I’m hearing the words “Business Intelligence” a lot these days, especially in relationship to the Sage ERP systems that we support. The common perception from our customers is that Business Intelligence is the software that we support; this is not the case. The Gartner IT Glossary provides the most concise description of Business Intelligence that I’ve seen to date:
Business intelligence (BI) is an umbrella term that includes the applications, infrastructure and tools, and best practices that enable access to and analysis of information to improve and optimize decisions and performance.
In Sage 100 ERP, the Business Insights Explorer (BIE) is a piece of business intelligence that makes it easy to select and mine your data. The 2013 release includes 28 different data sets to choose from when building a custom view. Because the BIE is very intuitive, it is easy to build your own views to collect the data you need for reporting.
Some of the advantages of the BIE include:
- Easily manage and extract your data output to Microsoft Office applications, including the ability to perform mail merges
- Easily customize columns in existing views to sort and filter data
- Quick Drop Down box allows you to select columns for display
- Column Settings tool allows:
- Changing captions, width, formatting, and more
- Links to related data tables allows adding additional columns
- Create calculated fields for analysis
- Hide and drag columns from the view
- Sorting and filtering of data
- Filtering data using AND/OR conditions
- Easy Grouping using drop and drag features
We have helped our clients use the Business Insights Explorer in many instances; here are a couple of examples:
- General Ledger transaction data – the BIE is the best tool I know of for pulling G/L detail into MS Excel for account reconciliation. It is easy to search Posting comments using a Like operand, and we can also use the Filter Builder to select specific accounts, periods, and years to display.
- Customer Invoice History – Have you ever needed to search through your Sage 100 A/R Invoice History tables for specific data? BIE makes it really easy.
- Sales Orders – View quotes, repeating orders, back orders, order history all in one view just by using filters.
- Inventory Stock Status, History, and Movement – BIE is a fantastic tool to view both sales and receipt history. Our clients have created their own calculated fields using the PO Receipts view to track vendor performance as well as their own performance in delivering product to their customers.
The possibilities are endless. Custom fields can be added to views easily, and all views can be quickly exported and/or distributed to others. BIE has been around since Sage 100 ERP (MAS 90) version 4.3, and each new version adds more views to the vault.
So, if you’re thinking you want to take advantage of Business Intelligence in your Sage 100 ERP applications, look no further than the Explore menu under each module.