Friday, 29 October 2010

Unlock the Secrets of Your Business

Your business keeps secrets from you … well, at least it seems that way. There is plenty you don’t know, regardless of how often you walk the floor, talk to your team, or examine your operations. You can only see so much by looking around you, and that’s when you need to turn to the numbers.

The data in systems across your company tends to hold deeper insights that aren’t immediately evident from traditional management practices. Take advantage of the business intelligence to be gained from your data, and you can find opportunities for operational improvement, for which you’ll be rewarded with wider margins and freed up capital.

Part of the reason your business “hides” data from you is that the information isn’t all in one place. The powerful insights that can transform you business are usually found in relationships among different data sets, and you need a way to bring them together and compare them in a sensible manner that makes the business opportunities available to your organization evident.

The only way to make this happen is with an intuitive business intelligence and reporting solution that can quickly draw data from several disparate sources and unite them into a comprehensible result that you can use to affect meaningful change. With SAP BusinessObjects Edge, you can turn many systems into a cohesive reporting and analytics environment that you can use to advance your company in the marketplace.

Central to the advantage afforded by SAP BusinessObjects Edge is that it streamlines the entire reporting process, mitigates the risk of human error, and increases the applicability of the conclusions you draw. This increases the ROI on your business intelligence investment, along with the RO on the decisions facing your company.

SAP BusinessObjects Edge unlocks the secrets that your business keeps from you, enabling careful and diligent analysis of your company’s results to find improvement opportunities in every corner of your business. Through robust reporting capabilities, you can turn hidden insights into action items – and results.

risk to which your company is exposed. Rather than simply write and publish a policy, you can lay out a process that includes a mechanism for preventing the activity that could cause lasting damage to your business.

The best way to make sure your employees follow the rules is to make it the only option. Make your policies part of standard operating procedure through the business processes in SAP Business All-in-One, and you’ll gain ROI not just from a better solution, but also through risk management.

Source:  SAP

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Friday, 22 October 2010

Integrate Your Data for a Complete View of Your Company

Reporting and analysis shouldn’t have to be difficult. Information is the lifeblood of effective business management, and not being able to access it quickly and easily can result in higher operating expenses, slower decision-making, and ultimately a general disadvantage in the marketplace. Gain access to your company’s data from a single business intelligence source, and you can drastically reduce the time it takes to find insights you can use to manage your business. For small and mid-sized companies, this means implementing SAP BusinessObjects Edge BI.

Spreadsheets tend to be the most common reporting and analysis tool for small and mid-sized businesses. They appear to be inexpensive and offer enough features to make learning about your operation possible. The hidden costs, however, are substantial.

Using spreadsheets, you have to go to multiple systems, and then go through the cumbersome and time-consuming process of assembling the report—including making the data “fit.” The risk of error is high with this manual approach, especially if there’s a deadline looming.

SAP BusinessObjects Edge BI takes both the time and the risk out of business intelligence, yielding a streamlined reporting and analysis process that you can use to make smarter decisions faster. This platform allows you to pull data together from multiple systems into a single report, giving you a broader view of your company sooner and with a much lower likelihood of error. For reports you run regularly, you can build once with SAP BusinessObjects Edge BI and schedule them to be sent to stakeholders automatically.

So, the advantages are ongoing—and they accumulate to large cost savings and high ROI potential over time.
Simplify your reporting and analysis processes with a robust business intelligence solution for small and mid-sized businesses. Use SAP Business Objects Edge BI to understand your business better, and you’ll increase company performance with less strain on your staff.

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Monday, 11 October 2010

Best Practices in SAP Crystal Report Design

Simply put, a methodology is a repeatable documented process. When applied to Crystal Report creation, it can be defined as a specification document or sign-off document. It is important also to consider asking questions to fully understand the report requirement and to think about continuity across a suite of reports.

This can be broken down into the following headings.

    * Define the requirements
    * Create a specification document
    * Create a connection to the data source
    * Build the report
    * Test the report
    * Deploy the report
    * Maintain the report

 It is also useful to have a business need for a report. Define what business problems could be solved by the production of your report. Create a statement that will define the report's purpose in two simple sentences.

Then, further analysis into the detail of the report can be derived.

    * Define the report consumers i.e. include information for all parties.
    * Define the data used i.e. which data source to connect to and how to join the tables  together.
    * Define the template i.e. where header and footer information should appear in the report.
    * Define the fields required i.e. the body of the report (detail section).
    * Determine the record sorting and sequencing i.e. sorting and grouping.
    * Define the summaries required i.e. subtotals and grand totals.
    * Define the report filtering i.e. do you want to see ALL records.
    * Determine if there are any calculations required i.e. user-defined formulae.
    * Determine if the data needs to be presented visually i.e. charts.
    * Determine what format the report will be delivered or distributed in i.e. exported, printed or published.

A report specification document should include the information in points 1-10 above. But to be fully complete, it is worth considering additional criteria.

    * Will there be any prompts for the report consumer to complete before the report is run.
    * Will the report require drill down functionality.
    * Can all the data be derived from the same data source.
    * How will I document the report fully.
    * How will I achieve sign off from the report requester.

