Why you need enterprise reporting software: 3 warning signs to watch for

  • Richard Thelwell
  • March 2, 2015

enterprise reporting software warning signsWhy do we need enterprise reporting software? It’s a good question, and it’s no surprise that many businesses ask it. Because for many businesses, enterprise reporting software doesn’t seem like a priority. In short, a combination of the reports built into their ERP system, plus purpose-written SQL reports, does a reasonable job.

But modern-day enterprise reporting software could do a better job—a very much better job. Better access to information. Faster access to information. And better, more accurate information—with the ability to drill down, and look beyond the basics.

So let’s take a look at the sort of warning signs which indicate that your business would benefit from a move to today’s enterprise reporting software.

Enterprise reporting software ‘warning signal’ #1: too many spreadsheets

Spreadsheets are the first clue that your present reporting environment isn’t giving users what they want.

Because in the absence of ready access to the data and reports that they want, they’ve fallen back on spreadsheets to provide them with information. Lots and lots of spreadsheets.

enterprise reporting software spreadsheets
Effective enterprise reporting software can reduce a companies reliance on manually created spreadsheets.

What’s wrong with spreadsheets? Plenty. Not only do up to 80% of spreadsheets contain at least one error, but user-built spreadsheets rarely agree with each other—leading to multiple versions of the truth, and time spent arguing over whose spreadsheet is correct.

Plus, it’s not uncommon to find that users spend 90% of their time in building and maintaining spreadsheets, and just 10% of their time on analysing what their spreadsheets are telling them.

Modern-day enterprise reporting software, on the other hand, provides one version of the truth, provides it instantaneously and on-demand, and frees-up users to analyse information, not acquire it.

Enterprise reporting software ‘warning signal’ #2: overloaded IT functions form a report-writing bottleneck

But why, exactly, are users forced to build all these spreadsheets? Ask them, and they’ll tell you that the information that they’re looking for isn’t one of the ERP system’s standard reports, and that they can’t get a custom-written report created.

Which is a very, very common scenario. Because writing SQL reports isn’t for the faint-hearted—even among a business’s power users. Simply put, it’s a job for IT, who are generally very busy with other things.

Which leads users to an awkward decision. Join a long, long queue—knowing that they might never reach the top of the pile? Or build yet another spreadsheet?

So if your business is starved of actionable information, and struggling with overloaded IT resources, then an enterprise reporting software solution could at a stroke give users they data they need.

Moreover, with ‘self-serve’ reporting, they’ll be able to call up their own reports and queries, as and when they want answers.

Enterprise reporting software ‘warning signal’ #3: more questions than answers

The third warning sign is best summed-up as ‘poor analytics’. And typically, it is experienced as a business’s existing reporting environment leaving it with more questions than answers.

Some of these questions are ‘dual variable’ questions, looking at two data dimensions in parallel—with perhaps one of the dimensions having to be calculated.

enterprise reporting software questions
Enterprise reporting software can give you the answers you need, instead of more questions.

In terms of sales analytics, for instance, a business might ask itself which are its most profitable customers. Conversely, which are its least profitable customers? What margins are achieved by the best-performing salespeople, looked at on a ‘revenues sold’ basis? What are margins achieved by the worst-performing salespeople?

Another common warning sign is an inability to ‘drill down’ to see what lies behind the information contained in a report. That particular data point looks odd, for example—so what caused it?

A traditional SQL report can’t tell you this, forcing you to pick up the phone or send an e-mail to someone who might have the answer. With modern enterprise reporting software, on the other hand, you can find the information yourself, in seconds.

Enterprise reporting software: begin the journey today

Want to know more? Take a look at our case studies—many of them directly echo precisely these three warning signs.

Alternatively, download the eBook below. Either way, you’re about to learn more about how modern Cloud-based alternatives to traditional enterprise reporting software have never been as powerful to use, as quick to deploy, or required so little in-house IT resource.