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Tech Insights 5 min read

Business Intelligence Solution vs. ERP software: what is the difference ?

Quite often, the definition of a Business Intelligence solution is confused with certain inherent characteristics of ERP software. What are the main differences between these 2 types of programs designed for professionals? This article will examine this relevant question.

BI Solution, what is business intelligence?

A brief definition of BI

A Business Intelligence (or BI) solution refers to concepts and methods dedicated to optimizing business decisions using algorithms. You will find more details about the definition of this term, which is increasingly used by professionals, in this detailed article. However, another question can also be asked: in concrete terms, just what is the benefit of a BI solution for an organisation?

The role of a Business Intelligence solution

In practice, Business Intelligence makes it possible to transform all raw data into usable information. The optimal understanding of a market and the customer base promotes rapid growth in terms of business and revenue. The return on investment linked to each marketing expenditure is also an appealing argument for businesses and companies facing ever more aggressive competition.

Each BI solution performs its analyses and recommendations via 4 distinct steps:

  1. Data collection – an essential step to filter relevant data.
  2. Data integration – coherently structuring the mined data to guarantee a seamless data set.
  3. Data dissemination – overall presentation of the mined data to the user and managing access rights.
  4. Restitutions – the so-called “final” presentation of a Business Intelligence solution where various recommendations support the decision making process.

The 3 main benefits of BI solutions

Obviously, by relying on numerous algorithms, a Business Intelligence solution can provide guidance to professionals when implementing decisive business strategies. Another advantage of these programs is the clarity of the information presented. Lastly, the interactivity of the dashboards of a Business Intelligence solution represents another considerable benefit.

ERP software, what is it?

An overview of ERP

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) enables companies, corporations and organizations to centralize a wide range of critical information in a single IT system. Thus, the main objective of these programs is the creation of a database. Feel free to consult this page for further information.

The role of ERP

Not surprisingly, the role of ERP is to perform a daily analysis of every piece of operational service and information of a company, organization or enterprise. By building a database from multiple departments, it is possible to automate and update the necessary information in the event one or more modules are impacted. Real-time analysis is ideal for audit trails to define the origin of specific data.

The 3 main benefits of ERP

Regardless of the number of employees or the nature of the activities, every company, corporation or organization can benefit from the implementation of ERP to optimize its business development, enhance customer relations and boost revenue growth. While ERPs have many advantages, 3 benefits are however worth mentioning in this article.

Firstly, the linking of different functions based on common information is obviously one of the main advantages of ERP. The continual access to this data from each department makes many processes much more fluid. In addition, a second benefit refers to the transformation of transaction information into useful data. Accounting monitoring and the automatic creation of a general ledger are excellent examples that are attractive to professionals. Lastly, the standardisation of information and processes will promote optimal results.

BI Solution vs. ERP software: notable differences

Strategy analysis vs. operational data analysis

Above all, a BI solution is dedicated to high-level analysis where every strategic decision can be decisive. To carry out these analyses, all of the information of a company, society or organization is considered:

  • Operational data (sales recorded on a daily basis)
  • Information regarding strategies (income, growth and revenue)

The use of ERP allows for the centralization of all transactional and operational data in order to present a global and detailed picture of the situation of a business, company or organization. However, these analyses do not take into account any trends.


A Business Intelligence solution offers an online analytical processing system (OLAP) where the presentation of dashboards and reports is a central focus.

ERP, on the other hand, processes online transactions (OLTP) where it is possible to record and modify each newly recorded transaction.

Agility vs. performance

A Business Intelligence solution makes it possible to define a future situation through its functionalities. Strategic decision-making thus favours often decisive agility.

ERP software is intended for the current optimisation of the activities of a business, company or organisation. This translates into an improvement of each business process, interdepartmental communications or the reduction of costs associated with IT solutions.

A BI – ERP alliance, a winning combination

While ERP and BI solutions have their own unique benefits, the combination of these analytical tools will inevitably lead to optimal results for every business, company or organization. The conversion of information into relevant data is a formidable feature to promote rapid and tangible growth in results. The clear presentation of relevant data mined from accessible formats is also a considerable advantage when these two solutions are combined.

Although ERP and BI solutions are perfectly complementary, they do have certain limitations:

  • A Business Intelligence solution cannot be used without using ERP
  • ERP can be used independently, but it becomes considerably more effective when combined with BI.

Furthermore, a BI ERP integration from a single software package is highly recommended. In this way, the centralization of data allows for optimal strategies to be defined while ensuring a global perspective of information. In this respect, the integration of Power BI from your ERP software is an ideal solution to increase your performance. Feel free to read this article for more detailed information on this subject.

In conclusion

The characteristics of a Business Intelligence solution and the functionalities of ERP reveal several notable differences. However, these 2 analytical tools are complementary.

In this respect, the Power BI software is a formidable business analysis service. Offered by Microsoft, it guarantees unquestionable accessibility through its interface. The creation of custom reports and dashboards allows businesses, companies and organizations to perfect their strategies.

Of course, the integration of Power BI from Microsoft Dynamics 365 has been perfectly studied. The exploitation of the data and modules of this ERP is optimal, regardless of the nature of the business, company or organisation concerned.

Do you want to implement and deploy ERP, CRM or Business Intelligence to improve your results? Gestisoft offers you personalized support in order to define THE solution that best suits your needs and your company’s profile. The first step is to consult our experts in order to present your project. Our online form makes it easy for you to begin the process.  We will answer your query without delay, in order to work with you to examine your business challenges, the needs of your departments, your workflows and your overall requirements.

If you want to learn how to choose the right ERP solution for your business, you can download our “10 criteria to select your new ERP software” ebook.

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June 25, 2020 by Frédéric Charest VP of Marketing

Data-driven Growth Marketer with a Passion for SEO - Driving Results through Analytics and Optimization