out of their ERP. As a result, speaking with our customers, we see the more complex and strategic business reporting happening outside of the ERP platform. With this reality, we created GURUS Business Intelligence to deliver end-to-end data analytics right inside the NetSuite platform.

So, How does this all work?

On the right hand side of this diagram, we see NetSuite business information and the variety of flexible reporting options users can take advantage of.  The combination of Saved Searches, Standard Reporting and SuiteAnalytics Workbooks offers excellent reporting tools within the FOUR WALLS of the NetSuite ERP platform.  That being said, NetSuite reporting is limited to the data structure and reporting tools exposed to users.  This means there is limited flexibility in combining data across the system, visualizing information and accessing high volume historical data (which is typically used in forecasting).

So in order to address these limitations, GURUS developed a range of products designed specifically to address the data challenges we hear from the NetSuite community.  

We have a basic solution, our GURUS NetSuite Data Exporter, that can simply connect to Saved Searches to provide additional reporting flexibility within a spreadsheet to more sophisticated solutions like the GURUS NetSuite BI solution - which I’ll be talking about.

With GURUS BI, we developed our own connector to extract Tables directly from the NetSuite database and push that information to a powerful BigQuery Data Warehouse where we re-worked and optimized the Data Model to allow for the more complex reporting our customers are currently doing outside of NetSuite. With our Business Intelligence solution, this will now happen right inside your NetSuite platform.

In addition, GURUS is also developing an AI offering leveraging Google Machine Learning on top of our BI platform to address the need for more sophisticated prediction and forecasting models we hear from our customers AND we will be developing industry specific BUSINESS ENGINES with Advanced Data Processor to solve the more difficult processes to achieve within the ERP platform. You can learn more about GURUS BI, GURUS NetSuite Data Exporter, and other products in our GURUS NetSuite Data Toolkit here.

Looking for more NetSuite Add Ons? Visit our NetSuite Modules & Add Ons Guide.

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