The ERP system is the workhorse of the modern enterprise. These systems are designed to process transactions into a database at high speed. They’re optimized to do that for order entry, order fulfillment, supply chain management and other core operational activities. But they can't do that, and do the kind of complex analytics queries that people today demand at the same time, or with the same level of efficiency. It’s built for transactional processing, and that’s what it’s going to prioritize. All these other crazy calculations you want it to do--it will do them, but it’s essentially a “not my job” type of situation.
It’s like asking your house painter to create a piece of fine art for you. They might be the best house painter in the world, and they might agree to do it for you, but they work with paint in an entirely different context than a studio artist would. You’re asking a leopard to change their spots.
This makes doing analytics within the ERP painful and frustrating. And what if you want to do analytics across Netsuite plus another business system or ERP--for example, running queries and reports that pull data from Netsuite AND Salesforce AND [fill in as many other systems as you want] all together at the same time?
Companies today have data in many different systems, so this is an increasingly common request. Today, companies fulfill these requests with teams of highly-skilled, highly paid data engineers who manually stitch everything together. It’s not just expensive; it’s way too slow.
The Excel kluge
I ran an IT shop where we handled these kinds of requests all the time. We would say yes, and then the CEO or the executive team would ask, okay, how long is it going to take? The typical answer would be, well, our normal backlog is six weeks, but for you, we can do it in two. And they would come back with, how do I get it this afternoon?
Our answer to that usually ended up being, “well, let’s just ditch the multi-step process and open up Excel. Dump in your data and manually mash it up.” Indeed, almost everyone ends up mashing up multiple data sources in Excel at some point or another (or most of the time!) because they just can’t wait. I think we’re all familiar with the problems with data accuracy, shared visibility and scalability that this type of “Excel kludge” workflow creates.
SAP, one of the leading ERP vendors, saw this reality and attempted to solve it with HANA (high performance analytics appliance), an in-memory, column-oriented database management system that takes transactional system data, re-optimizes it for analytics, and serves it up for their analytics engine. HANA does some things right, but it’s limited to SAP and is still overly expensive and inflexible.
Other ERP systems such as Netsuite and Oracle EBS have made some attempts to assist analysis-frustrated users. They might have some analytics capabilities inside, but even though they're making advances, users are still concluding that it's too slow and not sophisticated enough, and it still doesn’t solve for including data from other systems in your analysis.
Optimized for data analytics
For owners of these systems, there’s Incorta. Incorta is not designed to add transactions to a database at a thousand rows a minute. Rather, it is designed to replicate your ERP data and put it in memory where it is optimized for analytical type calculations. And to also be able to add additional business systems/data easily and quickly.
You can create in Incorta as fast as you can in Excel, while leveraging performance and scalability (Incorta can calculate ad-hoc across billions of rows faster than Excel can process thousands). It’s also straightforward to ensure security and role level permissions of the original data source.
But most importantly, what Incorta gives you is a straightforward path to quickly move beyond the paradigm of rows and columns of data and into the world of modern analytics. Instead of spending so much time trying to decipher what you are seeing on a static Excel spreadsheet, Incorta allows you to spend your time asking tough questions of real-time data and quickly driving to data-powered decisions.
Companies small and large have leveraged Incorta to completely transform how quickly they can make consequential decisions for their businesses. And in this pandemic world that requires agility plus the ability to execute, that can make all the difference.
To learn more about how Incorta provides a better way to analyze and understand Oracle Netsuite data, download our ebook.