Choose an Analytics Solution That’s More Than Just “Eye Candy”
When you think of analytics software, you first think of its ability to slice and dice data, drill down into details, and provide attractive “eye candy” representations of what are usually dull reports. These are all very important capabilities.
However, many business leaders prefer analytics software for its less-publicized feature: report automation. This automatically creates a report on a periodic interval.
Here are three keyways you may want to start using report automation at your company.
1) Gross Profit Analysis
Confidently navigating through today’s uncertain economy requires that organizations create meaningful analyses of profit margins. This helps them make smarter, faster decisions about which products or services to focus on.
When reporting through your ERP this is a multi-step, labor-intensive process that requires manually running multiple sales reports, exporting the data across a variety of spreadsheets and flat files, and emailing sections of the results to a range of employees.
Considering the time required to complete all these tasks, recipients will always be working on data that is, at best, one week behind. This, even though agility in the modern business landscape takes constant, up-to-date insight delivered daily.
Using analytics software, you can automate report creation AND distribution. Effective analytics software, such as DataSelf, eliminates literally every step listed above: running reports, exporting, and emailing. This gives your company the time you need to focus on more strategic, revenue-generating tasks – finally!
If salespeople or other stakeholders want access to this data on demand instead of waiting for an emailed report each day, they can click on a dashboard that presents data appropriate for their individual viewing preferences and security permissions.
2) Inventory Planning
Consistent and regular inventory planning is a great way to counteract frustrating supply chain delays. On-time insight gives organizations the power to be proactive about avoiding stock shortages.
When reporting through your ERP, this is a multi-step, labor-intensive process that requires running a variety of reports on stock status, open orders, and open POs; exporting and manually manipulating the data in Excel to reflect “on order” and “allocated” quantities, and then going back through the data to highlight items that look likely to have shortages over the next 30-60 days.
Once these reports are completed, the Purchasing staff can adjust their purchase orders and contact vendors. However, client orders fulfilled during the time it took to compile reports can lead to out-of-date numbers and further stock-out hazards. In other words, your Purchasing Manager will always be playing catch up.
Using analytics software, you can run a “just in time” inventory that color codes items needing immediate re-ordering. You can also eliminate the related manual processes. This provides instant visibility, along with detailed data on when projected shortages are expected to occur. On-time, fully accurate insight leads to fewer stock-outs, better cash flow, and happier customers.
3) Sales Tax by State
Filing taxes in multiple states is a headache. The blend of monthly, quarterly, and annual filing periods requires running reports hundreds of times a year, which drains a company’s time and resources.
Reporting through your ERP is a repetitive, labor-intensive process that requires validating sales tax codes on sales tax reports and orders, and then exporting data into Excel for in-depth data validation. Each step of the in-depth validation process takes another worksheet or external file, until – finally! – all the data can be compiled into a single spreadsheet with final totals by state.
One month later, the process begins all over again. And again. And again.
Using analytics software, you can automatically summarize all the preparatory information in a single dashboard, so it only takes a single step to verify that all the sales tax collected is associated with the correct accounts. Best of all, dashboards allow the accounting team to review tax data throughout the month, instead of dreading the mammoth task at the end of the month.
Look Deeper When Choosing Your Analytics Software
Though the graphical and drill-down capabilities of analytics software are eye catching and attractive, it is often the lesser-known, additional functions like report automation that differentiate the market-leading solutions from the rest of the pack.
With the right analytics software, you can save hundreds of hours by automating the consolidation of multiple datasets and bringing together a collection of reports, spreadsheets, and other data effortlessly. This provides you with the ultimate, on-time insight from your reports or dashboards, so you can make faster, more confident decisions anytime and anywhere.
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