Current enterprise systems come loaded with pre-written ERP reports, but the list never covers all user needs – these systems mainly just come with the preferred report as advertised for the end-user. Ultra has found it often takes users weeks or months to master these report-writing tools.
Standard ERP Reports and Report Writing
The importance of report writing is often overlooked as a critical step in an enterprise software implementation. Information is the goal of the ERP implementation, and both strategy and capable resources are required to achieve this goal.
Report writing needs to fall into the following categories:
- Forms such as invoices, order acknowledgments, purchase orders, receivables statements, payables checks, etc.
- Managed reports produced on a reoccurring basis
- Ad hoc reports that are usually one-time, “I need this information now” reports
- Analytical reports that show data and help analyze what is happening
- Executive dashboards that provide a snapshot of business performance against the company’s key performance indicators (KPIs)
All of these items need to be considered in a comprehensive report writing strategy that identifies needs at all levels, report-writing tools, data deployment (data warehouse versus data marts), and report deployment methods.
Ultra’s Approach to ERP Reports
The development of ERP reports and forms is a significant task that cannot be taken lightly. Oftentimes it is access to information that is a key driver of the project.
During the Business Process Improvement (BPI) phase of the project, the project team should be sure to document forms and reports used in the business process. In addition, the team should gather key performance indicators used to manage the business.
In the development of the future state, the team will define the reporting strategy. The strategy will document the following:
- Key performance metrics
- Transactions and dimensions
- Information needs
- Analysis needs
In the education phase, the team will understand the many types of reporting tools:
- Transaction grid queries
- Published reports
- Ad hoc reports
The reporting strategy will define how all these reporting tools are used to improve access to information.