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Giving a Voice to Your ERP Data

Giving a Voice to Your ERP Data


Do you know when your ERP data is trying to tell you something important, such as:

  • “Hey – this invoice is overdue for payment . . . “
  • “Ahem – stock item #123 is within 10% of itvoice s reorder level . . . “
  • “Did you know that Acme, Inc has significantly lessened its purchases from us . . . ?”

Enabling your ERP data to speak to you – instead of you going to it – enables you to become a more “data-driven” organization and be more responsive to the needs of your staff and customers.

Giving your ERP data a voice starts with identifying what you want your ERP data to speak with you about. For example, you might not need your data to tell you when a client’s invoice is coming due, but you might want it to tell you if that invoice becomes overdue.

There are eight conditions under which your ERP data should speak to you:

  • Date-sensitive conditions. g., pending shipments or contracts about to expire.

  • Approaching thresholds. g., customers with excessive overdue receivables or orders with insufficient profit margins.

  • Exceptions to normal processing. g., orders below a certain total with discounts exceeding a certain percentage.

  • Things that have not happened – but should have. g., a repeat customer who has not purchased within the last 30 days.

  • Data Integrity. g., checking to see if phone numbers have the correct number of digits, or that purchase orders have received all the needed approvals.

  • Data Changes. g., changes to standing purchase orders or a client’s credit rating.
    • Once you identify such conditions, you’ll require a technology that gives a voice to your ERP data, a

  • Trend Analysis. g., an account manager whose sales numbers have increased or decreased by ‘x’ percent over a certain time period.

Data Inconsistencies.  E.g., a project that is less than 50% complete but has used up more than 50% of its budget. You should consider investing in a solution that automatically monitors your ERP data for important conditions and then (also automatically) triggers one or more automated responses. In this way your data is the initiator of intelligent actions across your organization.

Such a solution requires a combination of four underlying technologies.

First is a Business Intelligence component. Many ERP applications today enable you to monitor and respond to basic conditions – low stock levels and the like. But, if you consider some of the above conditions – such as identifying when a client, salesperson, or inventory item has changed its sales patterns (trend analysis), you need an automated monitoring system that has the strength of BI analysis behind it.

Once a solution is able to identify the conditions that you’re interested in, a second component -- Alerts – takes over. Typically, alerts need to be delivered via a wide variety of devices, including instant message, email, fax, mobile device (e.g., cell phone), dashboard, Twitter™ and so on.

The third component is Reporting – and is an extension of the alerts mentioned previously. In some cases, alert data may be no more than a short text message sent to your cell phone; in other cases, it may be an analytical report (e.g., an Aged Receivables report for a severely past-due client), a relevant form (such as an invoice sent to a delinquent client), or even something as critical as hazardous material  handling instructions.

And finally there is a Workflow component. In some data-driven environments, an alert message is all you require to address the situation that has occurred; but in other situations an “action” – such as putting an order for a delinquent client on hold, re-ordering a critical part, or expediting a shipment – is required in order to adequately address the problem. In this way the ERP data itself not only initiates an awareness within an organization’s staff; it enables you to automate the response to that data.

Consider taking the next step in the evolution to your company’s business processes. Give a “voice” to your ERP data.


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