This article originally appeared in APAC CIO Outlook, December 2018.
The IT teams of today have reached a tipping point with data dumps from their ERP systems and a constant deluge of requests from business departments for reports. Amidst the never-ending set of demands from the business and the familiar reporting backlogs, frustration sets in as the tools provided by ERP vendors are slow, inflexible, and require a high level of technical competence to produce insightful reports in real time. In effect, when a business wants a new report, changes to a report, or has a one-off data request, the IT team needs to get involved. With IT resources in most organizations stretched beyond capacity, there is an inevitable delay before the business gets what it wants. Additionally, legacy ERP reporting tools cannot be replaced with modern BI tools as the technology cannot comprehend the complexities of legacy ERPs and neither does it contain any ERP “smarts.”
“Our goal is to help businesses make sense of the financial and operational data within their ERP while still maintaining security, audit, and control,” says Michael Lipps, CEO of insightsoftware. insightsoftware was established in early 2018 following a merger between Global Software, Inc. and insightsoftware.com with the mission to improve reporting systems. The company provides two main solutions, Hubble, a real-time reporting solution, built for JD Edwards and Oracle E-Business Suite, and Spreadsheet Server, an Excel-based reporting solution, which is capable of integrating with more than 130 ERP systems.
Designed for business clients, Hubble reduces IT dependence by enabling users to create their own inquiries.
The solution also provides users an opportunity to gain rapid insights as ad-hoc inquiries, reports, and dashboard applications run immediately, eliminating the inflexible and slow reports of legacy ERP. With a built-in ERP smarts system, financial and operational processing can be completed much faster. Budgets, forecasts, and plans are updated in real-time within the ERP, which shrinks the planning phase from months to weeks. “We provide an intuitive user experience for fast ramp-up, flexible report design with prebuilt templates, and greater autonomy to enable smarter decision-making and a more connected enterprise,” says Lipps.
Lipps highlights an interaction with Havelock Europa, an interior solution company for retail and lifestyle that was plagued with the complexities of “pallet forecasting,” the task of monitoring a product’s journey from the manufacturing floor to the allotted delivery trucks. This generally took a warehouse manager over four hours to account for all the variables and create a report. On deploying Hubble by insightsoftware, the reporting time was reduced down to eight seconds with an efficiency rate of 99.9 percent.
Spreadsheet Server, on the other hand, enables clients to easily connect and combine data from multiple ERP sources into a single worksheet to create dynamic reports with Excel capabilities in a secure environment. Spreadsheet Server reduces errors as well as system complexity considerably and provides real-time updates, which is faster than re-keying or downloading data into a spreadsheet.
To highlight the benefits of the solution, Lipps shares another slow reporting situation faced by Kokosing Construction Company. The client was dealing with a legacy ERP system and had to re-enter data manually into spreadsheets, a time-consuming process that also lacked real-time data and was vulnerable to errors. insightsoftware’s Spreadsheet Server enabled the client to streamline reporting, budgeting, and forecasting, as well as improve data extractions from the ERP. Additionally, it simplified tax audits and automated report distribution among departments. The client was able to save over 200 working hours annually while creating month-end financial reporting packages.
With a customer satisfaction rate as high as 94 percent, insightsoftware’s more than 140,000 enterprise users trust them to improve their business performance. “We endeavor to continue our quest of innovating and investing in cutting-edge financial and operational reporting technology to help improve data accuracy, integrity, and reliability,” concludes Lipps.