Having recently implemented an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution you might be asking yourself – what reporting tool is best for my ERP solution?  Before anyone can offer your business cost effective ERP reporting there are a number of questions that need to be answered:

Do you want one dimensional or multi-dimensional ERP reporting? Is the requirement for simple “static”” reporting or multi-dimensional reporting across multiple data sources?

Do you want to print ERP reports? Many reports can and should be viewed on screen but is there a requirement to print certain reports? The reason for the question is simple – some reporting tools offer better print solutions than others and this needs to be taken onto account when choosing an ERP reporting tool.

Should reports be available on a mobility device? There is no doubt that more and more people are using smartphones, tablets and related mobility devices. It therefore makes sense to have reports which can be viewed from a mobility device – ERP reporting when and where you want it.

Do you want reports scheduled from your ERP system? Is it important for your business to be able to schedule reports to be e-mailed to users at a certain time?

Are graphical ERP reports required? Does your business need graphical reporting or simple table based reporting or a combination of both?

Is analytical reporting required? Once you start looking at some of the more advanced reporting tools the offer usually includes analytics – the ability to “slice and dice” information.

How much ERP and other data is being sorted and arranged for reporting? What volumes of data is being sorted and analysed? Some reporting tools are better with large volumes of data than others.

Is reporting mostly financial, operational or both? What areas of ERP are being reported – all areas, just financial, sales, inventory etc.?

Budget? Some reporting tools are free, some can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Budget requirements will largely depend on your reporting requirements.

Ad hoc or planned reporting? Are the ERP reporting requirements for monthly “planned” reports or is the requirement for quick access to information from the ERP solution at the touch of a button – for example answering a stock query when a customer is on the phone?

One or multiple data sources? Is data for the report coming from one or multiple data sources – potentially outside of the ERP solution?

These are just some of the questions that you should answer prior to beginning your ERP reporting selection process. There are many ERP reporting solutions on the market today – ranging from free, basic reporting solutions through to complete reporting and analytical business intelligence and dashboard reporting options.

Let’s not forget that a good ERP Reporting team will also have a sound knowledge of the table and field structure in your ERP solution.

It is also possible that you might choose multiple reporting options for your business. As an example you might choose Microsoft Excel Pivot Tables for your financial reporting because your account loves to use and is familiar with Microsoft Excel but you might use a full reporting and business intelligence solution for your operational ERP Reporting.

Whatever decisions you make about your reporting and business intelligence / ERP reporting make sure you have a check list of requirements before selecting an ERP reporting solution for your business.