It is cold November night and you are having a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon in a party hosted by your company. Many people are coming to you and congratulating for having successfully lead the implementation of MS NAV 2013 in your company. The implementation was long and laborious but as a CFO you led the team and got the job done.
Long and hard implementation because the company has over 20 locations and each location sells some of the products based on demand. Many regional processes had to be harmonized.
By your second glass, the MD comes over to congratulate you.
So far so good.
The MD then goes on to tell you how he was looking forward to this implementation being done and that he has planned major initiative. The new initiative will need lot of information in real time but he says that with the new ERP, he is confident that you are going to be able to provide him anything he needs.
You are not sure if you should go for your next glass.
The reason being that on MD’s office, there is a quote by Winston Churchill:
“This report, by its very length, defends itself against the risk of being read.”
He likes things that are concise and help him take decisions faster. He says he likes reports that “TALK” to him.
It is a known fact that business leaders have insatiable appetite for information.
Next day you reach office bright and early to start working on setting up some reports that you know MD will want for his initiative.
The reports include :
- Profitability by branch, by customer, by product, by sales person
- Raw material costs across all 3 plants over last 12 months
- Days to first shipment for top selling 5 products across all 6 distribution centers
As you start writing down the reports the MD would want. By lunch time you have started realizing that ERP has all the data but no information that tells a story.
You quickly open spreadsheets and start creating formats. And then you also start realizing that that many features of excel like sub totals, formatting, all your previously made templates using SUMIFs may not work if you download data directly to Excel. Lot of manual work would go into generating reports that are ready for consumption. Manual work does not go away subsequently. It just gets reduced a bit.
Within a few hours of this, you have concluded that churning business information from the huge amount of data is going to be a perpetual project. You also now realize the challenges faced by a modern CFO.
How you wish, you had a simple way to develop reports that “TALK”.