This week one of the team’s priorities has been working on defining the requirements for an integrated budgeting, reporting and consolidation solution. The key priority in this workstream is the importance of breaking down reporting requirements into distinct use cases…
We commonly find that there are two main use cases for reporting. The first use case is month-end reporting or journal support reporting. You are at working day one, posting your accruals: you need to have immediate visibility of the journal you have just posted, otherwise you risk duplicating the journal or wasting time investigating. This means you need real time reporting and the ability to drill from balances to transactions. Also, if your ledger and consolidation structures are different, you need your ledger data mapped to your consolidation tool format, to avoid an iterative loop of posting journals, loading, posting more journals….
The second use case is what we call analytical reporting: preparing the management reporting packs, writing up commentary, investigating discrepancies to budget or forecast, as well as add-hoc reporting. Here you need a far more flexible view of data. You also need a greater range of data: metrics, often combined with financial data to create key performance indicators, budget and forecast data. In addition there is often a difference in the timing of the data: normally this data needs to be synchronised with the data published in the consolidation tool for financial reporting. Coming back to the topic of the blog, for this reporting use case, quicker or more frequent data refreshes are not necessarily better!
Do these contrasting requirements ring true to your experience? Is so, the key point to take away from this blog is that different technology might be appropriate to address your distinct use cases. For example, in our experience, Oracle OBIEE or Oracle Essbase XOLAP are excellent online reporting tools for month-end; and a classical Oracle Essbase configuration delivers excellent cross-dimensional capability for analytical reporting.
If reporting is an area you are focusing on at the moment, I highly recommend putting the following on your pre or post holiday reading list:
- Using DRM to drive robust reporting;
- Manage multiple reporting standards; and
- Video series on using masterdata governance to overcome business challenges.
If you would rather discuss it in more detail with a member of our team then do get in touch.