How many of us have more than a handful of reporting solutions across our business systems? I know it’s shocking, but most companies do use that many reporting tools across their ERP system and other databases.
There are multiple problems with using numerous reporting tools. For instance:
- It gets pricey to maintain and purchase each reporting tool.
- It’s complex to maintain different user security models and related user management
- It’s hard to learn all features in every reporting tool
- It gets pricey to maintain and purchase each reporting tool
- Finally, it is almost impossible to consolidate the information from the different report writers into one place, so usually, users resort to manually exporting to- and formatting reports in Microsoft Excel.
This makes the reports prone to error and costly, as it takes a large amount of time to manually compile everything, which also results in delays in delivery of the information. Report writers that offer Excel add-ins provide Excel users a jump start on learning the reporting tool as most business users already have a lot of spreadsheet skills. Excel add-in tools also avoid the problems associated with manually exporting data to Excel for formatting
A common solution is to invest in one flexible report writer that can be used to generate statistical and operational reports and financial statements, and offers a DW where your data and information from different sources are compiled in a single database with the single reporter writer accessing all the information through the DW, and can distribute e-mails to end users or provide access through a web browser for end users, so they can use reports to answer any questions they may have without asking other people to run reports for them.
You can consolidate your report writers and achieve additional BI capabilities by aiming for a single BI solution that covers financial and operational reporting, data warehousing, budgeting and forecasting, and dashboards/analysis. This is also known as a BI suite. A tip to consider is to make sure the BI suite eliminates or reduces the need to maintain many report writers.