Ask any Project Manager or business owner about the objectives of an ERP project, and they will probably include better business information and improved reporting in the list. However, talk to any Project Manager about the area of the greatest project scope creep, or any business owner for the area that is most neglected in any ERP implementation, and they will probably say ... you guessed it ... Reporting! Why is this? Is there not enough attention given to planning the development of reports? Is the definition of reporting requirements not clear enough? Are project teams not structured with the right resources to address reporting effectively during solution design & development? Yes.
So, if the objective of most sytem implementations is to make better information available to the business, why is this generally so badly done? I have found that very often the answer is that most system implementation projects are too 'systems-centric'; too focused on getting the technical solution design and developed; and not focused enough on the user interface. The user interface is where the end-user 'meets' the system. This will be done via a transaction screen, a display of some sort or a report. THIS is where the success of the system implementation is determined.
When reporting is addressed as part of the system implementation project, implementation tasks include determining what the current (as-is) reports are, and then trying to develop solutions in the new system to replicate these. From a business owner's perspective, does this result in better reporting, or better information for improved decision making? If so, this is generally only an incremental improvement. Normally this just gives you the reports that you have always used, but now sourced from the new system. Normally this also results in incremental development costs in the project, as generally these reports are not standard, and need to be custom developed.
Have you seen this in system implementation projects? If so, how has resporting development and implementation been done? Was it successful?
RELATED BLOG ITEM:- 5 Questions for Better Business Reports
SMALL BUSINESS VIEW
As a small business owner, you should consider the following:
- What information do you need to operate your business?
- What business purpose does this information support?
- Can you formalize reporting to deliver this information in a timely manner?