V is for Visibility

ERP to me means two things: a facilitated business process and visibility of management information. It drives me to distraction then, when I see so many companies working really hard to get their business process efficient; capturing all their key data, and then they don’t actually do anything with that data.

Reporting is hard work, it’s much easier to create the actual report than it is to truly understand the information presented by the report. Indeed it can feel like we prefer arguing over whose number is correct than actually settling down to the decision making process.

Fortunately SYSPRO has a variety of ways to improve visibility of the data it holds. Firstly, the screens can be customised: adding graphs, list views and even views of external databases or websites. This means that the information can be at the users fingertips rather than them having to run a report.

Secondly, Excel, really we all love spreadsheets! From SYSPRO you can export lists directly into Excel, but you can also link Excel to SYSPRO, ideally through an SQL view so that performance is maintained. This enables you to use tools such as power pivot and charting in Excel quickly and easily, with no report writing skills required.

Utilities like the K3 Web Print Utility which work alongside SRS to give people access to SYSPRO data (via the necessary security) from a webpage, run reports in the background and carry on using SYSPRO or automatically fire off reports after completing a key process in SYSPRO.

That’s before you get started on the SYSPRO executive dashboards, or playing with tools such as QlikView.

There is no one solution that fits every situation and businesses all need a variety of information presentation styles to meet their reporting needs. It’s relatively easy to improve visibility of management information:

  1. Conduct an audit and decide who needs what information
  2. Then decide how best to present each piece of information for each person, e.g.
    – Sales Order Admin: Previous order history – in custom pane linked to customer on sales order screen
    – Field Sale Man: Previous order history – through web print utility available on his iPad, based on entering the customer name
    – Sales Director: Previous order history – in QlikView with full drill down and slice n dice functionality
  3. Create a reporting project: prioritise what’s missing and assign resources to get those gaps filled in
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