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What is mean by flexible reporting and analysis?

Operational reports from the ERP system show recent events, but they do not satisfy managers' requirements for planned versus actual monitoring, forecasting and exception analysis. Without business intelligence, managers must compile these reports manually from standard reports.

By allowing flexible reporting and analysis, a business intelligence system can unlock the value of the data in ERP reports. The information in the ERP daily orders report, for example, can provide information that will help in better decision-making and can be of use to the decision-makers in more than one department. For example,


  1. Which product shipments are not in schedule?
  2. What products are selling best? Which are the ones that are not moving?
  3. Which customers are most profitable?
  4. Which customers are placing repeat orders?
  5. Which customers have made purchases to get the maximum discount?
  6. Did any customers purchase a product that requires another product?

Business intelligence system provide on-line analytical processing (OLAP) and data mining tools that managers can use from the desktops to answer the types of questions above and to discover significant trends and patterns. For example, analysts can drill-down to obtain progressively more detailed information about retain sales, change metrics, view graphs and charts, re-use reports, create 'what if' analysis and generate best-case and worst-case scenarios. Valuable in its own right, ERP information becomes even more valuable when it is combined with information from other sources.