Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software generates a lot of data. This is a double-edged sword for analysts, and ERP analysis is tricky. On the one hand, more data presents greater opportunity to discover business-changing insights, but it also requires more thoughtful analysis.

Big data is messy data. It’s not enough just to collect it and count it because there is never just one way to count it.

– David Auerbach for Slate

When it comes to ERP analysis, you have to know what you’re looking for. Keep these things top of mind when analyzing data with ERP software:

KPIs

Identifying and tracking the right KPIs is critical in any effective ERP analysis. If you’re focused on the wrong KPIs, it’s virtually impossible to understand the financial health of your business. As noted on the Toolbox for IT blog: “It’s common knowledge in most industries that some KPIs can be easily doctored to make an organization or process look like it’s performing much better than it is. What’s the value in that?” Before you dive into ERP analysis, make sure you’re focusing on the right KPIs. Simply put, KPIs should measure progress toward long-term goals.

The key is to choose KPIs because they have value and meaning, not just because they can be easily manipulated to look good.

– Jerri Ledford for IT Toolbox

Personalized Dashboards

ERP analysis is important for managers and executives across the organization, so it only makes sense that data be presented in a way that’s most meaningful for individual users. Look for ERP software with customizable dashboards that allow individual users to easily create the reports and visualizations that are most helpful to them.

When setting up your ERP dashboard, keep it simple. The best dashboards offer at-a-glance insight. Focus on the KPIs that are most important to you on a day-to-day basis. You can always dive deeper by running more detailed reports when you need to.

Alerts

With so much data available for analysis, it’s sometimes hard to know what to focus on — even with the most sophisticated ERP software. Fortunately, many ERP systems allow you to create custom alerts that trigger in certain conditions. For example, you can set up an alert to notify you when sales dip below a specified benchmark so you can address potential issues in real-time, not after-the-fact. Your business generates enormous amounts of data. Fortunately, ERP software makes it much easier to analyze this data and identify actionable insights. But at the end of the day, you have to know what you’re looking for.

NetSuite ERP delivers real-time business intelligence catered to each employee specifically, featuring end user dashboards and on-demand reporting and visualizations. Learn why so many businesses are choosing cloud-based ERP software from NetSuite over the competition: take a product tour and compare NetSuite.