Organizations today have more data than ever before. This can be overwhelming if there isn’t a process in place to arrange and chart high volumes of information. To gain a competitive advantage, increase productivity and foster company growth, businesses are focusing on analytics to understand what problems exist and how to solve them.
A key part of the solution is a powerful ERP reporting strategy that uses accurate, consistent and real-time data to leverage companies into a position of profitability and competitiveness.
Why do you need an ERP reporting strategy?
ERP reporting software allows organizations to contain a large volume of critical business and customer information. However, as the tech for data gathering improves, it doesn’t necessarily raise other aspects of enterprise software too. In fact, 97% of CFOs aren’t sure if their financial reporting quality is good enough and 86% of finance teams claim their analytics are not useful.
As a result, companies must have the right set of reporting tools to analyze their data. Otherwise, it’s not going to deliver business insights and drive strategic decisions and can become a waste of an investment, both financially and time-wise.
How to create the best ERP reporting strategy
The most useful financial reports are precise, succinct and, most importantly, actionable. Refining your ERP strategy to make sure every employee is reporting to a high standard is integral to a well-oiled system. As such, successful strategies are designed to be team efforts, not solo responsibilities.
Keep reading to learn about the essential building blocks of a successful ERP reporting strategy that can take your current process to the next level.
1. Ensure your data is high-quality
Having clear, consistent data is paramount for a successful ERP. If you aren’t 100% confident in your business analytics, it’s very difficult to know how to use your resources efficiently.
Furthermore, by promoting data integrity, businesses can eliminate duplicate and unreliable information submitted through consumer surveys and other forms of communication. This even helps sales teams understand the needs of specific customers, facilitating long-term success for the company.
Accurate data can be used to validate crucial business decisions, so clearly it’s important to ‘clean your data’ - but how can you do that?
Gartner suggests that organizations do the following:
- Create a formal style guide to establish data standards
- Involve the CEO with assigning responsibilities for data management and consult with them to clarify objectives
- Manage data in one location, but spread accountability across the company
- Keep the bigger picture in mind
2. Self-service reporting
In most cases, users need to request a report from the IT department and wait until they’ve been granted access to view it. This reliance on tech professionals stems from the underlying data being too complex for non-experts to comprehend.
Instead, a self-service ERP reporting strategy is more user-friendly and intuitive enough for users with little training to navigate through. This kind of financial reporting isn’t so focused on organizing the data clearly, but on defining parameters. For just one report, this could save hours of valuable company time.
3. Streamline the data you collect
To develop an optimal ERP reporting strategy, it’s important to know that less really is more. When you collect a large variety of data, it’s likely that some of it isn’t actually useful.
So, rather than scrutinizing every possible dataset you can find, consider the metrics that resonate most with your overall business goals. If you’re unsure what metrics are important for your objectives, take a moment to develop a hierarchy, starting with the most significant analytics.
4. Automate the process
Traditionally, ERP reporting involves searching through various sources to find data, moving information from one folder to another and painstakingly categorizing analytics to show a vivid picture of a company’s performance.
This is a waste of time. Instead, businesses should look to automate the process, subsequently expediting the entire task by seamlessly searching ERP systems and other platforms for live data, before adding them to a report template for analysis. This is an extremely efficient method to save time for employees and redirect resources to other important operations.
5. Identify where your ERP reporting is failing
When you implement any new software within your business, the buzz around going live can be so exciting it generates false promises. It’s easy to think your new ERP reporting system will save everyone time and bring amazing results, but this comes with a series of problems.
For example, you might find that your employees have been too distracted by the hype and key members of staff aren’t trained properly in using the system or even reporting. Consequently, your IT department will have to deal with a mountain of requests and erroneous information.
To truly optimize your ERP reporting strategy, there has to be an emphasis on training. Accurate reporting is a critical aspect of an organization’s software, so employees should fully understand the functionalities of the system. By keeping them informed, they’ll identify ‘bad’ data quickly and, in turn, will reduce the number of backups, protecting your bottom line.
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