Hopefully, this brief overview will give you a good starting point for your reporting project.

This blog was written by Steve Chapman, Senior BI Consultant DSCallards.

Visualise Every Aspect of Your Business

The numbers don’t lie, but they sometimes struggle to tell a story clearly. Scheduled and ad hoc reports exist to provide insights into your business – from financial management to customer care. Yet, reporting practices don’t always reflect these priorities. With SAP® BusinessObjects™ Edge solutions, you can streamline your reporting and gain a new perspective, thanks to features that help you see the implications of the data.

As important as reporting is in almost any business setting, many companies tend to neglect it. A bias toward action sometimes leaves little room for contemplation. When reports are prepared, especially across many data sources or business units, the hours invested can accumulate quickly, particularly when a manual component requires some massaging of the data. 

The simple act of getting answers about company performance or operations can not only cost you, but also divert employees from other responsibilities, creating backlogs that spread throughout the company, impeding productivity, and deferring initiatives with ROI potential.

And despite all this work, it’s still tough to figure out what the data means! You can spend even more time interpreting the results before finally understanding their meaning and defining the next steps.
Fortunately, there’s a single answer to both challenges: SAP BusinessObjects Edge solutions.

Automate your reporting processes to cut the time needed to gather data into a form that can yield actionable business intelligence. Then use the data in this legible form to derive meaning and define the next steps faster. In addition to reducing the cost of your own information effectively, the speed at which you can take action can accelerate the ROI associated with the resulting courses of action.

Take control of your data with SAP BusinessObjects Edge solutions and put your data to work for your business. Having the right tools at your disposal can supercharge decisions and results. 


Five Ways to Turn Business Intelligence into a Competitive Advantage

Many companies regularly analyze their performance, but few have found ways to truly turn this exercise into a competitive advantage. Long and difficult reporting processes, short lead times, and the resource constraints often mean that the issues of the day get more priority. With SAP BusinessObjects Edge, you can streamline the reporting process and put business intelligence capabilities in the hands of your end users. This clears the way for more analysis and deeper detail, with insights you can use to get ahead in a competitive marketplace.
Here are five ways you can use SAP BusinessObjects Edge to turn business intelligence into a competitive advantage: 

1. Easy access and use: Business intelligence systems that are difficult to use and require large amounts of IT support are unlikely to be adopted, and they will put pressure on internal resources. This translates to a higher internal hurdle and, ultimately, lower ROI. Instead, select a solution that is designed with the end-user – in the business areas – in mind. 

2. Build an operation: Don’t treat every report request as ad hoc. You’ll see patterns in the needs of decision makers: use this to develop reports that can be automated and disseminated regularly. You and the recipients won’t have to think about the reports. Instead, you can think about the information they contain. 

3. Adjust your culture: Set the expectation for report input into strategic planning, execution, and monitoring. If people know that business intelligence reports will be coming from SAP BusinessObjects Edge – particularly through the automation of regular updates (see #2, above), they will be more likely to integrate them into planning cycles. Develop and automate post-execution reports for monitoring the performance of your corporate strategy, and company leadership will use them.

4. Always cite the data: Make it a habit to always check the data! When a question arises or debate over an opportunity occurs, provide a relevant report. Show what a strong business intelligence solution can do. After a while, business intelligence use will become ingrained in your company’s operations. 

5. Measure, monitor, and refine: Strategy doesn’t stop with execution. Use SAP BusinessObjects Edge to show the results of major investments and decisions that your company has made. These progress reports will provide a foundation for turning strategic planning into an ongoing discipline, which will put you ahead of your competitors. 

For more information on SAP BusinessObjects Edge visit:

Four Ways to Take Your Future Into Your Own Hands

How much faith do you have in your forecasts? Laden with assumptions and often supported with little data, projections tend to be shrouded in uncertainty, necessarily, and thus inspire little confidence. It isn’t unusual to hear forecasts likened to guesses, even by the teams that prepared them. To inspire more support for your projections, you need to consider four simple factors: data quality, business intelligence software, modeling capabilities, and a bias toward action. 

1. Data quality: Starting with unreliable data virtually assures that your conclusions – and resulting actions – will be ineffective. Forecasting practices can be improved substantially by gaining full access to all the data in your organization and pulling it together in a way that facilitates comparison and granular analysis.

2. Business intelligence software: Being able to reach across all the systems in your company for the data you need is simplified with a robust business intelligence solution, such as SAP® Crystal Reports®. This platform provides rich features without being cost-prohibitive to smaller and medium-sized businesses. Use this solution to make more sense of your data by turning it into analysis that can be put to work.

3. Modeling capabilities: What does the future hold? Even basic scenario modeling capabilities can help you understand the implications of the decisions that you make based on the analysis of your data. Before committing to a course of action, do some “what if” planning to test your assumptions.

4. A bias toward action: Forecasting and planning are meaningless if you don’t plan to take action. Use your analysis and scenario modeling to develop – and execute – a plan for the future. Turn your business intelligence efforts into results, and drive ROI for your organization. 

