hybrid cloud

There are more than 200,000 companies running on-premise ERP systems from Microsoft, Sage, SAP and Acumatica world-wide and many are not planning to move to the cloud yet. However, if you are one of them, this does not mean that your company can’t start taking advantage of modern cloud-based reporting solutions today to drive better and faster decisions for yourself and your management team!

Hasn’t Cloud-based reporting for on-premise ERPs been available for a long time?

Yes, vendors like Prophix, Solver, Vena, Adaptive Insights, and Planful (formerly Host Analytics) have offered both cloud-based financial reporting and budgeting for years. However, all of these vendors have typical corporate performance management (CPM) architectures that require data to be loaded from the on-premise ERP and into the cloud CPM tool before the user can run reports. 

The process requires a “refresh” of data from the ERP database into the CPM database which means that the data users see in reports is not real-time. This also mean that the drill-down on any number is only as detailed as the lowest level data that was loaded into the cloud CPM database. 

Your executives are often ok with this because they want to wait on their report analysis until the accounting team has closed the books. However, the accounting team that is posting transactions in the ERP system almost always prefers live ERP reporting because they want to immediately see the impact of journal entries in their reports. They don’t want to refresh data into a CPM reporting database first, and then wait one minute, ten minutes or significantly longer to run reports after the data has been transferred to the CPM tool.

How do I get true live reporting for my on-premise ERP GP data?  

The obvious answer is that you use the report writer that natively comes with your ERP system such as  Management Reporter, GP Report Writer, Smartlist or SQL Reporting Services (SSRS). However, at best, it would be safe to say that these tools have aged “gracefully,” and they are just not comparable to many modern cloud reporting tools.

Key weaknesses of on-premise report tools include:

  • Not particularly user-friendly for accounting staff to design reports.
  • Lack of easy and professional formatting.
  • Typically requires VPN or Terminal Server to connect to the ERP in order to run reports from outside the office network.
  • Maintaining multiple report writers for different data (e.g. for formatted financial statements versus sub-ledger transaction reports).

In order to overcome these weaknesses and help on-premise ERP customers maximize the value of their data a modern, cloud-based reporting platform, Solver has now launched what they refer to as “Hybrid Cloud Reporting.” You can see it live in this video. This is a unique integration technology that enables you to:

  • Use your web-browser to run beautifully formatted reports (looks like Excel formatting).
  • Benefit from true real-time reports on your ERP data without any data transfer to a separate reporting database.
  • Drill-down from any number in the report directly into your underlying GP transactional data. 
  • Easy internet and browser-based access with no need for VPN, or software like Terminal Server.
  • Enter budgets from user-friendly forms (looks like Excel) in the cloud and have the transactions stored directly into the GL budget table in the ERP database.
  • Be better prepared to move to a cloud ERP later because the reporting and budgeting solution is already in the cloud. 

In other words, now your accountants and reporting end-users get the best of two worlds by only needing a web browser to run live ERP reports and drill-down.

Below is a simple architecture diagram to explain how it works:

hybriddiagram

What about budgeting and forecasting?

Like many other cloud-based CPM solutions, Solver also offers budgeting and forecasting. With the new Hybrid Cloud technology and Solver’s cloud-based Planning Module, users can store budget data directly back from Solver’s budget forms in the cloud, into the General Ledger budget table in the ERP database. 

So, if you struggle with manual Excel-based spreadsheets for your budgets, you can save a lot of time by eliminating emailing files between users, linking between spreadsheets, and put better controls in place for the entire budget process with workflow and approvals. 

As an example, users can access budget forms like the example below with their browser and instantly, until you close the budget process, update their department’s budget in the ERP system. Since Solver’s Hybrid Cloud updates are real-time, reports can immediately be run to see the impact of these changes on the budget.

Enjoy Faster and Better Decisions in the 2020s

Companies like Solver, Prophix, Vena, Adaptive Insights, and Planful are driving the next generation cloud-based reporting and planning technology. However, with the lack of live reporting and live budget write-back to on-premise ERP systems, accountants and very active ERP users have been left with their legacy tools for their real-time reporting needs.  

