Better Data Drives Growth
Why investing in better
business intelligence tools is
critical to your success
2 | Driving Growth With Better Data
Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Seven Signs That Your Distribution Firm Needs a New BI System . . . . . . . . 4
The Consequences of Legacy Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Is Your Current System Setting You Back? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Epicor Data Analytics: Reaching for New Levels of
Business Understanding . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
3 | Driving Growth With Better Data
Through such processes as data mining, analysis, querying, and reporting, a robust BI system can enable unprecedented new insights into a business and positively impact a
company’s growth by helping management teams actively reduce costs, identify new opportunities, develop targeted strategies, and improve overall decision-making—even
within companies that perceive themselves as successful and up-to-date .
According to CIO Magazine, business intelligence (BI) refers to a range of software applications that are used to analyze a company’s
raw data and support the critically important function of business analytics.
Could your lack of a modern and powerful
BI system be affecting sales at your
4 | Driving Growth With Better Data
1. Your business has lacked innovation and you’re struggling to compete in today’s tech-savvy environment
2. You know what your customers are buying, but not what they aren’t buying
3. Sales data is only available monthly and/or annually and only in a range of pre-determined formats
4. Sales data queries and requests for reports are typically made through IT personnel or another
5. Your system is very sales-oriented and offers little or no reporting in such areas as inventory
6. It can take hours, days, or even weeks to run reports
7. Your company’s ERP system hasn’t been updated in many years
What you don’t know about your business data may be impacting your operations . A robust BI system may be
the best investment you can make into your company’s future .
Seven Signs That Your Distribution Firm
Needs a New BI System
If any of these situations applies to your business, your current sales analytics or ERP
system may be falling short of its potential, diminishing your ability to think and act
more strategically, meet and exceed sales targets, and outperform your competition.
5 | Driving Growth With Better Data
The Consequences of
According to an annual survey by the National Association of
Electrical Distributors (NAED)1, 100% of distributor respondents
identified the need to “ensure that data in our business system is
accurate and up to date” as a top priority.
However, what companies aren’t discovering about their business and sales trends—at
the hands of an outdated sales analytics/ERP system—might surprise them . The ERP
systems that many small and mid-sized companies use to collect, store, and manage
their company’s range of data were built years ago, before the distribution market’s
explosion into the digital age .
Fast-forward to the demands of modern business today and many of these
companies—often family-owned and multi-generational—are now unable to
optimally support the requirements of the times .
As a result, their legacy systems are often slow to respond and difficult to retrieve
actionable data from . It’s a shortfall which leaves users less than ideally positioned to
make strategic business decisions .
In the 1980s and 1990s, the focus of ERP systems was largely to allow users to easily
enter, record, and capture data, not necessarily to report it in ways that could enable
analysis and strategic decision-making at granular levels .
Today, the availability of powerful and easy-to implement BI systems has ushered in an
exciting new generation of data analytics and insight .
1 NAED (National Association of Electrical Distributors, “NAED Technology Benchmarking Survey
2015 & 2016 Results,“ 2016
6 | Driving Growth With Better Data
Many legacy ERP systems were built to deliver month-
by-month and/or annual reporting, whereas newer
data-driven solutions enable users to investigate
trends for any period of time desired—months,
weeks, and days .
Speed of reporting
Reports used to take days or weeks to run and were
often based on the schedule and availability of the
IT personnel responsible for running them . Today,
reporting is instantaneous and easy . Modern systems
shift the effort of running reports to the more critical
activities of data analysis and business management .
Access of information
Modern systems and broad enable widespread and
reliable use from any computer or mobile device .
While older systems had limited date ranges and
predetermined report formats which limited analysis,
modern BI systems are much more flexible and
granular . They allow users to configure any collection
of data they desire, and drill down to get the details
needed for making smarter business decisions .
And unlike most legacy software, today’s users can
change their mind and request different types of
analyses without having to start over .
