Despite living in an age when many more efficient methods are available, many organizations still use disparate data analysis tools to collect business intelligence (BI). Using all these different tools can lead to decentralized data and a confusing jumble of interpretations of the same information, where piecing together actionable insights becomes a chore.
But Infor Birst changes all that. Its modern data architecture helps to eliminate data silos with visual data discovery without compromising data governance. The cloud business intelligence tool connects multiple source systems to a shared platform, removing analytical silos and giving you better data integration and transparency across the organization.
This article provides an overview of Infor Birst, dives into the business benefits, and explains how the analytics platform can reduce costs and increase revenues. Let’s get started.
What is Infor Birst?
Birst is a cloud-hosted business intelligence and analytics platform. Using a networked approach to business intelligence and modern enterprise-class architecture (specializing in multi-tenant), Birst keeps your company’s data connected (centralized and decentralized alike).
Another way to look at Birst is as a replacement for Lawson Business Intelligence (LBI) in Infor Global Human Resources and Cloudsuite Financials. While Infor currently plans to maintain LBI for Lawson V10, those upgrading to the cloud will find that Birst will be there for them. Of course, this change also means key stakeholders will have important decisions to make about how they want to approach reporting when moving to the public or private cloud.
What Can Infor Birst Do for Me?
Thanks to Automated Data Refinement (ADR) technology, Birst allows users to build a star-schema model of their data without having to know how a data warehouse works, making it easier than ever for you to make sense of your big data, no add-on ETL tools required. Creating a data warehouse from scratch requires time, money, and know-how, so the fact that Infor Birst comes pre-loaded with ADR should prove a big benefit to companies that want to step up their analytics game without breaking the bank to do so.
Infor Birst Business Benefits
Infor Birst offers comprehensive BI and analytics capabilities that allow your employees to gather data from multiple source systems and compile them into a single dashboard, enabling more reliable analysis and intelligent decision-making. Here are a few of the benefits your organization can expect from Birst:
1) Consistent View of Data
Birst uses what it calls “intelligent unification technologies” that map and model data from multiple sources. So whether the data lives in cloud applications, transactional systems, data lakes, or elsewhere, it’s all captured in one consistent view. This new approach to big data analytics can help optimize complex processes.
For example, imagine working with a dozen live data sources, each of which has its own definition of “company.” Birst makes it easy to unify these data sources so that they all speak the same language and use the same definition for “company.” To paraphrase Google’s Hal Varian, “Data is like oil—it must be refined before it can be used.”
2) Virtual Business Intelligence
Birst’s fundamental BI capability is multi-tenant architecture. This allows the creation of virtual (not physical) BI tenants that relate to one another. Traditionally, organizations depend on the physical replication of business intelligence infrastructure, making the process time-consuming and costly.
But Birst allows decentralized teams—such as marketing, sales, finance, and more—to use their virtual copies of the data and blend that with their local data to deliver quality results. Say hello to improved consistency, self-service data, and more inter-team collaboration.
3) Enhanced User Experience
Birst allows everyone in the organization to access and unify data volumes quickly and easily, thanks to an enhanced user experience (UX) that supports different styles of analytic content. Whether you need responsive and interactive dashboards or embedded predictive tools, Birst has everything you need to create an adaptive interface, one that allows users to easily extract data to make smarter decisions. Even better, you can make decisions more confidently, knowing that the data is accurate with a modern data architecture.
4) Data-driven Decisions
And improved UX isn’t the only reason Birst makes it easier for both users (business and technical) to enhance data discovery and make data-driven decisions. Thanks to Birst’s patented machine learning technology and dashboard KPIs, the analytics platform can automatically diagnose or uncover drivers affecting business performance. All this helps automate repetitive tasks, getting you information faster so you can focus on answering more important questions. Instead of asking, “What happened?” you can start figuring out why things happened.
5) Designed for the Cloud
Birst’s native cloud architecture saves organizations money with a lower total cost of ownership and faster deployments by using the private or public cloud. It also comes with completely open integration so that you can implement it within your IT environment. With Infor Birst, you never need to worry about upgrades. Everything is centrally managed through one single cloud BI infrastructure.
Infor Birst Business Benefits in Action
All these benefits sound great in the abstract, but let’s demonstrate how Birst can benefit your organization with a more specific scenario.
Imagine a company that uses an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution and a customer relationship management (CRM) solution for their sales reps. Sounds pretty reasonable, right? The issue is a setup like this one means that customer data resides in two separate places—in the CRM and the ERP—going against the entire reason these systems were deployed in the first place.
To extract data from multiple sources, our imaginary company would have to build data integrations between the two systems and then govern the compiled data for accuracy, requiring a significant investment of time, money, and resources. But with Birst, unifying this data into a single view to improve visibility into customers, sales pipeline, opportunities, and much more would be seamless.
What Do I Need to be Aware of With Infor Birst?
Infor Birst offers Lawson users tons of advantages when it comes to analytics capabilities; however, there are aspects of it to be aware of before jumping in head-first, especially with reporting. The bad news is that Birst reports cannot currently be embedded into the standard Infor OS application screen. The good news is that Infor is not only working on that functionality but Global Human Resources (GHR) and CloudSuite Financials (CSF) will automatically come with some pre-built reports by Birst right out of the box.
These pre-built reports might perfectly fit your organization’s needs, but then again, they might not. Birst’s interactive dashboards, embedded analytics, and patented machine learning technology are designed to reduce the need to build your own reports in Lawson V11, which means you may find them a bit limited compared to what you could do with LBI and Crystal Reports in V10.
Getting Started with Infor Birst Business Intelligence
It’s critical to maintain consistency, visibility, and source unify data to make better business decisions. If you’re looking for the ideal BI platform to bring data from all your different systems together so that you can be confident that it’s accurate, Birst can give your business that confidence.
And if you’re ready to take advantage of the power of Infor Birst, Surety Systems can help. Our senior-level Infor Lawson consultants have the skills and experience to help you optimize the solution to fit your organization’s needs. To give you an idea of what our consultants could do for you, we’ve included an example profile of one of our best Infor Lawson consultants.
Surety Senior Infor Birst Consultant
- 20+ Years of ERP and Reporting Experience
- 17 Years of Lawson experience
- Lawson Supply Chain, Financials & HR/PR/BN experience
- LBI and Crystal reporting expert
- Experience with IBI, d/EPM and Birst Certified (experience planning reporting structure for future state in v11)
- Former Lawson Professional Services Consultant (9 years)
- Project Management experience & PMP Certification
Contact us today to learn more about how our consultants can help with your Infor Birst integration or any other Infor Lawson needs you may have.