Preferred Strategies: Business Intelligence for JD Edwards

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1 Preferred Strategies: Business Intelligence for JD Edwards For the fourth year in a row, Business Intelligence software tops the list for IT investments according to Gartner Research. If you are not currently implementing Business Intelligence technologies at your organization and need assistance in determining your readiness for Business Intelligence, we can help you. Previously, most companies had other IT priorities that took precedence over Business Intelligence such as ERP, Disaster Recovery, High Availability, CRM, Computer upgrades, etc. As these other projects are completed, companies are now making Business Intelligence their top priority. Unlike many other IT investments, implementing Business Intelligence software, when done correctly, allows both IT and business users to reap the benefits. There is no better win for both the Business and IT when end users become self sufficient at analyzing and building their own reports without relying on IT. Especially in a down economy, companies need to deliver more with fewer resources and with smaller workforces, software needs to make people more efficient and replace manual processes. Common JD Edwards Reporting Challenges Why do you need better reporting or Business Intelligence? After living with JD Edwards for several years, most companies conclude that the system is a great transactional system to support data entry, but lacks quality tools for data retrieval. Several common JD Edwards reporting challenges are listed below: ERP data model too complex Requires IT level skills Report development outsourced to consultants Static Delivery Formats (PDF, Excel, Paper) Limited / No Drilldown Reports take too long to run JD Edwards internal tools are limited to ERP data only Lack of professional appeal with limited ability to add charts and logos Month-end Financial close process is too long with reports manually prepared in spreadsheets Multiple versions of the truth Although leveraging internal JD Edwards reporting options may seem like the best approach to retrieve information from JD Edwards with the greatest cost savings, in reality it is not. You will likely spend much more time and money developing and maintaining content with out-of-box JD Edwards reporting tools than with third party software applications. Not only will you over spend on development; your deliverables will be static and less desirable than what you can attain from third party alternatives.

2 Readiness to implement Business Intelligence If Business Intelligence is not yet a company priority, there are many factors that determine when your company will make Business Intelligence a top priority. Every company has a different tolerance level for how long they will put up with what JD Edwards delivers out-of-box in the area of reporting and business intelligence. The best way to move forward on a Business Intelligence effort is to gain the buy-in and commitment from your executive management team. The level of knowledge managers have about reporting and business intelligence software capabilities varies by individual and company. Managers who have implemented Business Intelligence successfully in the past advocate that it is the only way to operate a business. People without exposure to Business Intelligence do not know what they are missing and therefore have limited knowledge to the tangible and intangible benefits that Business Intelligence can deliver for a nominal investment. The bottom-line is that companies who are not implementing Business Intelligence today are likely going to in the near future. Once they do, they will become more agile and knowledgeable on all aspects of their business performance that will provide them an edge over their competition, improve their profitability, and increase their market share. Do you want your competition to have more visibility into their business than you have in yours? To gauge your readiness for Business intelligence, we recommend you perform a gap analysis on how you currently retrieve and analyze information from JD Edwards and other corporate systems today versus how you would like to in an ideal world. If you currently close your books in twelve days and want to reduce the number of days to seven, you will want to identify which parts of this process can be automated with Business Intelligence. Some parts of your gap analysis will be very quantitative while others will not be. There are many benefits of Business Intelligence that are intangible, i.e. Single Version of the Truth, Better Strategies and Plans, Greater Customer Satisfaction, Greater Employee Satisfaction, etc. How do you quantify the gains to your organization for viewing and analyzing your monthly financial performance five days earlier than today? Being able to react to issues earlier and make better business decision based on factual information rather than gut feel is the core to Business Intelligence, but how does this relate to ROI or hard dollars? The key to Business Intelligence is how it can change the culture of your company to be more of a knowledge centric organization that is more informed than your competition. If you are interested, Preferred Strategies can provide you a template for your gap analysis and can help you complete your readiness assessment.

3 Various Business Intelligence Approaches Once you are ready to implement Business Intelligence, there are various reporting and business intelligence options available to JD Edwards customers. The good news is that larger your list of requirements and capabilities, the shorter the list of potential vendors. We have categorized below the primary types of solutions you will likely be considering for Business Intelligence: Specialized/Niche End-to-End Data Warehouse Live Data The solutions for you to select will likely be a Specialized/Niche or End-to-End, each of which will include a Data Warehouse approach or connect directly to your operational data sources. Your challenge is to identify and understand the pros and cons of these solutions and decide which approach is the best long-term fit for your organization. Specialized/Niche vs. End-to-End Reporting and Business Intelligence solutions When you go to a JD Edwards tradeshow primarily what you see on the exhibit floor is Specialized/Niche Reporting solutions tailored for JD Edwards. We consider Specialized/Niche solutions to be restricted to JD Edwards, a module of JD Edwards or specific reporting or business intelligence function. Specialized/Niche software applications are developed by firms to address specific challenges related to JD Edwards reporting such as Adhoc querying of data, automation of a spreadsheet, or a forms program used specifically for AP Checks, Purchase Orders, etc. Due to their sound integration into JD Edwards and their quick ability to resolve your current challenges, Specialized/Niche solutions have instant appeal to customers. What Specialized/Niche solutions lack is the ability to become long-term investments that can accommodate future corporate requests for additional capabilities. True long-term strategies for Business Intelligence currently can only be accomplished by implementing an End-to-End Reporting and Business Intelligence solution. According to Gartner, Business Intelligence Platforms must include 8 of the 12 capabilities listed below. We consider these solutions to be End-to-End Business Intelligence solutions. Integration Information and Delivery Analysis 5. Reporting 6. Dashboards 7. Ad hoc Query 8. MS Office Integration 1. BI Infrastructure 2. Metadata Management 3. Development 4. Workflow and Collaboration 9. OLAP 10. Advanced Visualization 11. Predictive Modeling and data mining 12. Scorecards

