Post: Common Operational Reporting Questions Answered

Common Operational Reporting Questions Answered

This post outlines the different types of features that are necessary to optimize real-time reporting with minimal performance degradation.

If your business relies on ERP and Cloud applications for its day-to-day functions, you’ve probably encountered one, if not both, of the following questions:

  1. How is real-time reporting handled in my applications?
  2. How does reporting load (a.k.a user and data volume) impact system performance?

In this post, we’ll explain these issues in more depth. More importantly, we’ll outline the types of features that are necessary to optimize real-time reporting and decrease load with minimal performance degradation.

Real-Time Reporting: Intuition Is Key

ERP applications, such as Oracle E-Business Suite or PeopleSoft, are extraordinary productivity tools, but to optimize day-to-day functions and mitigate business risks, you first need a 360-degree, up-to-the-second view of your business operations. The right operational tool must supply multi-dimensional displays of real-time analytics that go beyond what a spreadsheet-based report can provide. Here are the key features to look for in your operational reporting tool:

  • Seamless, real time data integration with your ERP system with full compliance with application security requirements
  • Self-service functionality that empowers different lines of business to handle their own operational reporting.
  • An intuitive user interface with pre-built report templates, as well as ad-hoc reporting capabilities.

The common thread between these three key features is that they simplify what has historically been a complex problem.

For example, real-time reporting can only be a reality with real-time access to critical business data. This real-time access improves the immediacy of the information being used to yield business insights. The result is greater precision in operational reports since they’ll always reflect the most current data. In the long run, this leads to better business outcomes.

A reporting and analytics tool that helps you work with multiple databases simultaneously is a great start. The big finish, however, is an intuitive, drag-and-drop user interface that allows employees to autonomously analyze data, and build compelling visual reports without the aid of IT, or complicated graphic-design tools.

Your operational reporting tool should make it easy to organize data flows so they can be summarized in real time.

user displaying bar chart metrics on an iPad

Load Control: Limiting Performance Degradation With Powerful Analytics

As far as the relationship between load and performance is concerned, the simple rule of thumb has typically been that the quantity of data impacts the performance of a report. It’s for this precise reason that your operational reporting tool should come with built-in mechanisms to prevent negative impact on system performance. These features include the ability to:

  • Handle large data inputs.
  • Generate operational intelligence from large data inputs quickly.
  • Use as little CPU as possible throughout the process.

Volume reporting is a necessity in a variety of roles including accounting, human resources and supply chain management. It’s true that many legacy operational reporting tools have struggled to sustain optimal performance under the weight of user and data volume alike. However, operational reporting tools that leverage powerful analytics to cope with large user and data volumes gracefully were created to solve this problem. Allowing some reports to be run in the background or during non-peak hours to reduce impact on production performance while also allowing for specific reports that are to be run live, administrators can configure time and size limits so that end users are not stuck with runaway reports.

In summary, the answer to question number two (How does load impact performance?) is this: If you use a self-service operational reporting tool, like Orbit Analytics, which has undergone thorough load testing, you’ll get minimal, if any, degradation.

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