Gathering data and turning it into actionable business intelligence is one of the greatest long-term benefits of an enterprise resource planning system. Because so many different streams of information can be brought together through the day-to-day functions of ERP, such as financial management programs or timekeeping software, there is significant room for improving visibility into a wide array of practices. Companies that can successfully utilize ERP as both a system to boost daily productivity on the work floor and in back offices are off to a good start. Those that can also use it as a tool to gain actionable information that can guide long-term decision making are in a great position to develop and grow.

TechTarget points out that the market for business intelligence tools continues to evolve, offering a variety of solutions for businesses. However, the addition of new systems usually means disrupting old ones and possibly causing unintended side effects that make collecting information harder. Businesses in the manufacturing and fabrication industries may be especially vulnerable to these kind of changes, as they have very disparate needs ranging from insight into front-line output to keeping track of financial concerns. For this reason, it makes sense to use a buildable ERP program like Microsoft Dynamics NAV to address specific needs.

By implementing a modular system, companies have more control over the areas that ERP focuses on. For example, businesses can use a component that focuses heavily on production, specific materials use and quality of finished products rather than spending money on a system that provides high-level insight across the board. With modular ERP, companies can choose how in-depth they get with data gathering and monitoring in specific areas.

Managing growth becomes easier
Having a system in place to analyze the current health of a company makes it simpler to understand the positives and negatives for possible development and growth. Research from Aberdeen Group shows that having a solid ERP solution in place helps to manage growth expectations, a common need among companies that use such software. Businesses that are in a position to open a new factory or warehouse can use the increased insight generated from a high-quality ERP system to make specific decisions that improve bottom line operations, like whether to expand current facilities or move to a new location. Businesses should consider how they collect data from their ERP systems and determine if they're happy with the current level of insight.