Importance of Reporting in ERP
With the ERP market still in a phase of rapid expansion, we explore the importance of having strong reporting functionality with your ERP system to achieve maximum return on technology investment.
From finance and operations to inventory, sales and purchasing, an ERP system touches almost every part of a business, providing top-level control. Recent research by TEC noted that nearly 50% of companies are soon planning or have started acquiring or upgrading an ERP system. Many companies invest in ERP systems to act as their central system and often dedicate time to manage, customise and optimise them to suit ever-changing business needs while some organisations opt for systems that are geared towards specific industry verticals such as construction, manufacturing, or hospitality.
ERP systems hold a huge amount of organisational data and while it is important to have a space where you can manage and input your data day-to-day, being able to report is critical. In today’s business environment, everything is data-driven and automated. However, your data is only valuable if you can access it and easily report on it, and according to TEC the top three places that ERP systems appear to fall short for users is in relation to data accuracy, analytics, and user experience. While many newer and cloud-based ERP systems have built-in or easily integrated reporting tools, some ERP systems often older or on-premise solutions are not as efficient. Deloitte noted some of the key challenges that come with an insufficient ERP reporting strategy as poor data quality, misaligned chart of accounts, poor enterprise-wide visibility, ineffective reporting governance and no single source of truth. Bridging the disconnect between data and timely reporting can bring benefit an organisation in many ways.
Each business department needs to plan and forecast to help drive and prioritise activities and resources. Working with inaccurate data can lead to poor forecasting and planning leading to missed goals or objectives.
Strategic Decision Making
Real-time and reliable data reports are essential in supporting business decisions taking the guesswork and assumptions out of critical conversions.
Speed and Trend Identification
Improved reporting allows working teams to become more proactive and responsive as they can make decisions quickly and respond to issues in real-time which can also lead to a faster time to marker. Analysing data will show any trends that could hinder or support business objectives and allow organisations to act appropriately
Improved Communication and Productivity
Access to data can greatly improve team productivity as teams can accurately track performance and become more motivated. Similarly, communication can be improved with good reporting, especially between departments and managers.
Overall efficient reporting drives many benefits for companies with Solutions Review research on ERP reporting ROI showing that companies who use more streamlined and automated reporting required 49% fewer reports and spent 39% less on business performance reporting labour. For organisations who are considering upgrading their ERP system to one that has more advanced reporting or adding in some intelligent reporting software, there are many different options on the market. Below are some guidelines to consider when defining your reporting strategy.
One Version of the Truth
The best way to achieve this is to have a single platform to integrate all data from all sources so it is easier to measure across a common set of data elements. A common data platform can help set up data for other reporting solutions if they are in use as they provide a consistent space for data analysis.
Dynamic Reporting Tools
Reporting tools should work to reduce the manual task of pulling multiple data sets to consolidate into one report which will in turn save time and allow for deeper analysis of data. Tools should also have the flexibility to allow the user to input dynamic data queries and allow all departments to easily pull relevant reports. It also helps if reports can be visual in nature.
Implementing data and reporting governance standards, processes and policies can help create a consistent baseline and measurement of data quality and reporting packages. Intelligent reporting tools can ensure that users only have access to the data they need depending on department or seniority.
If you would like to learn more about how Microsoft's Business Central can help meet your organisation's reporting needs, contact us today to speak to a specialist or watch our recent webinar on Business Central.