Business Intelligence for Sage X3

This article discusses Business Intelligence (BI) solutions for a best-of-breed Sage X3 experience that delivers complete insight through reporting and analytics.

Today’s business world requires that our processes and technological tools be accessible and flexible.  Mobile Business Intelligence (BI) applications are one example of precisely how third party software vendors are answering consumers’ calls for solutions that can keep up with the fast pace of the international marketplace, including financial reporting, data management, and analytics for Sage X3 customers.  Nowadays, you should be investing in and depending on BI tools that are flexible enough for your organization regarding how you access your transactional and operational data for more efficient, richer decision-making, no matter if you’re on the road or in the office.  Independent software vendors (ISVs) are producing BI tools with this flexibility built right in to improve the end user experience.

ISV solutions are broadening Sage X3 feature and functionality offerings by providing best-of-breed financial reporting, planning, data visualizing and storage/management.  Moreover, modern BI tools are giving the business end user some choices.  Most of us know what it’s like to be out of the office when you need access to company data – and usually, it’s an urgent task.  If you’re still using on-premises BI tools, you are not alone, but you know that having to be in the office or rely on sometimes shaky remote access applications, like VPN, Citrix, or Terminal Server, can be restrictive.  If you’re seeking a true upgrade, you can do better in terms of software to meet modern, on-the-go business demands.  Let’s get into actual solutions.

There are a few aspects you’ll want to think about when shopping for a BI tool upgrade that helps your team meet their goals.  Consider your options for integrating your data: do you require a live integration because your work demands real-time analytics from Sage X3 – or would integrating from a BI data store, like an OLAP cube or a data warehouse, be more helpful?  Do you need both?  Next up: platform choices.  Would you like to stick with Excel in the form of an add-in software that offers your business end users the familiarity to more quickly learn the added functionality in the new BI solution?  Perhaps a web-based tool would be the more substantial upgrade that you’re seeking since your team can access information anywhere you can connect to the internet.  Luckily, some tools are Excel-powered on the web regarding report design.  Similarly, mobile apps are becoming more popular because you’re able to access financial reports, dashboards, and KPIs from your mobile device.  You should also consider tools that are positioned within a comprehensive suite of fully integrated BI modules that can streamline your BI tasks.

Today’s BI technology solutions typically either integrate directly from Sage X3 for real-time financial statements and data visualizations or by depending on an online analytical processing (OLAP) cube or a data warehouse.  Simply, with flexibility being such an important product differentiator for today’s software, why implement technology that can integrate exclusively one way?  Some options allow you to select how you want to query information for a particular process.  If you’re a smaller group with fewer users and lesser data queries, a live integration from Sage X3 will probably suffice.  Organizations that would like to avoid a sluggish Sage X3 server, due to more than one user sometimes simultaneously querying data sets, will do better to incorporate the high performance of a BI data store.  It also never hurts to plan ahead.  If your company growth goals will likely deliver more logistically challenging workflow over the horizon, you should invest in technology that accommodates such developments.  The premier tools will deliver flexibility in the shape of hybridity.

Flexibility is closely associated with what should definitely be your #1 priority in technology: business user friendliness.  Since Excel is nearly ubiquitous, solutions that are powered by the globally trusted spreadsheet application invite users into a familiar interface instead of having to learn a whole new set of formatting, formulas, and coding, which you’ll have to do in a proprietary platform.  The top Excel-driven reporting and planning solutions accelerate the program with powerful accounting and business logic and sub-ledger analytics for simpler design and more robust results.  There are other features and functions you should be considering when seeking the ease of use and flexibility you want and need from BI technology today.

Today’s BI solutions combine the familiarity of Excel and the flexibility of web and mobile into one interface.  Cloud and browser-based technology only becomes more desirable by the day, and BI tools are on trend.  Decision-making and deadlines don’t wait until you get back to the office, so consider BI solutions that offer you access to your information on the web, preferably software that is Excel-powered in terms of formatting, so you can easily move between platforms.  When you’re pinpointing your company’s specific BI process needs, consider staff that already works remotely, who will be working remotely in the future, and who will still be on-premises every day.  Your users should be able to access, manage, and analyze financials from anywhere with an internet connection, and you have some options to do exactly that, including on a mobile device.

Cloud- and browser-based solutions are here to stay for BI, and mobile devices are an extension of that experience for Sage X3.  As most of us constantly carry a smartphone, it makes perfect sense that BI analytics would make their way onto our mobile devices.  Because mobile BI is still new-ish, not every ISV have developed a mobile app.  Another uncommon offering:  a complete BI suite of fully integrated tools.

Perhaps you’re currently only looking to overhaul your GL-only financial reporting for Sage X3, but don’t let that be the reason to exclusively look at stand-alone report writers.  If you anticipate organizational growth, you should consider BI suites that also provide budgeting, dashboards, and/or a BI data store.  If you opt for a stand-alone reporting tool now, you could be forced to piece together software from different software companies, which means multiple vendors, consultants, and support teams – or you’ll end up replacing the stand-alone reporting tool with one that is part of a BI suite.  You have a lot to consider, but Solver, Inc. is happy to answer questions and generally review BI360’s web-powered, easy-to-use Excel and mobile BI tools with both real-time or data warehouse integrated analysis, budgeting and collaboration as a way to accelerate company performance management beyond Sage X3.

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