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How to Avoid Downloading Data from JDE into Excel for Reporting

In the JDE community, it’s not uncommon for users to download data from their ERP or other systems to bring together different data sets and perform offline processes. For example, they may export multiple grids or screens, blend the data back together, and use VLOOKUP or SUM functions to get to the level of detail they need. Most users are accustomed to doing this as a workaround for not having all the reporting functionality they really want in JDE. 

It’s frustrating not to be able to access data in the desired format. Downloads and query tools can get you SOME of what you need, but they don’t take you all the way. Additional requests around reporting tend to pile up, and more and more time is spent manually producing reports. That time could be spent on valuable analysis instead. 

What Happens When You Take Data out of JDE for Analysis?

Extracting data into Excel is often a cumbersome affair, and one that comes with its own set of challenges. 

Taking Data Offline for Analysis Is: 

  • Time Consuming
  • Error Prone
  • Hard to Replicate

By exporting data into Excel and doing manual manipulation, users are creating an aspect of their workflow that must be by hand every time. This means if a customized analysis process takes 4 hours this month, it will take another 4 hours next month. There is little gain in efficiency no matter how many times the same process is performed. As more requests are added, the burden and complexity of reporting increases. 

It also means there is often only one person in the company or department who knows how to do that specific task. They figured it out, but may not have documented it and trained others. This lack of knowledge transfer creates a risk for repeatability as well. It also means the next person may do the process differently, leading to discontinuity in results and how the data is interpreted. 

What Are the Alternatives to Doing Analysis Offline?

Often, even mature companies with good systems in place have some reporting processes that are handled manually in Excel. This is especially true for organizations with data from multiple entities. For example, a subsidiary company might do internal reporting one way, but be required to use a different type of reporting when sending information to the parent company. This might entail exporting report data, remapping everything, and then sending that result to the parent entity.

Or, a parent company might be trying to reconcile different general ledgers across multiple subsidiary entities. This can prove to be a struggle with trying to bring together exports of various income statements into Excel from different COAs and trying to get everything to match up. 

Is Manual, Customized Reporting a Process That CAN Be Automated? 

Yes, but developing custom reports in JDE can be hard and time consuming as well. The ERP dev cycle is notoriously lengthy and may involve substantial strain on internal IT resources or hiring an expensive outside firm over a period of many months to design and build what’s required. 

Commonly used query tools often only get you halfway there due to the complexity of this type of reporting. Additional data manipulation is often required. Or, it may be necessary to develop a custom report in the ERP system. Anything these systems aren’t designed to handle out-of-the-box can entail additional customization costs on top of the high expense of the software.

However, the Cetova reporting system does work consistently well in these situations, at a fraction of the cost. Cetova can bring together not only JDE data from multiple business entities, but also data from other 3rd party systems to create consistent and accurate reports. 

Once the desired calculations are defined in a Cetova report, all the steps previously done manually in Excel are executed automatically in the reporting system. This saves hours of time per month, ensures repeatability, and preserves data integrity by reducing human input errors. 

In addition, Cetova can automate your entire reporting process. Once created, reports can be run on demand in a variety of formats and scheduled to email or to be copied to a network share. After the initial effort of designing the reports, it’s the push of a button to run and export them each month.

How Can You Ensure Reliability In Your Automated Custom Reports?

It is critical to be able to trust the data coming out of reporting and analytics. Eliminating offline data manipulation does help, but there are other steps you can take as well. For example, one company we worked with was trying to build a P&L report to break down recurring vs. non-recurring revenue. They exported transactions to Excel, categorized them manually (based on information in a description field), and then used pivot tables and SUMIF statements to hack together the reporting. We cover common pitfalls in reporting from your COA like this here.

This was certainly a process that could be automated, but the underlying issue was the Chart of Accounts and how revenue was being classified. Getting the COA set up and optimized properly was critical for booking revenue to the right hierarchy of accounts. Category codes also made it simple to group different accounts together based on revenue type. As we’ve explored previously, having a uniform COA that is designed around reporting makes Cetova an even more powerful tool.

To learn more about Cetova, COA redesign, and automation of your common work processes in JDE, contact our team today.

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