Covering the essentials of business intelligence, explore the features & functions for an overview.
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CFOs and finance leaders around the world are embracing the latest trends in data analytics and business intelligence to drive both operational and strategic decision-making. This is, of course, in addition to their core corporate finance and financial reporting responsibilities. To do all of this efficiently, finance departments need to be empowered with a best-in-class reporting tool that makes it extremely easy to cull out and analyze vast amounts of data. That is where Orbit’s GLSense comes in.
The CEO of Microsoft recently proclaimed that Excel is probably the best consumer product the company has ever made. With an estimated 750 million users worldwide, Excel has been a key part of almost all number crunching activities. Leaders in finance, too, have often used Excel for data analysis.
Enterprises use financial software like Oracle cloud ERP Financials, Oracle E-Business Suite or NetSuite Financials, to act as a single source of truth for all financial data. But if a finance leader wants to download this data into Excel, for either reporting or analytics, just Excel will not work. Using only Excel will result in doing tedious manual work and will be prone to costly errors.
While Excel is a wonderful medium, finance leaders need a solution integrated with Excel, wherein the business user can conduct reporting and analysis on General Ledger (GL) data. That is exactly where a tool like Orbit’s GLSense comes in.
Whether you are running period end closes or performing general ledger account analyses, you need real-time access to accurate financial data. GLSense integrates with your ERP to give you up to the minute financial data, directly inside of Excel.
GLSense is designed to help finance departments do the following with ease:
• Access financial data in Oracle Cloud ERP Financials, E-Business Suite and NetSuite
• Build instantly refreshable reports and financial statements
• Drill down to live GL transactional details, without leaving Excel
• GLSense users can access all their user-defined fields within Excel
• Simple and secure report distribution
• Available on cloud and on premises
As most of our customers have experienced, the “drilling down” inside of Excel is a critical feature. So, how does it specifically help? One, it makes it really easy for the finance department to check and analyze key financial reports including balance sheets and P&L statements. While these statements offer only a high-level view, the ability to drill down to multiple levels enables both a top-down and bottom-up analysis of the entire business.
Financial insights from enterprise-wide data
But it does not end here. In today’s world, the finance department is playing a critical role in driving insights from enterprise-wide data analytics. CFOs and finance leaders are not just managing “finance departments” anymore. They are playing a crucial role in aiding decision-making, both strategic and operational, that involves data from across the enterprise.
At a fast-growing, diversified real-estate management company, the CFO and the finance department led a customer analytics initiative. The key objective was to drill down into customer data and look for patterns based on analyzing revenue from rentals for a range of locations, facilities and apartment sizes. They also wanted to analyze the contribution from commercial and retail rental, as compared with housing rental income. Traditionally, this process would have been led by the business unit head with support from IT. But, with the power of self-serve data analytics, the finance team was able to general insights on revenue split and the key drivers of growth for multiple offerings.
While all financial reports resided in Oracle Fusion, the finance department was able to drill down (to multiple levels) using Orbit’s GLSense Excel add-in, making it easier to conduct analysis.
A collaborative finance department
The finance department is now able to play a critical role in driving efficiency into several areas including procurement, sales and marketing (price analytics, revenue driver analysis, churn-analysis, etc.), technology (IT investment planning and forecasting and budgeting) and HR (business growth vs. payroll costs). Overall, the finance department is able to collaborate with business unit or functional heads as a strategic partner.
When the finance team is offering strategic insights from data to departments outside of the finance purview, it is important to adopt a collaborative mindset. One of our customers – a large consumer-facing company – used Orbit’s pre-built integration to analyze customer data. (While the finance team started the project, the key was to leverage the sales team to deploy the analytics model. It was critical to have a “partner mindset” to ensure the strategic input was operationalized. Broadly, a three-step approach was followed by the finance team.
The first step was to define the objective of the process. In this case, it was to offer personalized messaging to increase profitability from happy customers (repeat customers). The finance team spotted this opportunity.
The second phase was to build an analytical model, wherein the targeted customer segment was offered upgraded, rewards and special offers. This process was spearheaded by finance.
The third step was to collaborate with the field sales and marketing teams to build a process to operationalize this strategy.
Orbit’s reporting and analytics product also helps bring in data from multiple sources (for example, customer data from Salesforce & operational data from Oracle cloud ERP Financials into a single dashboard of reports. This is a critical feature for finance teams to be able to analyze reports from multiple sources.
Orbit was designed from the ground up to meet the need for self-service reporting and analytics. Application platform-agnostic and database-independent, Orbit integrates with Oracle EBS, Fusion, NetSuite, Salesforce and many other applications, and connects to multiple data sources and applications, to let you report on your entire organizational data, wherever it is held.
With Orbit, business users can create tables, pivots, spreadsheets, charts, maps and visualizations. An intelligent query generator returns ad hoc results instantly. Users can drill down for granular detail, run reports in real-time or on schedule, then share with others in a variety of formats. Fully secure, Orbit complies with your existing security and authentication, to secure access down to the row level.
Orbit’s GLSense is one of our products that is designed to build and analyze financial statements in Excel using real-time data from your ERP.
If you would like to schedule a demo of GLSense, visit here: https://go.orbitanalytics.com/glsense-demo
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