This article will focus on the benefits of Business Intelligence (BI) for the sales, marketing, human resources, and information technology departments using Dynamics GP.
Each department has an important role in a company. As a department leader, you may know what your team needs to achieve department-specific goals. BI solutions that cover budgeting, forecasting, reporting, and analyses can help you meet those goals in an efficient and quicker way. For example, at my own company, the current team of department heads includes Nils Rasmussen for Sales, Gina Louie for Human Resources, IT Manager Allan Bacero, and Marketing Director Vanessa Sierra. I will cover four general departments that you would typically find in an organization and explore how a BI tool would help each department.
A budgeting and forecasting tool benefits the sales department because it enables the team to forecast and predict sales by several business “dimensions” such as sales person, product, partner, and more on an ongoing basis. Every year, the sales department supports the overall company budget by predicting annual sales for the following year. A budgeting and forecasting solution, like the BI360 tool that we use at my company, takes sales members out of the old manual spreadsheet processes, which may cause chaos due to information overload, broken links, etc., and allows them to use a web form on top of the database. BI tools make it easier for this department to enter data for budgets and forecasts, and easier for the managers to monitor and manage the process with workflow
Reporting and Analyses allow the sales department to run reports and view dashboards for the actual sales data from Dynamics GP, as well analyze and compare to the budget and forecast data that was entered, including the quotas for the sales team members. This BI features are getting their data from the BI360 data warehouse (DW) module. The DW enables the team to bring in information, such as customer relationship management (CRM) data, in order to report on the sales pipeline in the same BI tool. Nils Rasmussen said, “The DW helps us see all of the data sources on our dashboards. It makes our decision making a lot faster, and it allows us to access self-service BI reporting for our sales team through our web portal.” The sales team can log in whenever and benefit from it, particularly the remote team members. And finally, the report publishing capabilities automatically distributes sales and the receivables reports to the sales team, so when they are too occupied to use the self-service BI360 web portal, the reports are automatically distributed by email and also available on via mobile apps on their cell phones.
Marketing Director Vanessa Sierra mentions that “budgeting and forecasting are two of the most important areas that [they] focus on as [they] prepare for next year. The main purpose is to uncover Marketing investments and activities that have resulted in the highest return on investment (ROI) and build on those in the new year.”
Reporting and Analysis can provide feedback on how to best market a product based on their own anecdotal or qualitative analysis. The customer-facing, creative side of Marketing, such as ad design, logo composition, or promotional copy can be relatively subjective and allows for that kind of approach. Reporting and analysis, however, is needed to drive the performance of these elements. For instance, setting up audience targeted ad campaigns, tracking email open rates, or increasing webinar signups. This helps the Marketing department make technical decisions based on quantitative information that makes marketing output more yielding. According to Sierra, “BI and Corporate Performance Management (CPM) tools such as BI360 and specialty tools such as Google Analytics help me determine how I can be more effective.” One thing she suggests is to put a lot of information out there through press releases, emails, ads, webinars, and more. Also, another is to see what is actually converting into a significant number of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) for the Sales team.
Human Resources and Accounting
Budgeting and forecasting typically helps the human resources (HR) departments make decisions based on how resources are allocated, and it allows the departments to monitor and track how the company is doing with cost control as well as revenue generation. Budgeting solutions help determine if the departments are managing its resources effectively by planning for expected salary and social expenses as well as travel at the onset of a new year.
Reporting and analysis benefits HR because “we are able to relay or present the financial position of the organization easily and efficiently. It allows us to show the financial position of the business in a concise, commonly accepted manner that many who deal with financial reports can understand and recognize,” says Controller Gina Louie. In terms of accounting, BI makes life for the accounting department so much easier because accounting team is able to run reports to get the information the team needs almost instantaneously. Also, the team can build reports based on user defined parameters that are specific to the organization. Most companies have a lot of data at hand and having a BI tool that aggregates and compiles the information in an easy and user friendly manner allows for the month-end reporting and analysis process to be faster and more accurate.
For the IT department, budgeting is important to determine the department’s expenditures. For instance, it helps the department determine the type of equipment needed, limit runaway expenditures, and it allows IT to provide department value to the company.
“Reporting and analysis helps my team understand the current status and provide details to answer the big questions,” says IT Manager Allan Bacero. “This allows us to use factual data to analyze trends or explain reasons to adjust forecasted values. Additionally, historical reporting helps us improve our performance or lead to a call for more resources.” BI and CPM solutions support the IT team by allowing them to make continuous decisions without any distractions or stopping the workflow. Dashboards give the department a way to visually compare key performance indicators (KPIs) to challenge colleagues to work on areas where the department may be lacking. Also, management is able to see the “hotspots” that may be convoluted in the numbers when presented with a data-based report.
Solver enables world-class decisions with BI360, a leading web-based CPM suite made up of budgeting, reporting, dashboards, and data warehousing, delivered through a web portal. Solver is reinventing CPM with its next generation solution. BI360 empowers business users with modern features including innovative use of Excel in the model design process. If you’re interested in learning more, our team is excited to hear about your organizational needs and goals.