Here are some answers to the questions our users ask us…

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There is no limit in practice to the number of systems which Octelas can link together. Most companies run their business using either a basic accounts package or a more sophisticated ERP system. In almost every case they will also use spreadsheets to handle budgets and forecasts. They may also have CRM and process management systems. It is not uncommon for groups of companies to use several different ERP and other software system. We can link all of this data and still deliver very fast reporting. This is because Octelas only takes the data needed to report changes occurring that day. It doesn’t need to copy all of the data in every dataset, every day.

You already create lots of data in your business. Almost certainly you already run reports from your accounting system and perhaps a CRM and other process management systems, in order to establish exactly what is happening day to day in your business.

Chances are that you manually input much of this data into spreadsheets so that you can combine it to get to key information such as customer gross margins, etc. If so then it’s a slow, laborious and time-consuming process.

Spreadsheets almost always contain errors and so placing too much reliance on them can be tricky The European Spreadsheet Risk Interest Group exists to promote wider understanding of the scale of this risk: “Research on spreadsheet errors began over fifteen years ago. During that time, there has been ample evidence demonstrating that spreadsheet errors are common and nontrivial. Quite simply, spreadsheet error rates are comparable to error rates in other human cognitive activities and are caused by fundamental limitations in human cognition, not mere sloppiness. Nor does ordinary ‘being careful’ eliminate errors or reduce them to acceptable levels”. Ray Panko, 2000

Octelas is a complete solution to all your business reporting needs. It draws together all of the data in your business systems, including the spreadsheets you probably use to hold budgets and forecasts. Every day or several times a day, as you prefer, Octelas does a “data grab” from all of these systems to pick up changes entered that day. Typically Octelas will extract the data once a day at 6pm, when the days work is finished. However we have clients with very fast servers who like to update 2 or 3 times a day.

Octelas offers an extensive gallery of reports covering sales; purchases and stock as well as more specialist reports for particular sectors such as consultancy and retail/wholesale distribution.

The full suite of reports is available to you. Our data analysts will guide you as to the reports which best fit your needs. These will then be adapted to meet your exact requirements. Further adaptations can be made at any time at your request as part of your monthly access fee.

Octelas can connect to cloud and non-cloud based servers. If you use a cloud managed service provider to host your data, our data analysts will explain the various options available to you in order to access Octelas reporting software.

Very fast. Most of our clients are able to get reports in a few seconds. Time to report is only limited by the speed of your own server or (as applicable) the speed of your cloud managed service provider.

In our experience, every team member can benefit from access to Octelas. Owner managers and managing directors tell us that they value the ability to keep tabs on the business areas requiring closest attention day by day. Managers often have a number of favourite reports which they can get to with one click every day, usually  around 6.15pm after business has closed for the day.

Individual department managers will naturally focus on the areas of the business most important to them. Therefore the sales manager will place most emphasis on the daily or weekly performance of the sales team against sales targets.  Octelas allows him or her to look at the details of customer orders including  gross margins. The sales pivot report for example plots customer comparative buying patterns tracked against all or part of the product range.

Production managers often focus on stock reporting and perhaps status of jobs in progress.

Financial controllers are likely to value the ease with which they can drill down into the data of every transaction so as to efficiently manage general ledger items.

There is lots of research highlighting the gains to be made by engaging the whole workforce in improving workflow efficiency and increasing profits:

Much of the workflow efficiency savings come from areas of the business which involve multiple processes. A good example is the experience of one of our client companies which manufactures cable assemblies. Cable assemblies can involve up to 50 separate items, all of which have to be held in stock until needed. The customer order and warehouse management systems are not linked. The location of stock items had to be identified by manual look-up at the start of every day. This meant that hours of production time were being lost every working day. Not only that, it was also an incredibly boring and repetitive task.

The client asked his Illuminis data analyst for help. By making a simple change, their Octelas reporting software now reads in the stock location information against the customer orders every day. This has completely removed the need for a manual look-up. The company estimates that this one simple task has saved about 2 hours each working day. There was no charge to the customer for this service.

Our experience is that most businesses will come up with similar examples of time saving and workflow efficiencies once they have access to Octelas reporting software.

Most definitely, yes. There is a very detailed security layer within the product which allows you to specify exactly the access to be given to each team member. These permissions can be updated quickly and easily by you as circumstances change.

Octelas consists of a comprehensive suite of reports all of which are available to you. Our data analysts will guide you on the reports best suited to your needs. They will then adapt those reports to meet your exact needs. Octelas will read in all of the data from your spreadsheets, automatically as often as needed. This includes periodic updates such as changes to  supplier costs.

