The high cost of stale ERP data

By Dayna Shoemaker, Fivetran

Global research reveals that 77% of enterprises lack realtime access to ERP data, leading to poor business outcomes and lost revenue. Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are the lifeblood of enterprises and are a key requirement for managing core business processes. The data collected by an ERP system is also widely used to optimize operations, understand business performance, and make forecasts.

Yet, in a recent global survey conducted by Dimensional Research and Fivetran of more than 450 ERP professionals and executives, 99 percent of respondents say they face numerous challenges in keeping ERP data flowing. The biggest obstacles to real-time access to ERP data included: 

  • System complexity 
  • Integration challenges 
  • Incompatibilities
  • A lack of in-house expertise

Vendors aren’t making it any easier, either. The majority of ERP professionals (78%) indicate that software vendors intentionally make access to their solutions’ data onerous. 

The opportunity cost of stale ERP data

Given the essential nature of ERP data, it’s not surprising that 85% of ERP professionals believe that “stale” data leads to incorrect decisions and poor business outcomes. Those surveyed also say the interruption of ERP data directly impacts the business with slowed operations and lost revenue.

Despite the significant advantages of access to real-time ERP data - including faster decision-making, improved accuracy, increased efficiency, early problem detection, and smoother operations - only 23% of companies have access to realtime data today. 

Waiting for ERP vendors to solve the problem has been futile. The good news is that there are cost-effective and practical ways enterprises can harness the power of their ERP data in real-time.

How to speed ERP access and insights

More than 9 out of 10 ERP professionals indicated substantial benefits from cloud-based ERP solutions. However, even with cloud-based ERPs, vendor-specific data models can still make it challenging, costly, and resource-intensive to access valuable ERP data outside the application.

This is where change data capture (CDC) can help supercharge access to real-time ERP data.

How CDC enables access to real-time ERP data

Change data capture (CDC) facilitates realtime data movement by tracking changes as they happen and instantly updating the target data set with the changes. CDC is rapidly growing in popularity because it is efficient, has a low impact on source systems and enables real-time data.

While there are several ways to implement CDC, log-based CDC is the gold standard. Log-based CDC allows for continuous integration, keeping the data in sync in real-time. Log-based CDC does not slow down database transactions because data is added, transferred, and decoded away from the ERP.

CDC benefits include:

  • Low impact on the data source
  • Ability to deal with very high change volumes
  • Transactionality
  • Ability to capture the complete history of changes over time

However, log-based CDC requires access to the transaction log and sophisticated log parsing technology. If this isn’t available from your ERP vendor, trigger-based CDC or difference-based CDC may be suitable alternatives.

How to simplify and speed a CDC implementation

A real-time database replication solution that performs low latency, log-based CDC can be used with ERP systems to give business users timely access to ERP data without impacting the source applications. Low latency, log-based CDC enables the movement of a large volume of data without affecting the core systems. 

For Pitney Bowes, Inc., a global logistics provider that powers billions of transactions across the world of ecommerce, moving from their previous batch ETL processes to real-time replication and low-latency log-based CDC has provided the Enterprise Information Management team with significantly faster processing times for both their Oracle and SAP systems. ETL jobs that previously took days now occur in less than an hour. This enabled business users across the company to perform analyses from a single source of truth without impacting database performance. 

Take advantage of realtime ERP data

The opportunity cost of sticking with the status quo of stale data is too high - especially when there are cost-effective and modernized alternatives on the market. Fivetran provides more than 200+ connectors to SaaS and on-prem data sources, including commonly-used ERP systems, into cloud destinations. 

Read the full survey by Dimensional Research (registration required) ​DOWNLOAD