Reporting and analytics are key components for any business, and Business Intelligence (BI) tools are also quickly becoming a must-have for organizations that want detailed, real-time reporting. To get the most value from these, it’s essential to make sure you have seamless, efficient tools and processes around them. But when different areas of your company are running customized solutions designed for the specific needs of a department, it can lead to unreliable, disjointed reporting that doesn’t fully integrate data across these silos. To overcome this, many companies choose to have one comprehensive business management solution that interfaces with their other systems, resulting in more accurate, reliable data and better reporting. However, this may not work if customized solutions are a critical factor to maintaining your competitive edge. So how do you improve the quality of your reports and analytics while still reaping the benefits of your customized systems?
Bringing Your Data Together
Moving your organization toward a single system may not be practical for all companies, but there are still ways to improve the value of business intelligence. Imagine having a data warehouse, where information from several different databases can be stored and organized. Then, you can generate meaningful reports in whatever form works best – graphs, charts, spreadsheets or applications. You may want to view those reports in other formats such as Excel, or share links to the relevant information via Outlook or integrate the reports into your SharePoint platform. Once the initial hurdle of compiling that data into one warehouse is overcome, managing that information becomes much simpler. This creates a “best of both worlds” scenario – you still benefit from the unique capabilities of your customized solution, while also having reliable reporting and analytics from across your organization.
Advances in report writers themselves are also driving the single-reporting movement. Where it was once necessary to understand the source code in order to create the queries and generate a certain report, the best report writers now use wizards to guide the user. By asking the right questions, these wizards generate the necessary queries behind the scenes from the user’s responses. The technical hurdles to report generation are wiped out by a good wizard.
Getting From Chaos to Cohesion
How do you move down the path from chaotic reporting with disparate systems to a single reporting source? If different areas of your organization are committed to their own unique ERP, CRM or accounting system, you need a way to provide timely, accurate reporting without having to reconcile the data from those multiple systems.
Here are a few steps to consider if you’re looking for ways to achieve this:
Comprehensive solution – The first consideration should always be to consolidate your disparate systems into one business management software solution. If that’s not workable, there are other alternatives to achieve single source reporting.
Data warehouse – Building a data warehouse is a good option for compiling information across disparate systems. When disparate data is managed in one place, it means your BI reporting tools can do their job more efficiently and accurately.
Report writers – Modern report writers do not require understanding of high-level programming languages; wizards do much of the work. This empowers your managers and end users to create new reports without assistance.
Data access – A single source of reports can push information out in any number of formats useful to your organization.
Generating reports, analytics and Business Intelligence for your organization should not be the most difficult task that you accomplish each day, because it’s one of the most important. If time was money, ask yourself how much you are currently spending on this. To learn more about how single source reporting can help consolidate your data and improve your reporting processes, contact us today. By increasing visibility into your organization, we can help you make better decisions about your business and maintain your competitive edge.