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"Innovative Thinking" A Newsletter from Innovative IT Consulting In This Issue

February 2012

Business Intelligence is a driving factor in most ERP decisions and projects. In this issue we look at the variety of options and tools available for Sage ERP X3 to highlight where the market is going.

In the expert's corner John Pellegrino dives deeper into the X3 Product Configurator, Round 3 on some challenges and some time proven techniques for meeting those challenges.

On the blog front, check out Paul's latest post on the Sage ERP Business Management Blog - on the role of functionality in your ERP project.

Sage Summit - coming sooner than you think! Sage Summit is the Sage worldwide users conference. Last year Sage successfully merged the partner and customer conferences and it created a lot of synergy and value for all. We encourage you to attend and participate. We're planning a meeting specifically for the X3 community. Stay tuned in our Sage ERP X3 Linked In Group for further details. Click HERE to see what all the excitement is about.

By Paul Sita, Principal, Innovative IT Consulting, LLC. Paul can be reached at 631-549-1685 or psita@innovativeitc.com.

For a while the hype and buzz about BI greatly outweighed the reality of what most ERP systems delivered. That’s what’s really changing. And as with everything else IT, the rise of social media, mobile computing and the change to “swiping instead of typing” has caused a whole industry to pay more attention to usability and delivering the goods. As a way of understanding what is going on, let’s look at the tools and options available with Sage ERP X3.

Crystal Reports. X3 uses Crystal for all of its stock reports and forms. But as Crystal continue to evolve, those reports can have drill down capability, can be emailed, and exported to Excel. Plus with a foundation based on Crystal you can expand into Xcelsius dashboards.

Requestors. X3 provides both out of the box and tools to build requestors. These simple inquiries help manage workflow, provide controls and answer day to day questions. Things such as “show me my open orders that are allocated but not shipped yet”. But wait – there’s regular requestors, plus SQL requestors, and graphical requestors as well as wizards to help you create these.

Business Statistics. X3 also provides a framework for gathering and summing up data called Business Statistics. Business Stats gives you the ability to define and schedule jobs that aggregate data, and update it fully or incrementally and populate SQL tables. Once the data is in those tables, you can create or use std. X3 views of that data, or create your own views, reports, web pages and the like. One popular thing to do is to use Business Stats to populate a data table and then create a thumbnail which can be included on your X3 home page.

Business Intelligence. As if we haven’t already been talking about Business Intelligence – there are available 3rd party tools such as Nectari BI from Tangerine Software. This is a separate tool, designed to be extremely easy to use, that fully integrates with the X3 database. With Nectari, users can create or modify their own reports and views, pivot and filter data, and manage large volumes of data very rapidly. Plus there are tools for working with X3 data directly within Excel. Innovative is a representative of Nectari and we believe it is a significant value add to the X3 environment.

With choice comes responsibility. We’ve only touched briefly on some of the tools available to you. The challenge is to understand your needs, understand your data, and decide on the right tool for the right job. The tools are there – it’s up to you to use them wisely. And of course if you want the best X3 partner to guide you – Innovative is here to help. The X3 eXperts.

By John Pellegrino, Principal, Innovative IT Consulting, LLC. John can be reached at 631-549-1685 or jpellegrino@innovativeitc.com.

This month I continue with a series of tips using the Sage ERP X3 product configuration toolset. Let's see how an age old technique - the use of a variable to set a constant value that is used in many places within the program - can be used to design a robust and easy to maintain configurator.

Old Faithful. Using the example I have been discussing in previous tips regarding different dimensions needed for oval versus rectangular mirrors in order to determine the amount of glass needed in the bill-of-material (BOM), let’s assume I want to put a 10% scrap factor into the calculation every time. I would have at least 2 formulas in calculating the BOM quantity within the configuration scenario. I could just add a “* .10” to each formula – that would work. But, a better way is to add a variable in the parameter initialization section and set it to .10, then use the variable in each formula. Now, if I want to change the factor to 5% because we became more efficient I just need to change it in one place.

Tabling the Issue. However, what if I have 5, 10 or 20 different scenarios, all using the same scrap factor? When I became more efficient I would have to change multiple scenarios to use the 5% constant. Not really a big deal, but we can do one step better which is actually another concept we have used in the past – putting the constant value in a table. In this case we would create a Conversion Table with all the various constant values and then reference the table within each scenario. Changing the .10 to .05 in the table (one place) would produce the necessary effect in all 20 scenarios.

Now you have it, plus you can change it! With the right techniques, your development work gets easier to build and maintain. It's interesting that although the technology and the toolsets have advanced tremendously, many of the concepts I learned back in the 1970’s are still applicable.

"An easy to use inquiry tool that is part of the X3 toolset."

S R U E Q R T O E

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Answer to last month's word scramle.

"The factor most frequently mentioned as "most important" in selecting a particular ERP System." (FUNCTIONALITY)

More information on recent development with Sage ERP X3, and Innovative's expanding practice. Stay tuned. Keep your comments and suggestions coming in. We love to hear from you ! Please keep checking the INNOVATIVE WEB SITE for useful tips, and our newsletter archives.

ERP - Business Intelligence Makes a Comeback! It never really went away.

X3 eXpert's Corner. X3 Product Configurator 3 - A Constant Challenge

Word scramble.

 

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