Does Your Retail Management System Deliver The BI Insights You Need?
Integrating your retail management system with enterprise resource planning (ERP) and business intelligence tools creates a powerful foundation for operational efficiency and sound business strategy. When tightly integrated with other software, business analytics provide valuable support for data-driven decision-making.
In a typical retail environment, point of sale systems collect vast amounts of customer information at the front end of the business, and this data flows into the back office’s ERP system. At that point, these back-office employees and managers need to decide how to get all of the data out again, and then present it in a meaningful way that gives the business a competitive advantage. That’s where a good ERP system delivers value in terms of business intelligence (BI).
A company in the wine industry, for example, could use BI analytics to make marketing decisions about which geographic regions to target. Using analytics tools, back-office users are able to generate a report showing wine sales to customers over the past 12 to 18 months segmented out by state, or a report that shows distributor performance in terms of volume by state.
These sales reports, especially when they include automatically generated graphs, diagrams and other visual tools, make it easy to see the states in which the company has a good presence, and those where it has less of a presence. This information could be used to support different decisions, depending on other business goals. For instance, the report could help with targeting areas where the company’s presence is weakest, if market presence is most important. Alternately, the report might be used to identify places where the business is already going strong, and help to expand that success by saturating the market.
Being able to use BI tools to easily see and compare this kind of information is very beneficial for executives. BI tools that are flexible and easy to use help users get whatever data they want out of their ERP system without having to rely on technical assistance. That kind of self-sufficiency helps to support smooth, data-driven decision-making.
Let’s say that the CFO is meeting with the head of sales, for example, and has an idea for comparing two different slices of sales data. After the meeting, either of them could sit down with the retail management system and use the BI dashboard to generate that report in a few minutes, instead of having to go to the software vendor and request a custom report, which could be very costly and time-consuming.
Integrating retail software, ERP and business intelligence tools offers value to retailers in terms of operational efficiency. For example, instead of printing out a report from the retail sales division and then having an employee manually key it into your enterprise solution, an integrated system automates this data flow, eliminating inefficient duplicate data entry and the errors that tend to creep in with manual intervention. But this integrated system also supports efficient business strategy by arming executives and managers with BI tools that support and inform decision-making.
Are you ready to jump in? Contact ArcherPoint today to learn more about improving your retail management system.