4 The strength of End-to-End Business Intelligence solutions is the depth and breadth of capabilities and their agnostic approach to data sources that allow you to standardize on one Business Intelligence platform and address all information requests across all corporate systems. One advantage of Specialized/Niche solutions over End-to-End solutions is their ability to provide easy integration and jumpstart for JD Edwards specific requests while customers who implement End-to-End Business Intelligence software applications often have to build their JD Edwards content from scratch unless they can find it from another partner who specializes in that specific software application. The ideal scenario would be to leverage all the advantages of the Specialized/Niche solution with the depth, breadth and flexibility that the End-to-End solutions provide. This would allow you to invest in a long-term strategy and provide you the ability to immediately address JD Edwards requirements but at the same time, lower your total cost of ownership by standardizing on a Business Intelligence solution for years to come. Data Warehouse vs. Live Data solutions As discussed in the JD Edwards common reporting challenges above, we mentioned the complexity of the JD Edwards data model and how this translates to IT involvement in reporting functions for JD Edwards. Some example data model complexities of JD Edwards are: 1. Cryptic Table Names (F0006) 2. Cryptic Field Names (MCMCU) 3. Amounts and Units stored without Decimals ($ is stored as 10000) 4. Dates stored in Julian Format (3/31/2010 is stored as ) 5. User Defined Code descriptions stored in table with values stored in different data type 6. Summary JD Edwards tables store data in format that requires the reporting or BI tool to calculate data correctly All the leading Specialized/Niche Reporting solutions for JD Edwards address these data model complexities. Some firms use a Data Warehouse to resolve these complexities while others build logic into their software that addresses these intricacies with the ability to connect directly to your Live operational JD Edwards data. There are advantages and disadvantages of both Data Warehouse solutions and Live Data solutions for JD Edwards. Since we have compared these solutions in detail in our whitepaper, titled we will not cover them in detail in this document. The primary differentiator is that Data Warehouse solutions tend to be IT Intensive and require more IT involvement to deliver reporting and BI content to business users. Live Data solutions tend to be more IT Lite and require much less IT involvement than their Data Warehouse counterparts.

5 How to choose the right solution? When selecting a Business Intelligence solution there are several criteria and factors that need to be considered. Some key factors are identified below: Ease of Use so end users can develop their own reports and analyze data quickly and easily on their own without IT assistance. Standardization so you can implement and maintain one software package that addresses all corporate requirements, reporting and business intelligence functions. Performance so reports and queries run fast without impacting transactional users. Empower Management so they can drilldown through reports, queries, and dashboards to answer questions on their own without Finance or IT assistance. Integration to JD Edwards so you do not have to spend months or years developing content for users to start leveraging Business Intelligence. The goal is to choose the software that provides the best balance of capabilities and characteristics that will not only meet your short term requirements but is also visionary enough to meet your organization s long-term information goals. How Preferred Strategies Differentiates from all other Business Intelligence Solutions for JD Edwards Since 2001, Preferred Strategies delivers End-to-End Business Intelligence solutions with Specialized/Niche offerings to JD Edwards customers. With Preferred Strategies prebuilt content for JD Edwards you can maximize your reporting and business intelligence development efforts, save precious resource hours, and deliver an immediate win to your end users and management team. The Preferred Strategies solution is unique in that it is the only IT Lite reporting and business intelligence solution for JD Edwards that delivers the advantages of Specialized/Niche, End-to-End, Data Warehouse, and Live Data reporting and business intelligence solutions combined. Details of the Preferred Strategies solution: End-to-End Preferred Strategies uses Business Objects as the reporting and BI platform of choice to deliver all BI content to users. Business Objects is the largest and most widely used business intelligence software and delivers more world-class reporting and BI capabilities than any other reporting and business intelligence solution.

6 Specialized/Niche Preferred Strategies BI Quick Launch includes tailored content for JD Edwards that jumpstarts your Reporting and Business Intelligence implementation with over one hundred templates and samples for JD Edwards that are installed and configured to your environment in approximately one week. Preferred Strategies provides Report Templates and Samples for Crystal Reports and Universes (Business Objects semantic layer) for Adhoc Query, Dashboards, Advanced Visualization, and MS Office Integration capabilities. Data Warehouse Preferred Strategies Operational Data Store (ODS) for JD Edwards provides you the flexibility of offloading reporting and BI from the operational system to another database. The ODS includes Extract, Transform, and Load transforms to move data from your operational JD Edwards database to your data warehouse. The Preferred Strategies BI Quick Launch can then be integrated into your data warehouse content. Live Data Preferred Strategies content can work directly over your operational JD Edwards data or a copy of your JD Edwards data if you do not wish to pursue a data warehouse. If you want to augment some reporting and BI against your live data with data stored in a data warehouse, Preferred Strategies provides that flexibility. Preferred Strategies Implementation Program: Preferred Strategies provides the full spectrum of Business Intelligence implementation and ongoing support services. Preferred Strategies can have your Business Intelligence platform up with pre-built content for JD Edwards within a week, rather than months with other vendors. Preferred Strategies delivers a tailored training program with all exercises performed on your site using your JD Edwards data. Preferred Strategies also provides a knowledge base to help with BI related issues for JD Edwards and a user group that meets on a quarterly basis over the web. Learn More To learn more about Preferred Strategies or Business Objects, please contact us at (888) , send an to or visit our web site at Whitepapers: End-to-End vs. Specialized/Niche Business Intelligence Solutions _Data_Warehouse_vs_Live_Data_Reporting.pdf Data Warehouse vs. Live Data Business Intelligence Solutions End_vs_Niche_BI_Solutions_for_JD_Edwards.pdf

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