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XL Connect: Excel Gets Supercharged with XL Connect

Your existing ERP system came with hundreds of ERP reports, ERP reports that were touted to be standard, simple out-of-the-box reports that businesses like yours could use every day. Once up and running the seemingly long list of out-of-the-box reports weren’t providing the type of information or insights your users or management team required. Soon MS Excel was used to create some of the needed reports, but risk of inaccuracies came with Excel reporting.

Why do businesses like yours continue to use spreadsheets when there are better reporting options available to fit a variety of budgets that enable users to leverage their Excel skills and be more efficient with their jobs? Yes, there are full blown Business Intelligence (BI) solutions that include Predictive Analytics, like PC Financials BI and Analytics, but there are also lower cost options like XL Connect if you’re not ready to make the investment. Here we’ll discusses some of the reporting challenges your organization may be facing and how XL Connect can help you resolve them.

Traditional ERP Reporting Challenges

Traditional ERP reports have their challenges, often requiring the expertise of IT or the so called ‘super user’ for a simple report modification. Data can be housed in multiple, disparate systems and is difficult to combine, so a complete view of the enterprise, especially in real-time, is a challenge.

The traditional ERP report can quickly become a bottleneck to users trying to complete their daily tasks or to executives trying to make important decisions where the need for accurate, timely information is imperative. With this, often business decisions are made reactively, using historical data and the business impact can be negative in a evolving global marketplace.

Additionally, the creation of new ERP reports on older ERP technologies is time consuming and can require programming skills and hiring an expert is costly; larger ERP reports can slow down servers with some needing to be run overnight.  These traditional reporting challenges are all to familiar with those that have been in business for a while.

Spreadsheet Reporting Challenges

Business users may opt to take control of the situation and ‘self serve’ their reporting requirements by manually exporting data to MS Excel or the like to create custom views of their organization. The problem: Manual processes increase the probability of errors occurring exponentially. For instance, if you succeed at importing accurate data, then there’s the risk that the spreadsheet’s formulas and links are inaccurate; inaccuracies can result in hours of time and valuable resources being spent on fixing the ‘problem’ that business users created. Traditional spreadsheet reports therefore provide a quick fix, but the quick fix includes risk of inaccuracies, compliancy and a government audit.

Alleviate Reporting Challenges with Modern Technologies

Today’s modern technologies alleviate traditional ERP reporting challenges and the need for ‘self serve’ spreadsheets. For instance, Epicor ERP, a Microsoft based solution, takes advantage of Microsoft’s latest technologies by pulling information directly from your Epicor ERP and non-Epicor databases to generate real-time reports that are 100% accurate while also being rendered exponentially faster than reports based on older technologies. If you still prefer Excel, then Epicor’s XL Connect supercharges your Microsoft Excel reports by providing a live link to Epicor and non-Epicor databases for improved efficiencies and accuracy.

Navigating through the many new ERP tools and technologies can be overwhelming for anyone. MIS has been supporting clients and their Epicor ERP systems since 1987 resulting in unsurpassed expertise. MIS is very well versed with enterprise reporting and can help you differential the reporting options available to you. MIS offers both XL Connect and the more robust BI and Predictive Analytics tools from DSPanel which also let your users leverage their MS Excel knowledge. For more information, contact us today so we can answer any questions you may have.

Karen Beaulieu

Karen Beaulieu has worked in the ERP software industry for over 15 years. Having worked in a variety of roles from product development, channel and direct sales to marketing, Karen has a unique understanding and perspective of the ERP software industry. Currently Karen works in a marketing capacity for MIS Consulting & Sales and MIS Solutions Canada, ULC.

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