Many people think that death and taxes are the only certain things in life. I would add change to that list. Change is the reality for businesses big and small, and the increased complexity that change usually brings makes it a challenge. One way companies are meeting that challenge is by demanding more from their ERP systems.
A good case in point is Sony Pictures Entertainment and its financial reporting needs. Producing movies has always been a complicated business with unique accounting methods. Sony Pictures Entertainment has a tougher reporting challenge than other companies because it has many subsidiaries and is part of a larger international corporation. Not only does the company need to consolidate reporting up through its subsidiaries, it consolidates reporting again at the corporate level. And it has to happen in real time.
These reporting demands were a key driver for the company’s recent upgrade to SAP NetWeaver BI 7.0. All groups can now receive reports, delivered through SAP NetWeaver Portal, that have only the information needed in the desired format. The groups get it faster, and because it’s coming from one source with a common set of tools, the information is also more accurate.
It’s not just businesses coping with the challenge of change. Government is also looking to its ERP systems to keep pace with new demands. Sedgwick County in Kansas responded to a taxpayer demand for more transparency in government by creating a Web-based portal. Residents can access dashboards on this portal that show how well each county department is meeting certain key performance indicators. It also serves as a good management tool for department heads.
Both Sony Pictures Entertainment and Sedgwick County didn’t just keep up with change by means of their respective projects. They came out ahead of where they had been. By removing a lot of labor from the reporting process, Sony Pictures Entertainment gave itself more time to react to the information in its reports. Sedgwick County did not just meet a taxpayer demand; it found itself with a new tool to help drive new efficiencies and better spend taxpayer dollars. This is what happens when you expect more from your ERP system.