Did you know that 33% of financial leaders state that they need information delivery tools that allow quick data analysis? Quick access to accurate data is critical for strategic decision-making and financial success. Therefore, companies are increasingly investing in analytics tools that can help them transform unstructured ERP data into easy-to-understand recommendations that drive sound business decision-making. The tool must be quick, accurate, and simple to use and understand.
Most companies opt to make their own enterprise reporting systems using BI tools. However, this may be a more daunting task than it seems. This blog will cover the most significant challenges you might face when building your own enterprise reporting system.
Often, companies do not realize that creating a BI solution from scratch requires a massive investment of time and money.
There are five essential steps to building a solution that can help support enterprise reporting:
Step 1: Deploying a 3rd party connector:
ERP solutions usually come with pre-built connectors that can be purchased from a 3rd party. However, businesses that buy these connectors often struggle with design. This means that the unstructured data that it is pulling is not designed for usability. ERPs are designed to prevent data extraction, and thus they encounter errors when they consistently pull data. Therefore, a third-party connector requires building incremental data loading processes. However, with that comes the need for a dedicated ERP expert who can carry out the data transformation. A 3rd party connector might not keep up with the updates of the ERP solution. This means users will constantly have to test the tool for compatibility, and if the connector fails to integrate with your solution, you are looking at mountain loads of work and confusion.
Step 2: Data warehousing
Building a data warehouse for your solution is a difficult task requiring time and supervision. For example, the person who wants to build the report first needs to decide where to build the warehouse and then assign a developer/consulting firm to build and maintain it, which costs both time and money. The user also needs to create processes that extract, load, and transform data through a refresh schedule into the warehouse. Furthermore, a monitoring process must ensure accurate and consistent reporting. Lastly, the user will need to employ a dedicated team for managing the data warehouse.
Step 3: Building the data model
A data model is the instructions for how the transformed information or data interacts with the data warehouse that the user has created. It is a complex task, and users often run into problems in its process. For example, if the star schema is not designed correctly, the solution will not support additional data sources as it grows. Similarly, suppose the data model cannot facilitate a continuous sequential flow of transactions as the ERP system. In that case, the solution will not accurately report or analyze end-to-end business processes. Finally, another critical problem area here is that of ERP upgrades. For example, NetSuite usually updates twice a year. A NetSuite user will need a data model to support the new updates. The entire system will crash otherwise.
Step 4: Testing stage
Once the data model is complete, the user can now test the solution and see whether it is successfully reconciling data or not. The user is likely to build income statements, aging reports, etc. If the system is functional, then all is well. If not, then steps 1-3 need to be revisited by an expert to determine what exactly went wrong.
Step 5: Build your reports
If the solution passes the testing stage, the user can now build reports using data from the ERP solution. However, building reports is not an easy task as well. Each report requires a custom-written formula that calculates KPI, demonstrates quantitative data customized, and showcases data interactions. A BI and ERP expert is critical for authoring these formulas.
What is the solution?
If reading about the process can be so exhausting, imagine having to spend hours trying to figure out the right approach to creating your enterprise reporting system! Instead of building a completely new solution, most organizations purchase a pre-built BI solution. If you want to uncomplicate this entire process, ask yourself one question before you build or buy a BI solution:
Is your solution different or better than what is already available out there?
If the answer is no, you are better off buying a BI solution from a company. The chances are that it will cost you less and require much less effort on your part.
AlphaBOLD’s BOLDSuite Analytics is one such stellar solution –BOLDSuite Analytics uses our proprietary NetSuite data connector to pull NetSuite datasets into your BI environment. It merges them with other external data sources and loads up-to-date data quickly to tailor it to your exact needs. With BOLDSuite Analytics, users can create immersive, interactive reports and dashboards that provide data-driven insights that drive business decisions to improve visibility and profitability!
Our experts have developed multiple out-of-the-box reports to cater to the exact needs of all our clients across industries, for example:
- The budget vs. actuals report gives users a real-time financial overview to manage day-to-day financial operations.
- The order summary report shows users a breakdown of all the orders placed in a specific time, along with real-time inventory tracking, order rate calculation, net amount vs. quantity billed comparison.
- The sales commission report can automate monthly sales commissions, get an executive view of total sales done by day/ month/ quarter/ year, and track total sales summary by the customer by the sales rep with commission details.
- The project management report provides users with a complete breakdown of complex project data with drill-down charts and graphs. It allows them to track outcomes in real-time for faster decision making, keeping projects on schedule and budget, and analyzing data to understand specific patterns and trends.
Building an enterprise reporting system is a time-intensive and complex task that adds to the overall costs of the company. The cost of building the solution, along with that of hiring the experts needed to build, deploy, and monitor the solution is humungous. Therefore, buying a pre-built solution is not only the easier option but also the most beneficial one.
If you want to know more about BOLDSuite Analytics, then please reach out to us.