From its inception SunSystems was the global financial management system to beat for flexible, international accounting purposes. The Analysis Dimensions structure (originally called A-codes and T-codes) made it so easy to allocate, track and report every transaction any which way you cared. The smart design and elegant execution of Analysis Dimensions made self-service, P&L reporting to the cost centre a breeze.

SunSystems v6.2, just released, raises the game significantly. Infor has introduced a new module called Extended Analysis. This looks like metadata by another name to me and that is very exciting. Wikipedia describes metadata as “data about data” but that really doesn’t get across the value and benefits to a business person. Many companies spend a lot of time and money implementing additional reporting tools to overcome the structural weaknesses or limitations of their underlying accounting system. They need to slice and dice, separate and aggregate, uncover similarities and exceptions, introduce categorisation and taxonomies, all to assist in better decision making and performance management.

Metadata is the concept of assigning useful and relevant classification and categorisation to underlying entities. For example, a hospitality company may have a number of brands of hotel in their portfolio and typically their reporting will run across the whole business and up and down each operational line. Fair enough. But what if you want to get an analysis based on property bed capacity across all hotel brands, eg “compare the housekeeping costs by state, and urban vs regional, for all hotels in the group with a bed capacity of less than 250 beds against those of more than 250” There could be multiple properties across the brands in the group that belong to this category of “urban + bed capacity ≤ 250”, but a normal accounting system doesn’t hold that classification anywhere. Hence the historical need for extra reporting tools that allows non-financial categorisation of the business entities. Not any more for SunSystems clients.

Similarly, in financial services there is a raft of information about every fund and product. In the not for profit sector every service program carries operational criteria. For associations and memberships the member types, rights and classifications can be fleshed out. In the natural resources sector there are reams of project-based information to hold. This concept of metadata is applicable to every market sector.

The newly released SunSystems Extended Analysis module allows you to build a completely customised operational taxonomy and structure in ways that you only ever dreamed of. Not only could you overlay an organisational taxonomy across the business, but with 35 user-definable fields you can pretty much build out a mini parallel reporting universe. Couple this with the latest version of the Infor Q&A reporting tool, called Q&A Evolve, and many companies will find less of a need to step outside their existing systems and tools to get radically improved, operationally relevant, financial reports straight from the data source.

 

You can read more about Professional Advantage and Infor SunSystems here.

 
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