Harder than it should be

Regardless of which Cloud ERP you choose, the cloud software companies and implementation partners strongly suggest that you, as the client, should determine what reporting needs you have. 

In so many ways, this makes sense. Only you and your functional and technical resources can truly understand your reporting needs. So, your team will be tasked with comparing your existing report library with the "delivered" reports out of the new solution and determining which ones you can use out of the box or with tweaks, and which reports must be built from scratch -- custom reports.

The output of that exercise is a list of reports you and your team will need but the new system doesn't deliver "out of the box." This is your list of Custom Reports. 

In my experience, everyone gets this and tries their best to do an honest assessment of what the new system can deliver versus what your users believe they need.

But often what comes out of it is a very long list of Custom Reports. In one project the first pass of this resulted in over 200 Custom Reports. When you read, "Custom Report" you should think of time and effort, aka, a lot of money.

That's fine if you really, really need those reports. But often you do not. There's a reporting gap but not necessarily where you think. The reporting gap is usually an understanding gap. The new cloud ERP Solutions deliver reports and reporting differently; even if they didn't, any new system is going to have a different way of delivering reports and it won't look exactly like what your users get today, but it can serve purpose.

So put yourself in the place of one of those "functional" resources or users who are being asked to identify the reports they need in the new system. They already are busy and running from meeting to meeting and now you've put them in a zoom/room, often without any training in the new system, and asked them, "What do you need for reporting?" Will this out of the box budget-to-actual report in the new system be enough to replace your legacy report?

In the moment, you can't be sure. So, most people will reflexively err on the side of caution and say, no; I need a report just like the one I'm getting today. That way I know I can do what I need to do.

But this approach and process leaves much to be desired and can result in wasteful cycles of discussions around future reports versus existing, and project managers nervous about their budget for custom reports.

There's a better way.

As you embark on that Cloud ERP journey, make sure you insist on a few simple things. Before you have anyone sit in a room and try to determine if the future system "canned" reports will meet your team's needs, get that team some serious knowledge of how reporting really works in the new system. It can be the software vendor's reporting training, but even if it is, make sure it's supplemented by the best reporting expert on your consulting team. And make sure you get your smartest report resources trained and in the room.

Finally, shift the mindset. Rather than looking to see if the new reports will match legacy reports, think of this -- how will we best get the reports we need, either through delivered reports, delivered-but-tweaked reports or in some other means that might be different than how you do it today.



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