If you don’t have a dynamic, modern financial reporting tool, you are practically treading water in today’s business world of data management and analytics, instead of fully competing in your sector. This article will discuss your options for features and functionalities that third party solutions are offering, so you have a head start in your search for the best report writer for your SAP Business One (SAP B1) ERP system.
Financial reporting tools empower business end users to create custom reports that evaluate your transactional data from your data sources, whether you are reporting directly from SAP B1, a Customer Relationships Management (CRM) program, and/or from a data warehouse or an online analytical processing (OLAP) cube. Most accounting systems come equipped with a reporting function, but there are several independent software vendor (ISV) products that you should consider for faster, smarter, and easier-to-use report writing. ISV solutions are enabling finance departments to produce unique, reusable report templates that offer accessible analyses for corporate decision-making, for richer intel that help you to envision and execute a successful future for your company. When shopping around to improve data management and analysis processes, it will be important to weigh your choices when it comes to integration methods, Excel, Web, mobile and/or proprietary platforms, and overall ease of use for your business end users.
When investing in a report writer, you should consider how you would like to pull your data as the foundation of your decision-making. You should really analyze which method is more beneficial to achieving specific goals, whether you are generating reports with information directly from SAP B1 or integrating from a BI data store. Integrating live from SAP B1 means a real-time analysis, right from the B1 server. Additionally, you won’t have to replicate the requisite company information to a BI data store to achieve an up-to-the-minute analysis.
An investment in a BI data store will cost you more of your budget, whether that means staff to develop or oversee an OLAP cube or purchasing a fully built, configurable data warehouse solution. On the other hand, if you have several users who are working simultaneously in SAP B1, running sometimes substantial data queries, a BI data store will allow you to avoid a sluggish SAP server, while still utilizing a high performance solution.
Both BI360 and BizNet are Excel-based applications that integrate live to SAP B1 and other accounting systems, but most third party software only integrates reporting information from a BI data store. Speaking of Excel, you should also be considering what type of platform you and your team prefer to utilize when designing reports.
Most finance teams are comprised of former accounting and business majors who have been utilizing Excel since at least undergrad years. Some third party software vendors have created their own interfaces for their report writers, and they are usually going to assert that Excel is a logistical mess, especially in regard to manually linking and managing spreadsheets, not to mention security. However, because Excel is nearly ubiquitous around the world, the features, functions, formulas, and formatting are all so familiar at this point that most finance professionals are power users. Excel-based reporting tools are a ribbon add-in to the toolbar at the top of Excel that enhances Microsoft’s spreadsheet application with functionality that ensures that you can enjoy accounting logic and secure collaboration. BI360 and BizNet are database-structured Excel interfaced offerings, allowing Excel users to hit the ground running with learning to get the most out of their reporting tool and eliminating any manual spreadsheet report writing problems. Excel might be pretty engrained into the finance world culture, but Web-based reporting and Cloud computing is the present and future for BI analyses.
To clarify, Cloud computing means that your software is hosted by a third party hosting provider, off site and on the web. Browser-based tools can be hosted on-premises or in the Cloud, but either option will empower users to securely access, manage, and evaluate your data from anywhere you can connect to the internet. When it comes to financial reporting, you can now create and run reports on the internet, with complete collaborative and drill-down abilities. You have a couple of options: a pure Cloud reporting tool, which usually pulls information from a BI data store, so you won’t be able to perform a live, real-time analysis; and a hybrid – an Excel-powered, Web-based financial report writer.
Because business is now typically an around-the-clock, around-the-globe cycle, a lot of organizational collaboration is spread out and consists of diverse staffing, locations, and divisions. Browser-based reporting is really beneficial for companies that are functioning in this spread out format, especially with remote personnel regularly connecting to the company server(s) and/or network while out of the office. Host Analytics and Adaptive Insights are pure Cloud offerings, with proprietary interfaces where your information is pulled from SAP B1 and moved into the vendor’s Cloud, while BI360 is a solution that provides users the flexibility related to the hybridity of producing reports in Excel, within a browser, or on a mobile application. So, don’t just rush to implement the first Cloud or web-based tool; you need to be sure that it is easy to use and flexible enough for your needs. You wouldn’t want to waste your money on a “solution” that is too complex for your business end users to manage.
It was only a matter of time, after Web-based financial reporting established itself as a heavy hitter in the software world, before mobile reporting applications would extend the flexibility of data management and analytics as we knew it. You can’t design financial statements on a mobile app yet, but you can view and drill down on your SAP B1 data. Similarly, do not get swept up in the appeal of mobile reporting and forget about your particular BI goals. For the time being, mobile apps should be perceived as a bonus to a financial report writer. It might be more beneficial to implement a financial reporting tool that is part of a complete suite of fully integrated BI software.
When seeking the right financial report writer for your particular BI objectives, you should evaluate what features and functions will assist you in tackling present and future issues. Where you would like to be doesn’t have to be such an aspirational vision, with today’s modern, affordable options. Solver, Inc. is happy to answer questions and generally review BI360’s easy-to-use Excel, web, and mobile platforms for real-time or data warehouse integrated analysis and collaboration, with the option of email distribution of reports, as the best report writer for SAP Business One.