Most people believe that the time to buy a BI reporting software is when the number of reports becomes too time-consuming for staff to run themselves. In other words, the business has reached their breaking point in terms of how much it costs to pay someone to run the reports versus how much it would cost to buy software to automate the process.
Only after they buy the product do they realize how many of the same features - developed to automate report generation and delivery - can be leveraged to automate internal business processes. Here are four simple examples to get your business process automation ideas flowing.
Idea #1: An Automated Approach to Stock Replenishment
Virgin Media has found a way to repurpose their BI reporting software to meet market demands.
Using data-driven alerts to proactively monitor stock levels, the BI report generation software alerts key personnel when an item dips below the minimum level.
Not only does this save staff from having to manually monitor stock levels, it maximizes sales by ensuring that Virgin Mobile's most popular items are always in stock.
Idea #2: A Customer-Driven Invoicing Process
When EMPR Australia was in the market for a BI report automation software, they were using SAP and Crystal Reports to produce invoices, but lacked an automated way to electronically distribute them.
Using the same scheduling and distribution features that kick off nightly BI reports and place them in company decision makers' inboxes, EMPR now lets customers choose the frequency and format for their invoices. The move has transformed how the business operates, reduced paperwork, and increased cash flow by 50 percent in under five months.
Idea #3: Real-Time Invoicing Based on Milestones
Taking the previous idea one step further, service-based organizations that do large-scale projects can speed up customer payments by tying the invoice generation process to project milestones.
As is often the case in large-scale construction or IT projects, customers agree to pay installments when major project milestones are reached. Unfortunately, this requires close coordination between project managers and accounting teams – two groups with entirely different priorities and focus. The same data-driven capabilities that watch stock levels can re-used here to automatically monitor project milestones, generate invoices, and electronically send them to customers.
Idea #4: Savings and Safety?
While on the surface hard to believe, Cessna Aircraft proves it's possible.
Cessna's aircraft maintenance schedule used to be time-based, but this process meant that parts were replaced regardless of wear. Cessna knew they could do better if they switched to a use-based approach, so they linked their equipment database to their BI reporting software. The move ensures parts are only replaced when needed, saving Cessna $200,000 a year on a single maintenance operation. Moreover, the use-based approach helps keep more planes in-service and it has eliminated the need to periodically hire additional maintenance employees.