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Make Continuous Strategic Analysis a Reality

Strategic planning is not a trivial undertaking. It involves a considerable amount of market research, competitive analysis, and internal assessment before delivering the insights you need to go to market powerfully and for results. Because of the effort involved, strategy becomes only an occasional consideration, with overhauls sometimes coming only after several years, with infrequent refresh initiatives in between. The notion of making strategic planning and analysis continuous seems more than daunting – in fact, many would think it’s impossible.

The reality, however, is far different. If you can find a way to revisit your strategy regularly, with fresh, reliable data, your company will be able to adapt to market changes quickly, identifying and preparing for new trends while your competitors have yet to notice. The advantage is salient and powerful … all you need is a way to make it happen. 

Business intelligence software fills the crucial gap in capabilities that most companies have when it comes to ongoing strategic planning and analysis. By streamlining the reporting process, a solution like SAP® Crystal Reports® slashes the time necessary to gather, integrate, and present your organization’s data to key decision-makers, lowering the total cost of strategy and execution. Ultimately, of course, this results in a lower overall cost of going to market while simultaneously generating ROI. 

Ongoing strategic planning with SAP Crystal Reports, essentially, delivers a magnified ROI case by enabling the potential of continues strategic analysis but at a substantially lower cost. In the short term, this means that you get more for your money, in terms of the business intelligence software investment. Over a loner time horizon, however, it can transform your organization, as continuous strategy formulation and analysis opens new markets, unveils business opportunities you may have missed, and provides a platform for accelerated market share capture. 

You need to be able to change with the market, from what happens on a daily basis to your company’s overall perspective. Infrequent strategic planning doesn’t provide the necessary flexibility. Use SAP Crystal Reports to turn faster access to comprehensible data into a foundation for maturing your approach to company strategy, and the upside is virtually unlimited. 

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Thursday, 7 October 2010

Hone Your Strategic Edge

Strategy drives business. Unless you have set a course for the future, the market will do so for you, leaving you at the whim of competitors and consumers. Instead of leaving everything to chance, take control of your business, and you will drive better financial results, secure market share, and create a better work environment for your employees. The key to improving the effectiveness of your strategy is data – particularly how you use it.

Business intelligence capabilities are fundamental to effective strategic planning. Absent robust reporting capabilities, securing the data you need for the strategic planning process means accessing several systems (sometimes many), and having your team fit the data together in a way that makes it usable for company executives and decision-makers.

The problem that arises is the cost of strategy: you have to invest heavily in understanding your data in order to integrate it into the strategic planning process. When faced with this hurdle – and the elevated ROI case it entails – smaller and medium-sized businesses can either sacrifice some strategic edge or set more aggressive objectives in order to attain desired ROI levels.

What does this really mean? You can either take action to hone your strategic edge, or you could choose to forgo it completely.

With SAP BusinessObjects Edge, you don’t have to settle for the latter. This reporting solution can effectively integrate all the data in your company and make it available through a single utility. As a result, you can streamline the reporting process, reducing the internal costs associated with intensive analytical exercises and delivering the information you need to enhance your strategic planning efforts.

Data-fueled strategy can become a key differentiator in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Using business intelligence capabilities, you can amp up your strategy and facilitate diligent execution … which is crucial to realizing ROI. SAP BusinessObjects Edge equips you to hone your strategic edge – and cut through a challenging competitive landscape.

For more information on SAP BusinessObjects Edge visit

5 Ways to Use Your Data for Profitable Growth

How well do you know your company? Even if you’re in touch with colleagues across the business regularly, collaborate effectively, and monitor internal and external developments, there’s plenty you can miss.

Ultimately, any perspective should be informed by the data created by your company through the normal course of operations. Mix these insights with what you learn by interacting with employees and customers, and you’ll have a reliable platform for strategic decision-making.

Use SAP Crystal Reports Server to power a business intelligence effort that drives tangible results for your company. Affordable, flexible and comprehensive, you can use this dashboard management solution to automate reporting, tailor output to specific audiences, and reduce the time and effort it takes to turn your company’s data into decisions that fuel profitable growth.

Here are five ways you can use SAP Crystal Reports Server to get ahead in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

1. Monitor performance: use the summary dashboards available through SAP Crystal Reports Server for the fast, high-level views of your business that keep you in sync with the rhythm of your operation—and which can provide signals when deeper investigation is necessary

2. View relevant data: personalize reports for key stakeholders across your company to ensure that they won’t have to sift through unrelated data to identify the key points they need to manage their departments, markets, or partners.

3. Communicate results: export SAP Crystal Reports Server data to Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to facilitate the communication and presentation of findings to other people in your company. Streamline the process by which intelligence becomes action.

4. Integrate with other applications: using Java or .Net, you can connect SAP Crystal Reports Server with other applications, making your reports available more widely and in other tools that your employees use to run your company.

5. Manage costs: expensive reporting solutions set a higher hurdle for realizing ROI. Priced at attainable levels for small and mid-sized businesses, SAP Crystal Reports Server accelerates the benefits of company-wide reporting and reduces the risk associated with your investment.

For more information on SAP Crystal Reports Server visit