With the release of Solver Hybrid Cloud, these users now get the best of both worlds and can start ushering in the 2020’s by enabling themselves and other users with faster and better decisions.  Learn more about the benefits of choosing Solver CPM solutions by contacting us today or requesting a demo. 

Supported ERP systems are: Microsoft Dynamics GP, SL, and NAV, Sage 100 (SQL)*, 300* and 500*, SAP Business One (SQL)*, and Acumatica*.

*) Direct budget writeback not offered for these ERPs.

 

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If you are reading this article, you may either be researching a vendor for a budgeting tool or have inherited a corporate performance management (CPM) software from your accounting department. No matter what situation you are in, I have encouraging words for you: The right CPM solution will save time and money. A key benefit of a CPM software is the ability to automate your processes. First, you will need to figure out how to improve your organization’s budget planning process.

Clean the Data

You may have had a similar process before adopting a CPM tool, but having a budgeting and business planning processes is critical. A CPM solution gives your company the exact data to make informed decisions. The data must be communicated in a timely manner. This allows companies to make decisions in response to actual accounting data compared with anticipated results during the budgeting period. This data must be clear for the decision makers. This can be ensured with the use of dashboards and a data warehouse.

 

One of our prior articles, Corporate Performance Management in the Future: How to Upgrade Reporting, Budgeting, Dashboards, and Data Warehouse Processes, discusses how executives put CPM platform projects as a high priority because they know that a well-planned and executed CPM implementation functions like an “exoskeleton for the business, surrounding every decision-maker with supportive technology to help them make smart and speedy decisions.” However, a well-versed CPM user knows that reports and forecasts are only as good as the data that drives them.

 

Companies will be leaders in their industries because they have successfully implemented a powerful CPM platform that enables their employees to make smart decisions. These companies have already started cleaning up their data. It can take years, which defines how successful their CPM solution will be because many companies have “dirty data” everywhere. This is mainly caused by the errors that inevitably come with manual data entry and gathering data from multiple sources.

Don’t Judge a Book by the Cover

Save time and money by automating manual processes. In this digital world, it’s surprising that companies still enter in their data manually.  Did you know that CPM software companies offer more than simple planning and reporting? The nature of CPM is constant evolving. For instance, planning has always been linked to annual budgeting. Instead of preparing only an annual budget, organizations are beginning to plan more frequently by developing monthly rolling forecasts. In other words, many organizations want to plan at a more detailed level than just the general ledger.

Therefore, when planning becomes more detailed, CPM functions as an operational analytical application. Companies use this as a foundation for planning at a higher and detailed level for budgeting and forecasting. In conclusion, a CPM tool facilitates a smooth, more efficient budgeting process across your entire organization. Learn how a cloud CPM solution like BI360 can help your business improve your organization’s internal processes here.

Do the Research

Feel free to look at software reviews and even compare corporate performance management tools on G2 Crowd to see which product is the best corporate performance management software for you and your company. CPM helps your business align financial and operational data to drive performance and better foster the health of your company. CPM helps with executing your organizational strategies. Keep in mind that strategies, goals, analysis and planning are a part of the CPM process. Selecting the best CPM software solution is a process that requires a great deal of research. If you are struggling to find a CPM tool that fills in all of the blanks, Solver has a team of professionals that can get your company started.

 

Solver enables world-class decisions with BI360, a leading web-based CPM suite made up of budgeting, reporting, dashboards, and data warehousing, delivered through a web portal. Solver is reinventing CPM with its next generation solution. BI360 empowers business users with modern features including innovative use of Excel in the model design process. If you’re interested in learning more, our team is excited to hear about your organizational needs and goals.

