Don’t fall prey to these 3 Enterprise Reporting misconceptions

  • Richard Thelwell
  • October 9, 2014

enterprise reporting misconceptionsIn the absence of a coherent reporting strategy, businesses often find themselves subject to an array of dangerous delusions when it comes to Enterprise Reporting. These common misconceptions could severely hamper the ability to access important insights within your organisation.

In competitive industries, it is imperative that businesses are able to react to trends and make important decisions quickly. In order to facilitate this process, it is vital that key decision-makers are able to access the business insights specific to their role with relative ease.

Without an effective Enterprise Reporting solution, this process can often be complicated and time-consuming, as data is spread across multiple sources and often users lack the necessary skills to analyse the information. Without standardised procedures in place, there are likely to be a number of misconceptions concerning the best way to go about creating reports.

In this article, we take a look at three common ‘delusions’ which could be undermining your Enterprise Reporting efforts. These examples are based on the stories we have heard whilst talking to hundreds of companies about their management information and reporting challenges.

Enterprise Reporting delusion 1

One of the major difficulties with Enterprise Reporting is being able to differentiate between data manipulation and data analysis. You may have large volumes of data at your disposal and you may spend long periods of time manipulating this into something meaningful ¬– however, this does not necessarily equate to data analysis.

It is often the case that reports are so complex to produce that they take hours, or even days to build manually. This leaves little time to actually analyse the findings.

This problem is highlighted in the graphic below.

In short, without an efficient Enterprise Reporting strategy, the level of insight businesses can achieve is minimal, even though significant effort is required to get to this point.

Enterprise Reporting delusion 2

A second common issue with Enterprise Reporting is that different reports often result in very different outcomes. This can often lead to arguments over whose report is best and makes it increasingly difficult for a business to achieve a ‘single version of the truth’.

When data is spread across multiple ERPs and other systems, it can be difficult to achieve consistent Enterprise Reporting. These challenges can occur when:

  • Data is physically located on different servers, sites and countries
  • It is held in different database technologies e.g. MS SQL, Oracle, Informix or older, proprietary technologies
  • The ‘shape’ of the data is different in each system, held in tables with different names, columns and structures
  • Even if you run the same ERP vendor and version in different locations, coding schemes, product names, currencies and nominal accounts will differ from site to site
  • Data quality and duplication issues will be present across the estate of systems.

These issues are explored further in the graphic below where we take a look at the subjective nature of Enterprise Reporting and how this can cause bottlenecks to form.

Enterprise Reporting delusion 3

The final Enterprise Reporting delusion that we will look at is the assumption that users will be able to find the answers they need in a mass of empirical reports.

Businesses often find themselves in a position whereby they have a large number of reports from multiple sources and, as a result, it becomes difficult to access the information you need, when you need it.

Because there are so many different reports, it is difficult for user to know whether the answers they need are already contained in an existing report or whether a new one must be created.

Creating a new report may seem like the easier option but this often requires support from IT departments and can cause significant bottlenecks to form around these individuals.

To learn more about these Enterprise Reporting delusions – and find out how they can be avoided, –take a look at the full infographic here.

If any of these challenges resonate with you and your business, you may find it useful to explore a Business Intelligence and Reporting solution. To find out more, download our free e-book below.