Reporting is considered a necessary evil by a lot of people. Without clear, accurate, and comprehensive reports, there is no way to know how your company is performing. Yet the amount of time, input, and resources that reporting requires means it can drag down performance in the process. Companies can’t operate blindly, but they also can’t spend days, or even weeks, pouring information into static spreadsheets.
Fortunately, they no longer have to. Companies that use SAP products to collect their enterprise data don’t need to settle for out-of-the-box reporting capabilities. Instead, they can add new tools and techniques to their arsenal that make reporting faster, easier, and better overall. Follow these recommendations, and then learn about the impact superior SAP reporting and automation had on one company:
Automate Data Integration
The best reports condense massive amounts of information into a digestible format. Therefore, the best reporting takes the most work manually entering data, consolidating databases, and tracking down missing figures. Instead of relying on accountants to do this work, rely on automated solutions to locate and integrate data at lightning fast speeds. Automated reporting saves hours of work; time that can be better spent analyzing company performance.
Access Live ERP Data
Reporting based on historical data means the insights will always be outdated. Decision makers require the most current information, but trying to pull it out of SAP manually has been nearly impossible until now. Newer tools can continuously collect data in real time so that changes and updates are immediately reflected in the data going into reports. This critical capability ensures that reports reflect the present and not the past.
Remove IT from the Equation
Another obstacle to reporting is having to rely on the IT department to add specific data or build up customized reporting models. Ideally, accountants and other decision makers can easily create their own reports. Newer tools have made the technical aspects of reporting streamlined and intuitive so that users across the organization can quickly access the information they need.
Leverage Familiar Tools
A great SAP reporting strategy should make sweeping improvements without reinventing the wheel. That means upgrading the tools that users already know and like, namely Excel. Most people involved with reporting have used Excel their entire careers. Therefore, it makes sense to keep using its familiar look and feel along with dynamic tools that improve on its existing reporting capabilities.
Excellent SAP Reporting in Action
When United Laboratories wanted to upgrade its reporting capabilities, it decided to implement Spreadsheet Server, an enterprise reporting tool compatible with 130+ ERP solutions, including SAP. The new tool enabled the lab to eliminate intensive manual inputs and work independently of IT. Officials estimate their IT dependence has decreased by 75 percent, whereas employee productivity has improved 100 percent. Those numbers are not surprising, considering that Spreadsheet Server allowed the company to produce 10-50 different reports using automation.
The real reason reporting is essential is because you can’t improve performance without first understanding your strengths and weaknesses. Reporting reveals what those are, making it vital to report early, often, and comprehensively.
As you continue to explore enhanced reporting, focus on one of the most ubiquitous tools, the spreadsheet. Love them or hate them, spreadsheets are not going anywhere. If you’re ready to turn a static spreadsheet into a dynamic reporting asset, download this free resource from the experts at insightsoftware.