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It’s Time to Transform

In this series on business intelligence software (BI) I have been looking at the opportunities and the challenges of today's modern BI software applications. As a Distributor you have very big challenges in front of you as the competition is increasing and margins are decreasing. You wish this were reversed but it's not. The Cloud is driving some of this pressure as your competitors are implementing new software solutions to help them improve margins and stand out from the crowd. Maybe it's time to look at how BI software in the Cloud, sometimes referred to as Software as a Service (SaaS), can help you.

Options…and More Options
There are more options of BI software available today than ever before. Many of the offerings available provide free or trial versions of the application. These versions will have either limited features or be full featured with the option to pay for premium features or pay for the full version. This is a great way to try it before you buy it. The installation is typically care-free and you don't need the help of IT to do it. 

I Tried but…
You've installed the software, maybe connected it to an Excel spreadsheet and seen some of the possibilities of what this type of tool can provide. The downside I've experienced of so many of these new BI tools is getting it connected to source data. Getting the tool integrated to a data source like an accounting, inventory or shipping application typically requires the help of someone within the company who has technical and network knowledge. Free has its limits. There will come a time when you have to pay to get real value out of that BI tool.

A new BI application can be enticing from the viewpoint of replacing and reducing the proliferation of Excel spreadsheets around your office through the centralization of dashboards delivered via the web or mobile devices. This is a worthwhile goal for implementing a BI tool. What is needed to support that goal is a solid decision making methodology and a data management plan. How do you make decisions, improve the decision making process and ensure you have high-quality data from which you are making decisions? A new BI tool will not address these questions but it can certainly support a strong decision making process. What I've experienced happening within customer's businesses is that a new BI application adds to the proliferation of information, creating dashboards and more reports on top of the already existing set of Excel spreadsheets being used. So don't just consider a new BI application. Look at your decision making process, your data management policies and what types of tools you need in place to support them.

Let's Do Different
At Epicor we have approached the need for better insights and stronger decision making in a way which brings the best benefits to our customers. Our solution, Epicor Data Analytics provides a cloud-based BI solution which is fully integrated to the Epicor Prophet 21 database. Access to your financial, purchasing, inventory and sales information is ready to go out of the box. You are not creating dashboards from scratch, it connects seamlessly to Prophet 21 and with a little help you will connect the tool to external data sources like HR, Payroll, and vendor applications. 

Epicor Data Analytics comes with content pre-built to the specific needs of a Distributor. Dashboards, KPI's, charts for Sales, Inventory, Purchasing, General Ledger, Accounts Payable, and Accounts Receivable are built-in. And since Epicor's experienced Distribution team built these modules, it means the information is right, reliable and ready to go in days not months. Epicor's decades of experience working with distributors, understanding your business, along with research in industry standard Key Performance Indicators, means we built a business intelligence solution which is a fantastic starting place for your business. And all of the information within EDA pulls from one source of data so you have a platform from which to build a single source of truth within your organization.

Epicor Data Analytics is a subscription based service, which provides you with a low cost of entry allowing you to try the application before making a big commitment across your business. This reduces your risk but provides a scalable application to grow with your business. 

So contact us at to find out how Epicor Data Analytics can transform…and help you grow your business.

Posted by Mark D. Jensen, Sr. Manager Product Marketing, Distribution, Epicor


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