August 7, 2009 – Enterprise resource planning customers have come to realize that value can be increased dramatically through analysis of the consolidated data captured within ERP. The latest research report, "The ERP/BI Connection: Adding Value from Actionable Intelligence," by Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company, revealed that the top pressure impacting ERP initiatives is the need to reduce business costs. The ability to identify and analyze costs is a core capability of business intelligence tools, and is driving investment in BI as a way of extending and deriving more value from data captured within ERP systems. The research investigates the steps top performing companies are taking to derive more value from ERP investment through the use of BI. The report identified achievements of leading companies through their ERP/BI initiatives, such as: •A 17 percent reduction in operating costs and 18 percent reduction in administrative costs•Elimination or redeployment of 12 full-time employee positions•Ability to close a month in less than four days•Achieve 100 percent (or greater) ROI on BI deployments within the first six monthsDavid Hatch, research director for BI at Aberdeen Research, identified three primary things that the top performers are doing differently to achieve value and improve performance. First, best in class companies are likely to have the capability for nontechnical users to be able to drill down from summary data to the transactional data on their own. Second, increased automation in BI tools allows decision makers to be notified in real time of exceptions as the data changes within the ERP systems throughout the day. The third differentiator among the top performers is that best in class companies are far more likely to take an integrated, embedded approach to deploying BI systems with ERP. Hatch believes this is an essential step for BI to become pervasive throughout the company. “While that this might be more difficult in terms of an application integration perspective, it is far more likely that BI becomes more pervasive throughout the company if I do that because I’ve already trained a lot of users on the ERP system and these are systems that a lot of customer-facing individuals are using every day. If I can embed the BI in there, I don’t have to then train them on another, different application”

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