Here is a pair of eye-opening statistics: 96 percent of the healthcare CFOs who responded to a recent survey think their organization needs improvement in utilizing financial and operational analytics. At the same time, 94 percent report experiencing more pressure to drive enterprise performance using financial insights. In both these instances, we can see CFOs wanting and needing to make better use of data but struggling to identify how.
ERP reporting tools are the best solution because they are explicitly designed to turn data into insights. They improve upon the underwhelming reporting tools packaged with most ERP solutions by giving users more control, customization, and visibility. That said, not all ERP reporting tools are created equal, and some do very little to make data more accessible and actionable. So how do you choose the right option? Look for these criteria:
- Easy Implementation Requirements – Implementing the solution should be easy and quick, even if some customization is involved. The sooner the solution is up and running, the sooner users can start generating better reports.
- Expansive Data Integrations – The best ERP reporting tools automatically collect data from multiple sources (inside and outside the ERP) based on requirements defined by users. Automation can find more data in less time with fewer mistakes, turning hours of work into minutes. Meanwhile, the finance team can focus their efforts on something else.
- User-Friendly Features and Functions – Reporting tools don’t have to be confusing to be comprehensive. Ideally, the features are so intuitive and accessible that anyone (with permission) can start generating reports without needing special skills or training. So-called “self-service reporting” empowers more stakeholders to use data-driven insights in decision making.
- Minimal IT Requirements – Previously, the reporting process relied heavily on the IT department to collect and analyze data, slowing things down significantly. Both the finance and the IT departments would prefer to use reporting tools that cut out the middlemen and connect data directly with users.
- Scalable and Adaptable Designs – Reporting requirements are always changing. Reporting tools must be able to adapt in kind by incorporating more substantial amounts of data or enabling new types of analytics. Static, inflexible reporting tools may start as an asset, but their utility wears off quickly.
- Visualizations – Great ERP reporting tools don’t just analyze data, they translate it into a format that is faster and easier to digest. Visualizations like charts and graphs help to highlight the key takeaways from reports as well as the relationships between important data points. They also add a novel design element that helps distinguish reports from spreadsheets.
In addition to evaluating the tools themselves, take some time to vet the vendor. The best ones are tech partners who understand the needs of your company and the challenges of modern reporting. insightsoftware has developed a suite of tools with all the required capabilities, and we strive to make those tools as accessible as possible.
As you consider options, beware of the hazards. Learn how to avoid common problems that could lead you to choose the wrong solution by downloading our free resource now.