Five Rules to Maximize Your Data Reporting Effectiveness

By Clinton Jones on February 17, 2014

Five Rules to Maximize Your Data Reporting Effectiveness

Company workflow managing and organizing. Business concept.What would you say is the most important commodity to any company’s success? I would argue that data is the most vital commodity to any company’s success. In fact data is probably the main reasons your company implemented an ERP solution like SAP. Data is critical to any organization, yet our ability to create and store more information- has created more problems.

Data and reporting continue to be one of the most talked about topics including; the rate at which it’s growing, and the types of information being managed and analyzed.  Even with access to vast amounts of information companies are challenged to determine intelligent findings.

Here are five rules to follow when embarking on data reporting initiatives and when to build SAP queries:

Work with Clean Data.

In a perfect world, you would only load clean data. In reality there will be many instances where your data-sets include mangled, incomplete or inappropriate data. Clean data is the bedrock to good analysis. Being able to easily identify bad data is the key to deciding whether you need to kick off a data cleansing initiative. I suggest investing time in being intimately familiar with your data and be prepared to stop your reporting initiatives and redirect your energy toward data hygiene.  Flawed data usually leads to flawed conclusions and can cost companies millions. Investing in data quality is the foundation to providing reliable information.

Work Quickly

Working faster means you reap better predictive value with respect to information you’ve pulled.   Since there is time value in a lot of data, particularly at month end, you need to consider how you can move from a batch approach to a real-time data approach for reporting. Value is created by making decisions in near real-time and reducing exposure to risks, being better at predictions and avoiding issues.

Work with a Single Version of the Truth

Maintaining one copy of your data is essential to ensuring the reliability. Inevitably your data will become less accurate the more you copy and or move it. The cost of IT infrastructure increases when your organization holds multiple copies of the same information. Our clients appreciate that

Winshuttle Query enables them to target their query output in a variety of environments: Excel, Access, Text, SharePoint lists, SQL databases and others. There’s less of a need to create ad-hoc extracts that create the challenge of the spread-marts. Instead you can use the same object and refresh as needed or have it refreshed on a schedule.

Mix It Up

Use more diverse data, not just more raw data. Another benefit of Winshuttle Query is that basic tools, like table extractors, allows you to join datasets together to produce more intelligent output. This means single step coherent reporting using Logical Databases (LDB), Tables, and InfoSets are created using the combination of multiple data sources across various modules as well as your own external data. While you cannot combine data from multiple data sources in Query, you can merge data from other sources to workbooks or use vlookups and pivots to merge data to SharePoint lists, SQL databases and Access Databases. We’ve learned that value in data can be found outside SAP extracted data.

Adaptive Query Throttling

Winshuttle Query’s unique Adaptive Query Throttling feature

Look to Opportunities for Added Value

As our companies add more data and get more granular with entries in SAP, data previously seen as low value are able to provide new significance. Finance data in aggregate can give an indication of the health of the business, but analyzing financial data at a granular level can lead to new opportunities to improve the way you do business.  When you empower business users with Winshuttle Query or Studio Runner you’re putting data at the fingertips of employees. Empowered business users with the ability to analyze data directly can see connections and insights not seen by IT or through aggregating dashboards and reports.  This new generation of easy to use management information tools can be enhanced with powerful visualizations in Microsoft Excel and SharePoint.

Winshuttle Query Example

Read this customer case study about Rémy Contreau USA. They found that the way price reporting was set up in the new SAP implementation was not adequate for the company’s business needs. The standard reports could not always produce daily pricing for out-of-stock or recently introduced products. The company needed a reporting solution that offered the flexibility to drill down and access the needed data but that would not overly burden the limited technical resources.

If you have other rules that you think should be added, please let us know via Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.


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