As CFOs start calling plays for the 2017 business game, they’re naming better reporting and analysis as a top improvement goal. In a recent survey of 380 finance executives, more than 70 percent say supporting decision-making is their number-one priority this year. Over 90 percent say they need to do more with existing financial and operations data to help top management make informed decisions. If your company uses Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS), there’s a looming tackle that could keep you from crossing the goal line of improved reporting and analysis: Oracle’s June 2017 suspension of extended support for its Business Intelligence Discoverer reporting tool.
Last week, we made our tenth consecutive trip to San Francisco for Oracle OpenWorld, the world’s largest conference for Oracle customers and technologists. The event, which has ballooned in attendance from 50 in 1982 to 50,000 in recent years, was once again a great opportunity to learn about forthcoming Oracle technologies, as well as the challenges and needs of Oracle users.
As of June 2017, Oracle will no longer offer even extended support for Discoverer, which is reflected in our survey findings where 64 percent of respondents said they were planning to migrate away from the reporting tool within the next year.
As the national library of the United Kingdom, The British Library is the world’s largest by number of items catalogued. Boasting more than 1.6 million visitors yearly, the Library places great emphasis on technological changes, according to Stewart Starr, Management Accounts Assistant for the Library,
User interfaces for ERP reporting tools are most often built with IT staff in mind – not the end user. In a recent survey of ERP user satisfaction, almost half of the approximately 1,500 respondents said they needed easier access to information, with 35% indicating that access to information takes too long. For users of Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS), data access is about to get a bit more difficult now that the company has phased out the Oracle Discoverer product, which many customers had used for reporting.
Each year as we attend COLLABORATE, the annual Oracle Applications Users Group conference, we anticipate checking the reporting pain scale of this large group and advising on how to alleviate the aches. Our team also appreciates the opportunity to attend sessions and hear what’s coming from Oracle so we can respond to any new offerings that might simplify or complicate reporting or other processes like budgeting and journal loading.
For any dynamic organization, accurate and fast financial reports from ERP systems like Oracle E-Business Suite and SAP are critical to decision-making and strategy. Unfortunately, finance teams often find month-end closing, ad-hoc analysis, reconciliations and other reporting tasks time-consuming and frustrating because of the shortcomings of standard ERP reporting tools.
When it comes to capital, perhaps the most difficult type for organizations to track, report and forecast is human. Unlike financial capital, employees aren’t just numbers that go up and down. Employees continually shift categories – new hire, promoted, retired, rehired – and have changing attributes – bonuses, raises, benefits, skills, and performance.
Whew – it’s over! Yearly financial planning, that is. And many corporate finance teams are breathing a collective sigh of relief. You can put those challenges of pushing and pulling budget data from your ERP system behind you, at least for another few months or so, right? Budgeting is out of sight, out of mind ― for now.
“Business has continued to be more interested in thinking, in general, than any other sector of society. The explanation for this is because there is a reality test. There is a bottom line. There are sales figures and profit figures. There are results.”
– Edward de Bono; Maltese physician, psychologist, author and consultant