Your ERP dashboard has answers to questions about your business but what are the right questions and what answers do you expect?
Within your ERP software, you should have the following resources available:
- Business Analytics (BI)
- Executive Dashboards
- Predictive Analytics
- Online queries and drill down
- Financial Ratios
- Financial Reports
- Line Reports
We work with brilliant executives who need more information. An ERP dashboard may not provide the answers and the executives find it difficult to unravel the puzzle inside accounting and business management systems.
We begin by helping them understand every aspect of their business’s daily processes which are captured through enterprise execution. This information ends up in their database history. The database represents the reporting engine’s fuel. This fuel, thought of as the energy, is used by other systems within the ERP system. The data is moved with skillfully crafted decision support questionnaire outputs.
We can look at a few these information extraction engines built as part of ERP. By taking a closer look, you will have the ability to use more of the systems and trust their outcomes.
Most data is static, remaining at rest until called upon to render information and put it to good use.
Reports feel like a long drawn out painful scheme within IT and some business executives are overwhelmed with confusion. Data needs distillation into usable corporate graphic scenes telling executives what is going on, and hopefully what to do about it. Only when the big picture is visible and accepted as truth, do we need any details.
If we look only at the real landscape version, we stop wasting time and get down to business.
Some would call these analytics, others call it dashboarding while others say we must find ways of quickly distilling and presenting only meaningful information focused for each group of information consumers.
Of these analytical reporting engines, those that move a business fastest and closest to comprehension and decision support will be the most valuable to your business and department.
Well crafted parameters (questions) are the first step in understanding the value of what you get back from an inquiry. Your questions need framing to enhance your ERP’s understanding of what it is you are asking.
Most ERPs come with some standard, tailorable outputs. Those standard reports yield what it was the developer thought you should consider. In today’s global business climates, almost nothing is standard when it comes to analytics and reporting.
Crafting your questions into ERP parameters may require some help and more than one person from multiple disciplines will help formulate your best first “guess” at your output needs. Analytics is a science and for your business what goes in determines what comes out. The adage, GIGO (garbage in garbage out) applies well.
How then do you chose participants and what disciplines do you bring together to consume data-fuel?
Take a look at the ebook "How to Avoid Groundhog Day Meetings". The ebook will help kick off your thinking to include those best suited for formulation meetings. By not overcrowding the attendee count, you will only include those who should participate. This condensed group will distil faster because focus and purpose are streamlined.
Once you have prepared questions, include your IT department to parse into code, that the group has defined as necessary and meaningful to your objectives. You may have a few more meetings to solidify and buy off the contents, however, you have spent well the focus-group's time.
ERP examples of reporting and analytics come in many forms, here are some to consider:
- Email recipient groups when generated
- Schedule and distribute on Monday, Wednesday, the third Friday, at 7:30 before the AM meetings
- Establish secure repositories with content reliably accessed from anywhere
- Initiate mobile platforms where presentation and availability exists
- Build teams of employees focused on specific needs to eliminate waste
- Schedule periodic review of all output
- Bring others into discussions as necessary and valid
- Ask your ERP for help – we don’t know what we don’t know
The value of data outputs is assessed when the proper formulation has resulted in confirmed value over time; one report may be another’s nightmare.
Part of report dissemination may require a training exercise to bring others up to speed.
Presumptuous of knowledge and understanding surrounding expectations of any output may be intimidating.
A key value component includes making sure those who consume the data also understand the purpose.