• Anand Swaminathan

Report Rationalization | Part 1: What is Report Rationalization, Anyway?

As part of an ERP implementation, modernization, or transformation process, there is increasing pressure on organizations to identify opportunities to lower the total cost of ownership (TCO) for core functions and reporting. A report rationalization methodology increases efficiency, standardization, and productivity of global reporting operations within integrated business functions (HR, finance, procurement, distribution, shipping, etc.).

A report rationalization methodology gives you a holistic review of all existing reports, metrics, and dimensions used in your current system. It maps how this data will be delivered in the new system to improve efficiency, productivity, and standardization.

Report rationalization is achieved by prioritizing key strategic performance indicators and metrics, eliminating non-value adding activities, simplifying, standardizing, and automating financial, marketing intelligence (MI), and regulatory reports. Report rationalization allows report producers more time for business partnering and provides management with the right insights at the right time.

Key Reporting Issues within Business Functions

  1. Extensive manual processing and manual report production. Users download a version of the report from the ERP system then create additional reports using Microsoft Excel VLOOKUPs, create additional charts, using external IT databases (outside the ERP). These workarounds lead to multiple versions of the truth and result in data quality and integrity [AM1] issues.

  2. Various levels and quality of commentary, metrics, KPIs, and insights between teams

  3. Multiple copies of the same report exist within the system, generating a high volume of redundant operational reports in the legacy system

  4. Lack of Change Management and limited governance process enforcement around existing and new reports[AM2] [LA3] [LA4]

  5. Self-service reporting capabilities are not being utilized for ad-hoc queries or one-time reports

  6. Large numbers of IT SOX queries are created because of legacy system limitations, or having disparate ERP systems generating additional reports for validating data consistency between multiple systems

  7. Lack of report design standards including branding, logos, fonts, column names, etc.

By initially spending time to understand the legacy reporting and how it translates to the new reporting needs, you can almost always reduce the number of reports that need to be replicated. Building a smaller number of highly utilized reports reduces development costs and keeps maintenance costs lower, moving forward.

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