Buying trends and
Older systems showed what customers were buying,
but not what they weren’t buying . With better BI,
users can identify all related products based on
purchase trends, identify new sales opportunities, and
correct less successful strategies .
When systems only show data on revenue and
bottom line sales, it’s easy to miss things like eroding
margins on individual sales . This leads to less effective
sales strategy . With the ability to drill down into
granular layers of data, salespeople can view margin
by customer and product in many different ways,
leading to better sales strategy and product mix
decisions for growth .
7 | Driving Growth With Better Data
Gross margin return on
Standard GMROII reports can limit the ability to
maximize turns and optimize profitable inventory
investment . BI systems give better visibility to the
inventory costs of specific products versus their
selling price . They also promote the sale of the most
profitable items for greater turn success .
Static reports and inflexible analytic tools make it
difficult to identify all of the costs associated with a
product sale . Better, deeper analysis of customer and
product data identifies high-cost customers, vendors,
and reps . A new BI system enables companies to
manage out less-profitable customers and streamline
their business .
Dead and slow-moving stock
While your current solution might show what’s
sold over a period of time, many systems aren’t
tied into purchasing, which makes it hard to see
the time and quantity of products sold . This causes
difficulty in identifying dead inventory . Newer BI
systems take both sales and purchasing activities
into consideration . This enables strategic decision
making around inventory performance, like special
promotions to recent buyers of dead or slow-moving
items, or opportunities for dialog with customers
who are no longer buying .
8 | Driving Growth With Better Data
Is Your Current System Setting You Back?
Consider this: how easily can you identify the following?
XX Your company’s Top 10 products that haven’t sold in 90 days
XX Customers with sales of more than $10,000 in the last fiscal
period but whose sales are declining month-to-month
XX Customers whose sales are up but whose profits are down
XX Active customers not buying your Top 3 products
XX The total value of slow-moving stock in each of your
If you can’t answer these questions within five minutes,
then it’s time to seek a better solution . Epicor can help .
9 | Driving Growth With Better Data
Epicor Data Analytics: Reaching
for New Levels of
As competition increases and margins narrow, businesses need sharper
tools and deeper understanding to support the business. And, the
tools must be fast, flexible, and cost-effective. Business analytics can
help you meet these objectives.
Epicor Data Analytics is a modern, cutting-edge business intelligence tool fully integrated
with Epicor Prophet 21®—the leading ERP solution designed solely for wholesale
distributors . Epicor Data Analytics drives more value from your business system with
unprecedented business insight to help you grow by reducing cost, identifying new
opportunities, supporting specific programs, and speeding decision-making .
An easy-to-learn, easy-to-use service, Epicor Data Analytics can quickly start contributing
to your business . Epicor Data Analytics helps you stay up-to-date with your
ever-changing business .
Discover your full potential with deeper insight into and understanding of your business
data, greater confidence in your management decisions, and more proactive control over
your company’s growth and future .
Learn more about Epicor Data Analytics.
The contents of this document expresses the opinions and views of Epicor Software Corporation and are for informational purposes only and are subject to change without notice. Epicor Software Corporation makes no guarantee, representations
or warranties with regard to the enclosed information and specifically disclaims, to the full extent of the law, any applicable implied warranties, such as fitness for a particular purpose, merchantability, satisfactory quality or reasonable skill and care.
This document and its contents, including the viewpoints, dates and functional content expressed herein are believed to be accurate as of its date of publication, October 2016. The usage of any Epicor software shall be pursuant to the applicable end
user license agreement and the performance of any consulting services by Epicor personnel shall be pursuant to applicable standard services terms and conditions. Usage of the solution(s) described in this document with other Epicor software or third
party products may require the purchase of licenses for such other products. Epicor, the Epicor logo, and Prophet 21 are trademarks or registered trademarks of Epicor Software Corporation in the United States, certain other countries and/or the EU.
All other trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners. Copyright © 2016 Epicor Software Corporation. All rights reserved.
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