Paper360 - March/April 2016 - (Page 58)

the bottom line | ERP DATA SWM Gets Faster ERP Financial Data An Excel-based tool gives SWM faster access to real-time Oracle ERP system data for richer reports with minimal IT assistance. THERESA DOPPEL Creating timely, accurate and visually appealing reports is often time consuming for finance and accounting users of complex ERP systems like SAP and Oracle. Yet these reports provide vital data for making decisions and assessing business performance - especially in a capital intensive, low-margin industry like pulp and paper. While essential for collecting data, these ERP systems fall short in financial reporting capabilities, leaving finance users to reach for Microsoft Excel, a preferred tool for manipulating data. Unfortunately, actually getting data from the ERP system into Excel involves repetitive manual exports and data reformatting. Schweitzer-Mauduit International (SWM) has been an Oracle E-Business Suite user since 1995, when the company formed via spin-off from Kimberly-Clark Corp. A provider of engineered solutions and advanced materials, including specialty papers for the tobacco and other industries, SWM and its subsidiaries operate in nine countries. While running Oracle E-Business Suite (EBS) Version 11i in 2004, SWM began searching for more efficient ways for finance users to create reports. INSTANT ACCESS TO ERP DATA At the time, SWM used several methods to extract Oracle general ledger (GL) data, all of which were "cumbersome, time-consuming, inefficient and error prone," says Bob German, senior cost accounting manager for SWM. These methods included Oracle Business Intelligence Discoverer reports, standard Oracle reports and use of Microsoft Access. "Discoverer is not friendly for the basic financial accounting user, so creating new reports always required IT support," says German. "Once IT programmed the report and we ran it, the export to Excel was in a very rudimentary format and required lots of massaging in another spreadsheet tab to tailor the report for the final audience." 58 Paper360º MARCH/APRIL 2016 Figure A Figure B Schweitzer-Mauduit International (SWM) went from exporting static Oracle data into Excel (Figure A) to pulling live Oracle data directly into its Excel-based reporting tool (Figure B) for up-to-the minute financial information. The process was similarly inefficient using Access and standard Oracle reports to retrieve the GL data and put it into Excel for presentation. In addition, one detailed report had to be completely re-keyed into Excel. Because standard Oracle financial reporting tools did not fit its requirements for user friendliness and data access, in 2004 SWM began to evaluate third-party software alternatives. A database administrator eventually discovered Excel-based GL Wand from Excel4apps. With its direct link to real-time Oracle data and familiar Excel interface, GL Wand became a prime candidate, and SWM decided to participate in a trial of the financial reporting tool. "GL Wand stood out among the competition because it could provide instantaneous data, as Oracle journal entries are immediately reflected in the report once entered," says German. "Some competitors required an interface from Oracle to a separate data storage table. So, if you set up the data feed for every half hour, you were stuck waiting 30 minutes, and if you set it up for every five minutes, it tended to be a resource hog for the ERP system." SWM's Accounting Organization for the North American business unit was pleased that GL Wand could instantly provide current financial data via Excel, and SWM's IT

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Paper360 - March/April 2016

Over the Wire
Engineering: A Continuing Evolution
RISI’s European CEO of the Year
Sappi Europe: Serious About the Future of Paper
Reliability and Maintenance Beliefs – Part IV
Discovering Hidden Causes of Converting Problems
Barrier Technologies: The New Revolution in Food Packaging
Standard Bleaching Sequences Including an Ozone Stage – Part I
TAPPI Journal Summaries
Consolidation Watch
SWM Gets Faster ERP Financial Data
Battling Rejection Burnout
Association News
Index of Advertisers

Paper360 - March/April 2016