Ardent’s portfolio diversity translates into a complex corporate reporting environment where the various lines of business have specialised analytical needs. At the same time, management has the mission of reconciling and consolidating reports from those multiple entities for a cross-enterprise perspective.
Historically, the business users in Ardent’s different divisions relied on unstructured Excel spreadsheets to analyse data from their JD Edwards applications. Depending on the need and the skills of the business user, the spreadsheets could be very sophisticated and could closely mimic native JDE query capabilities. Some had ODBC connections into JD Edwards and other data sources. Others included embedded Visual Basic capabilities.
Despite their sophistication, the spreadsheets created other challenges. Changes in JDE master data would often require changes to the dependent spreadsheet. Also, when the original creator of a spreadsheet would leave the company, they took their knowledge of how to maintain the spreadsheet with them.
And not all of Ardent’s business users were Excel whizzes – so when a new reporting requirement arose, many would turn to IT for help in creating or modifying the needed tool and answering subsequent questions on use and maintenance.