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Are you trying to keep track of progress, costs, resources utilization, timeliness, “at completion” and other important KPIs? You probably rely on some standard reports obtainable from your ERP system, especially if it is tuned for project management, and maybe you use Crystal as well. It is a certainty that you and others on your team rely heavily on good old Excel for all kinds of project reporting, analytics and planning.

Like so many others who use Excel to run a business, you will also have first-hand knowledge of its utilization headaches and increasing unmanageability. Essentially, a spreadsheet-based system will always topple over for at least these reasons: Excel is a personal, not a collaborative productivity tool; there is no direct connection to underlying data, and; the complexities of your own business will overwhelm even the most cleverly multi-tabbed rendering of a project management model.

What is needed is a fast way of organizing financial and non-financial metrics together, in a modeling environment that can accommodate Project Managers, the Finance team, and any other key project participants. Experience points to a Business Intelligence – OLAP solution that, in the first instance, leverages the ERP system, which is designed to capture and store transactional project data. Next, an OLAP cube component allows for exceptionally fast consolidations and calculations (replacing those thousands of Excel cell calcs), which are what managers are most interested in.

Users should be able to access any reports or analytics via a preferred client interface, including Excel, and be able to “slice and dice” their data any way they wish, with full self-sufficiency to understand how to do their job better. They should also be able to define metrics they require, and be able to create them on their own or direct skilled staff to create/distribute those metrics, online, in a matter of minutes.

PARIS Technologies’ latest offering, Olation,implements in the same environment as the ERP, so both the transactional and calculated data is likewise dynamically available to all front ends: Crystal, SSRS, other report writers, dashboards, PowerOLAP, and even other Business Intelligence products. Whether your business concerns performance management of construction or other project activity, a Business Intelligence – OLAP solution will enable you will to realize enormous value, obtain on-time metrics, and make speedier, fully informed decisions.

Originally contributed by Jessica Otero on 7/23/14, read the entire post here.