In this way, Octelas takes on the whole burden of maintaining and updating your business reports. You and your staff are freed up to run your business.

Experience suggests that the saving in management time will be anything from two or three days per month to a day per week.

Business intelligence software combines all the data generated by a business to give full visibility on business performance on a day by day basis.  Octelas reporting software is business intelligence software designed specifically to meet the needs of SMEs.

Every business generates data, every day and in multiple ways. Business intelligence software links it together to answer key questions about business performance. Applying a bit of data analysis (link to next answer) to all that data will make it work very hard for you, every day. Generating increased profits, saving time and increasing productivity.

Once Octelas reporting software is linking all your business data, you will have full visibility of the past and present performance of your business against the metrics that you choose.

Possibly for the first time, you are able to get immediate answers to complex questions.

A good example is the standard pivot table report referred to at [] above. This enables you quickly and easily to identify existing customers who only buy from part of you range of goods. With this information on hand, it is easy to target additional sales.

Another example is our “early warning report”. This is very helpful if you have customers with regular buying patterns. The report alerts you (usually monthly, but frequency depends on business need) automatically to significant changes. You will be alerted if a regular customer suddenly ceases to purchase. You can contact the customer and seek to recover the sale. Likewise if you are making stock purchases in reliance on demand from these customers, the early warning report will alert your buying department to the change.

Data analysis spots patterns in your data. By focussing on these patterns you can gain powerful insights which you can use to manage your business more effectively. They often prompt ideas which can drive your business forward in new directions.

In summary, data analytics answers the question “why”. Questions such as “Why did profits go up/ down in that period” and “what is likely to happen next week based on the trends I can see occurring?” and many more.

Octelas is much more than just a powerful reporting engine. Put simply, we want to free you to run your business, not manage your data. Octelas can report on all the data generated by your business. Regardless of data source. Octelas is also completely self service. You need no training to enable you to use it. To achieve this, our data analysts do all of the work “behind the scenes”. They adapt the template reports to give you the reporting you need and in a way which completely aligns with your business. They will also help you to maximise the opportunity to improve your profits and maximise efficiencies. Question 6 above gives some great examples.

Octelas is usually installed in one day. Your data analyst will take you through the self service filter system so you can navigate the reports yourself. Typically this will take 20 minutes or so. You will then be able to open up the system to all team members. Octelas is completely intuitive. To date we have never been asked to undertake any formal training although we would be happy to do so if needed.

We have one client which holds over 20 years of financial information in Octelas. For all practical purposes, there is no limit!

Yes, and many of our clients do just that. We will set this up for you. All we ask is that (for copyright and trade mark purposes) reference to Octelas and Illuminis is retained in a discreet location on the user screens.

Octelas incorporates dashboards which are custom built to deliver the information you require. However, it is not a dashboard product. Octelas puts you in control of the whole of your business data and allows you to access that data in multiple ways. You can follow any query all the way through to the base data. For many reports, you can choose to view the data in tabular form or with visualisation.

By contrast dashboards are built on pre-selected amounts of data. They can only give access to that data. Octelas is unique in the SME space because it allows you to interrogate all of your business data. Your Octelas reports are configured so that you can filter the data yourself on a self service basis. Many reports allow you to choose a dashboard format as an alternative to a tabular report.

Data analyst advice is always available to you to maximise on the value to your business of using Octelas reporting software.

Yes, filters at the top of each screen allow you to do this quickly and easily. You can create as many favourite reports as you wish.

This is not an uncommon problem but it can cause very considerable difficulties. Octelas is the perfect solution. Our data analysts will simply map the old system against the new ERP. Octelas will read across the two data sets to give continued, seamless reporting.

Most of our clients tell us that they have increased profits as a result of spotting pricing errors or similar. Others are able to make substantial efficiency savings by improving workflow. On balance the amounts involved cover the annual cost of the system.

Octelas has built in functionality to do this for you automatically so you can spend your time doing the things that really matter.

Every day your business produces vast amounts of data from multiple different sources – from accounting systems to excel spreadsheets; CRM systems to supplier data systems and everything in between! Sorting and sifting this data, just to run your business effectively day by day is a whole job in itself, right?

At Illuminis, we believe reporting software should be simplicity itself to use. That’s why we developed Octelas to be completely intuitive in use and no more difficult to navigate than an online shopping trolley.

If you are drowning in data and spreadsheets, find out how Octelas can help you recover days of time. You get the reports you need every day to run your business as efficiently as possible. No fuss. No bother. Just results.