Data And Information Systems
Retrieving data from ERP to Excel is a familiar process for organizations. Why doing this? Usually, when data analysis is required and the ERP cannot provide it seamlessly under specific results requirements. Typically, the data analysis is performed manually in Excel. Alternative approach is utilizing the opportunity of automation and use procedures adapted exactly to specific process.
Organizations IT infrastructure usually contains core information systems, such as ERP, CRM, data warehouses, BI solutions and more. Whenever a process has no proper reflection in core systems, users emerge to other available tools to accomplish their needs. Excel is a good example in a business realm.
In many cases obtaining a report based on ERP data requires analysts' manual work for data mining and complementary analysis, time consuming and exposed to inaccuracies. The solution is automation of data analysis procedures by export/import ERP data into a custom developed tool. The result is improvement from several hours process to several minutes by on-click procedure and improved data reliability.
However, the real power of excel usually stays unrevealed and causes major difficulties for users. Development of automated tools based on Office platform allows significant improvement in usage and functional levels. For instance, ERP sourced data files can be arranged and imported into excel based on automatic procedure.
Excel has its own place of honor within organizational information systems. It provides a wide range of capabilities such as data storage, reporting, analysis and collaboration tool.
From Core Information Systems to Business Needs
Let's examine a sample of big industrial company. Usually, we will find IT systems to support different departments across the organization:
- Research & Development
- Supply Chain (including production, purchasing and logistics)
- Service & Maintenance
- Sales & Marketing
- HR and so on...
All above rely on dedicated information system like MRP, SCM, ERP, CRM, and more. Apparently, in this scenario excel's role is supplementary. Most usually, excel serves as an available platform that helps to analyze specific data. Analysts spend hours of working time to retrieve reports from core systems and translate raw data to meaningful information. However, surprising or not, significant number of corporations use excel and other office platforms to design supporting tools or systems for some specific processes, that are not detailed enough in core systems. In particular, it occurs when legacy systems are still there. But not only. Among other reasons are structure of IT policy. Centralized IT governance, driven by organizational corporate objectives and budgets allocations, sometimes forces users to seek alternatives, i.e. when some processes are not supported enough or at all by information systems and won't be in close future. Here comes MS Office as available alternative with excel as a leader. Now, when no other choice given, you need to design a model in excel to support your process. You can reach your goal in a hard way, with intensive periodical manual work, utilizing basic functionality of excel. Or, you can use the enormous capabilities like VBA programming, SQL engines, connectivity to other platforms and even web interfaces. Building a system within unmatched schedules and good performance is possible. When it is done, you understand the real power behind excel.
ERP - The Business Processes Hub
Numerous companies use ERP to support various business processes. Usually, only relevant part of ERP are implemented with the IT map. For example, a factory will implement inventory module in ERP. All organizations that have ERP most probably will implement financial module. In order to have a business insights, sometimes data consolidation from different ERP modules is required, yet not always exists by default. נרחיב את הדיון עם יחסי הגומלין בין מערכת ERP לאקסל בארגון יצרני בינוני-גדול. ERP הינה ממערכות IT המרכזיות בארגון ומשמשת לתכנון משאבי הארגון (Enterprise resource planning). רוב הארגונים מטמיעים מודולים בהתאם לצרכים ואילוצים שונים. למשל, מודול ניהול מלאי הינו מרכיב בסיסי בכל מערכת ERP בארגון יצרני. כדי לזקק תמונת מצב מלאה מתוך מערכות ליבה כגון ERP לא פעם נדרשת עבודת השלמה של ניתוח הנתונים, שכוללת הצלבת דוחות שונים על מנת לזקק מדדים או תובנות. לרוב, עבודה זו מתבצעת ידנית באקסל. חשוב להכיר גם את האפשרות של אוטומציה ושימוש בכלים מותאמים לתהליך ניתוח הנתונים.
Excel - Between ERP and CRM
Widespread example for excel usage as a data connection tool between two core information systems is when data from CRM and from ERP should be consolidated. For example, getting insights from correlation between production plan data and sales data. When there is no available system, OLAP cube or other data consolidation methods, business units use excel. It is fast, easy to model and deliver visual results. Excel programming expands its advantages to user friendly complex customized pieces of software.
To conclude, Excel has its own place of honor within organizational information systems. It provides a wide range of capabilities such as data storage, reporting, analysis and collaboration tool.