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Congratulations! You’ve already made the hard decision. You’ve done your research on software vendors, you’ve notified your IT and finance departments, and the decision makers have signed the contract. Let’s talk about the many stages you and your team will experience as your company prepares for a software implementation project. We’ve talked about the technical […]

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It’s overwhelming to find the best software for your organizational needs. This is why we have created a guide for companies that are looking for a corporate performance management (CPM) solution. In this article, we will cover the essentials in selecting the top CPM solution for your company. These essentials include having organizational goals, defining the scope of the tool, finding the right deployment option, leveraging software reviews, and identifying the key benefits of a CPM tool.

Let’s get down to the basics. If you’re already familiar with CPM and the features it typically offers, feel free to skip to the next paragraph. Gartner defines CPM as “an umbrella term that describes the methodologies, metrics, processes and systems used to monitor and manage the business performance of an enterprise.” It has been used mainly for accounting and profitability purposes. According to G2 Crowd, the key benefits of CPM are to “improve productivity, increase revenues, and sustain the growth of the company.” CPM may be the best solution for your company if you’re looking to reduce costs or remodel your company budget. It can also help to improve your financial planning processes or to upgrade your organizational strategy. CPM software isn’t a one-dimensional product. The software usually features budgeting, planning, dashboards, data analysis, forecasting, and custom reporting modules to name a few.

 

Organizational Goals & Solution Scope

 

Let’s talk about goals. Employees who are involved in the budgeting and planning process should know the company’s strategy and goals prior to planning. Imagine your company’s goals on a map. The destination is the organization’s purpose and mission, and the cities you need to hit to get to your destination are your organizational goals. These can also be broken down to departmental goals as well. Read more about corporate and departmental goals in our article, “How to Build a Corporate Performance Management Solution.” Some of these goals may not change over time, but it should be reviewed annually to ensure they remain true.

 

Your set of goals will help define the correct scope of the new tool. As an example, if the goals that you have set require weekly or monthly monitoring (most do), you should consider a CPM tool that has the ability to produce dashboards and reports that will help you track those at the push of a button. The main takeaway here is to accurately define the scope of the tool: what are looking to accomplish with your CPM tool? Which goals will be tracked? The answers will help keep you on track in the buying process, and make it a worthy investment.

 

Deployment Options: Cloud vs. Private Host (On-premise)

 

Decide if an on-premise or cloud CPM platform is better for your company. The Cloud business is growing rapidly. Eventually, all companies will host all of their data in the cloud without exception. In the meantime, if your team is split between the two, there are vendors that offer both options. This allows you and your team some flexibility, but always keep your sights set on the future of technology and find one that will get you there easily.

In terms of software maintenance, Cloud solutions are easier to maintain. When you go the on-premise route, any system requirements are the customer’s responsibility. Your IT team is the gatekeeper of your software. If all your data sources are already in the Cloud, it may be smarter to also have your CPM in the Cloud. It will be more cost-effective and easier to integrate and upgrade. Access to a product hosted in the Cloud is via the internet so security risks are inherently present, but Cloud computing services such as Azure spend billions of dollars every year to keep your data safe.

Focus on your current setup and how the CPM tool will sit on top of the other data sources that make up your company’s unique data structure, but also look ahead and think of which tool will be able to navigate your current and future plans. After all, you will be implementing and adopting a tool that will encapsulate all of your data and impact decision-making across the entire organization for years to come. You will want this tool to scale with your business.

 

B2B Product Review Sites

 

Another factor to consider in your buying process is a product review site. Software review sites reveal customer reviews for the products you are evaluating. They also share grids based on size of business, services, and ratings. This makes it easy to learn about the product from the customer’s perspective. For example, G2 Crowd shares a grid that ranks leading CPM solutions based on customer review data.

 

Top Customer Reviews Site for CPM Products

 

Capterra: 660,000+

G2 Crowd: 610,000+

Software Advice: 500,000+

 

What’s the takeaway? CPM helps your business align financial and operational data to drive performance improvements and better foster the health of your company. CPM helps with executing your organizational strategies. Keep in mind that strategies, goals, analysis and planning are a part of the CPM process. Selecting the best CPM software solution is a process that requires a great deal of research. If you are struggling to find a CPM tool that fills in all of the blanks, Solver has a team of experienced professionals that can get your company started.