• Anand Swaminathan

Report Rationalization | Part 2: Removing the Mystery of Reports

Having defined KPIs and metrics across the organization, you can prioritize business critical reports, dashboards, and analytical insights required for go-live.

Look for data to tell the story through integrations from third-party systems, multiple data sources, and the right set of tools to present the data. Benefits of organization wide KPIs and metrics include:

  • Gaining a better understanding of data and meaningful insights by drilling down from aggregated balances to detailed transaction records

  • Minimizing dependence on a lengthy report development lifecycle

  • Providing accurate & real-time information to perform analysis and make faster decisions

  • Utilizing a multi-dimension scalable model that helps an organization slice & dice financial performance, budget and forecasts or supplier trends by a variety of business dimensions such as line of business, area, or region.

Process of Report Rationalization

Data Collection Strategy

  • Determine the legacy report name and description. How many times has this report been run by the users in the past year (frequency)?

  • Understand the pattern and usage of the report

  • Identify the business owner and process groups that run the report

  • Identify the source database, table, and column name for each metric and dimension

  • Understand the metrics of the organization and map it to the report

Understanding the Overall Report

  • Business Area – For which part of the organization is the report intended?

  • Report Frequency - Is the report run on-demand, daily, weekly, or monthly? Does it generate huge volumes of data to be requested in real-time or is it run as a scheduled job?

  • Distribution details of the report.

Understanding the Data in the Report

  • Identify the name and definition of each dimension on the legacy report.

  • Determine the calculation for each metric. Often business logic is embedded into a report, so it is critical to capture this logic to be replicated in the future state.

Report Analysis of Data and Recommendations

Now that you have the list of all the reports and the data elements contained in each of them, it is time to develop a dimensional matrix (identify the data entities such as suppliers, company, invoice headers, purchase requisitions, etc.) across the current state reports.

Once you have a matrix built for current state reports, you logically combine similar reports based on data entities, report functionality, KPIs / metrics, and ad-hoc queries. There will be opportunities to eliminate reports or combine reports to meet multiple users’ needs.

With a rationalized list of reports, you can now map this matrix against the future state architecture of data dimensions, subject areas, and hierarchies using the steps below:

  • Understand any key design decisions that affect the flow of data and the eventual production of reports.

  • Understand the integration touchpoints and where the data for the reports needs to be available. This will also help you identify the best tool to develop the report (if you must combine multiple data sources to generate a report).

  • Understand the out-of-the-box (OOTB) reports available in the future state system. This results in full use of the new system and reduces the number of custom reports.

  • Extend the OOTB reports to match your organization’s needs, thereby reducing development time.

  • Analyze the data entity grouping in detail to complete additional rationalization. If most data entities are similar and fall under a specific grain of new system reporting data (for example, invoice lines), a similar set of data entities across multiple current state reports can be combined to have one future state report.

By the end of the rationalization exercise, you should have a better idea of the best tool to implement the new set of reports, any licensing considerations to which you may have to adhere, and the skill set required to deliver the reports.

Completing a rationalization exercise in the initial stages will help you throughout the project and will increase the likelihood of a successful and satisfied business customer go-live.

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