“May you live in interesting times.” This ironic expression accurately conjures the current turbulent political atmosphere, both in Europe and the United States. For example, the process of Brexit has only just begun, and its consequences are just now becoming apparent. This turbulence is felt not only in our personal lives, but also in the corporate world where companies need fast, accurate business data to adapt as best as possible to the consequences of political outcomes.
As a former financial analyst and current Microsoft Certified trainer, I’ve watched Microsoft Excel undergo a myriad of changes since its introduction in the mid-1980s. When I’m approached about how to solve a particular problem in Excel, I’m happy to tell people that the Microsoft development team has a renewed emphasis on creating new calculation functions that can help them simplify formulas and be more efficient.
Project managers and executives in asset-intensive industries like utilities, oil and gas, or chemicals need up-to-the-minute data on projects, as they usually manage a myriad of capital expenditures for infrastructure upgrades, capital works or capacity expansions. But what happens when an ERP software reimplementation pressures project management processes, reporting and strategy? In this blog, Donna Christie, finance applications and reporting specialist for ActewAGL, shares how a reimplementation of Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) version R12 from a highly customized R11i version impacted access to Oracle projects data.
Even when organizations have business intelligence (BI) solutions and ERP reporting tools like those from SAP or Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS), they often turn to Microsoft Excel for reporting and analysis because it’s easy and flexible.
The recent SAP TechEd conference in Las Vegas once again provided an excellent opportunity to hear from SAP developers about the technical direction of their software offerings, as well as from SAP users and partners.
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.
It’s no secret that many finance users find standard ERP reporting tools difficult to use. Because of the complexity of data structures in systems like SAP and Oracle, these users often find themselves dependent on IT or consulting resources to create reports ― or waiting on lengthy downloads of static information from a warehouse to where it’s formatted and analyzed, which is usually in Microsoft Excel.
At an auditor’s recommendation, your company may have been asked to better manage its spreadsheets. It may have even learned the hard way how spreadsheets can be dangerous. The risks are not unfounded. According to sources, more than 90 percent of spreadsheets contain errors, yet more than 90 percent of spreadsheet users are confident their spreadsheets are error-free.
“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