Many businesses use Excel for good reason. Excel is a best of breed tool for spreadsheets and can be great for a number of things — lists, charts and tables, simple budgets and storing data. However, relying on Excel alone is not enough for reporting needs and business intelligence. If accuracy, saving time and data security are important to your business, you may want to consider using a business intelligence solution in addition to Excel.
Data accuracy across teams
A data analytics solution that can pull in data from your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and other reliable sources will play a big part in creating accurate data for analysis, preventing many input errors from occurring.
With a data analytics solution, different departments and teams will have one centralized location to access reports, dashboards and to use for self-service analysis. The data being used for analysis will always be consistent across the board. The days of worrying about version control or whether or not you have the most up-to-date information can be put to rest.
The old ways of building manual reports, creating pivot tables and building out other forms of analysis are tedious. Let’s say for example, you want to build a sales report showing monthly sales by territory compared to last year’s sales. This process might take hours, sometimes days, depending on how easily you can access and organize your data. Then let’s say the report shows sales have dropped significantly in the past two months compared to the year prior. This raises a number of other questions. Which products are selling less? Which customers have stopped buying those products? Can you immediately explain why this is happening?
That’s where an analytics solution provider can help. With a provider like Phocas for example, these follow-up questions can be answered in just a few clicks. The turnaround time would be much shorter, and you’d be able to get back to your day-to-day duties.
Here’s what a VP Sales from ABCO Refrigeration Supply Corp, said about having a data analytics provider, like Phocas, “Phocas software is great. The amount of time saved and efficiency gained has been enormous.”
Keeping your data safe
No organization wants to share their sales and financial data with their competition. No competitor should have access to a list of all your customers and what they are buying.
This is where security comes into play. One email with one attachment sent to the wrong address could put your data at risk. A data analytics solution that allows you to create private reports and dashboards — and gives you the freedom to decide which other users can access it — is a better option. An analytics provider will help you decide whether an on premise or a cloud solution would make the most sense for your business and security needs.
To learn more about getting more value from your business data, download our eBook, The Excel + BI Partnership.