The Best of Both Worlds: Excel Reporting for Cloud ERP Data

AirQuery XLEdge for reporting from Cloud ERP Data with Excel

If we aren’t already living in a cloud-first world, we’re heading there. Most organizations are already on the fast track to migrating their data from traditional on-premise systems to cloud-based systems. The ease, flexibility, and speed cloud ERP systems offer for data management are undeniable. For enterprises that thrive on precise data management, they are quickly becoming a must-have resource, one they are not shying away from investing in. 

Important to note, though, is that despite the dominance of cloud-based technologies in the business space, Microsoft Excel remains one of the most valuable components in a company’s toolbelt. The versatility, compatibility, scalability, visualization features, and user-friendliness continue to make it an indispensable tool for businesses of all sizes. Its resilience and adaptability in the face of ever-evolving technology prove its merit. 

However, Cloud ERP reporting using Excel comes with its challenges. The right tools, though, can offer an effective solution and give an enterprise the edge it needs to stay ahead of the game.

Cloud ERP Systems & The Challenges with Reporting & Analytics

Cloud ERP systems like Oracle Fusion Cloud are changing how enterprises manage their data. Tasked with seamlessly connecting critical business processes, they automate manual tasks, analyze data, and identify patterns and anomalies. Thus allowing businesses to adapt to changes and challenges effectively. That being said, regarding Oracle Cloud ERP reporting and analytics, users face a few challenges.

Let’s examine some of them:

Integration Complexity

Implementing a Cloud ERP system requires data migration from multiple older systems into the ERP database. The challenge here is that data is often more widespread than organizations realize. Buried in accounting systems, department-specific applications, spreadsheets, and even on paper, data is scattered across multiple sources. Cloud ERP systems cannot function effectively without relevant data, and inaccuracies in data migration can lead to gaps and duplicate data that can lead to inaccuracies in results. 

Native Reporting Tool Limitations

Cloud ERP reporting tools, as is the nature of cloud-based tools, have restrictions that can lead to discrepancies in data. Additionally, there is a lack of flexibility for customization. They may also lack advanced features that third-party tools often offer. 

No Offline Access

Cloud ERP systems are reliant on internet access. Unreliable connectivity can limit access to relevant data and compromise the accuracy of reports. 

Data Security & Compliance

Ensuring sensitive data remains protected in the cloud while adhering to industry-specific regulations and compliance standards can be complicated. Poor governance and access management compromise security, as do static defenses and seeking customization outside the ERP provider’s core abilities. 

Lack Of Tool Familiarity

An unfamiliarity with the features and functionalities of Cloud ERP tools prevents users from tapping into their full potential. Investing in appropriate training thus becomes a necessity, increasing the burden on IT teams in the meantime. 

Watch Now: AirQuery takes care of all your reporting needs.

Excel: The Business Tool That Endures


Excel is the most extensively used spreadsheet software globally and sets the industry standard for spreadsheets. It is also a must-have business tool for analyzing and visualizing data and, despite new technologies and innovations, remains a vital part of the larger data ecosystem. The primary reason for this is the tool's simplicity from the perspective of data analysts and its key features. Excel organizes data into a legible format, allowing users to modify fields and functions when working with complex data sets and making extracting insights easier.

What is that endears Excel to organizations? Let’s find out…

Data & Tool Familiarity

Most professionals have used Excel at some point in their careers and know it to be a trusted and reliable tool. This understanding of how the tool functions allows them to effectively implement business tasks, taking advantage of all its unique features to analyze best and present data. 

Friendly User Interface

Excel’s grid-like interface is intuitive and accessible to users with varying levels of expertise. Known for its spreadsheet capabilities, it offers basic data visualization tools like charts and graphs. Its extensive set of functions, graphs, and arrays enables users to quickly grasp the basics of drawing insights from data that might otherwise be difficult to perceive.

Offline Access

Once installed on a device, Excel functions offline with no dependency on internet connectivity. It remains fully operational, even in the most remote areas, preventing unnecessary functionality and data processing gaps. 

Ad-Hoc Reporting Capabilities

Excel supports a wide range of data import and export formats, allowing users to unify and work with data from multiple sources for in-depth analysis and create and share reports in a commonly used file format. It allows for easy data segregation of relevant data, and features like PivotTable and PivotChart help users perform multi-dimensional analysis to generate meaningful insights quickly.

Easy Customization

Excel enables users to customize spreadsheets to their unique needs, allowing for custom templates, etc., which helps boost productivity and efficiency. 

Excel & Cloud ERP: The Challenges with Reporting & Analytics

Excel can seamlessly integrate with numerous data sources - one of the primary reasons it is valuable as a reporting and analytics tool. However, Excel reporting for Oracle ERP or other cloud-based ERP systems comes with challenges that make it difficult to access cloud data in Excel and generate accurate reports. They include:

Real-Time Data Access: Excel as a tool is not equipped to access real-time data from cloud ERP systems. Accessing updated information relies on manual refreshes. The restrictions cloud ERP systems impose add another layer of complexity to data access. A potential consequence is discrepancies between real-time and actionable data, which compromise the accuracy of reports. 

Cloud API & Connectivity: Integrating Excel with a cloud-based ERP system requires custom coding or cloud APIs, using third-party tools. This requires additional setup and configuration, a potentially complex and time-consuming process prone to errors.

Data Security & Access Management: Excel can easily be accessed by unauthorized users, and files can be shared easily. Linking Excel to the cloud potentially exposes enterprise data to risks. Conversely, restricting access to data poses a challenge to accurate reporting.

Data Volume:  Cloud-based systems store enormous amounts of data, and Excel may not handle the large data sets pulled into it. Especially when dealing with complex queries or tasks. 

Data Structure: Cloud-based ERP systems store data in a structured manner using specific data types. Excel’s data transformation capabilities are limited, and complex data transformations may require manual intervention, potentially leading to data loss and/ or misinterpretation.

Data Retrieval with Standard SQL Scripts: Because of the restrictions on data accessibility and the complexity of integrating Excel, fetching specific data with standard SQL scripts is limited. Pulling contextually relevant data may require advanced SQL and data analysis skills. It limits users that can effectively fetch data on their own and increases dependency on developers.

Read Now: Ad-Hoc reporting solutions for Oracle Fusion Cloud.

The XLEdge Solution

Excel remains the computing software of choice for businesses even after migrating data to cloud systems, as many of them continue to be uncomfortable with cloud computing software. As an increasing number of organizations attempt to connect ERP to Excel, especially cloud-based systems, the gap between cloud-based ERP systems and Excel must be bridged. AirQuery XLEdge is one solution. 

How does XLEdge help generate cloud data reports from Excel? Let’s take a look:

  • XLEdge is a plug-and-play tool that is directly integrated with Excel (no additional software required). It pulls data on-demand from multiple sources and applications directly into Excel. 
  • Offline functionality that supports Excel’s ad-hoc reporting and customization features. 
  • Advanced data security with customized user permissions that allow organizations to control who has access to specific data sets and relevant reports. 
  • XLEdge enables users to choose from over a thousand finance, HR, supply chain, and other business report formats, all of which are certified for Oracle reporting. 
  • XLEdge is equipped with an auto-refresh function which refreshes periodically to maintain real-time data integrity. It also has a manual refresh capability that can be used as required. 
  • Automatic retention of all custom formatting, calculations, charts, and pivots built after refreshing data.
  • No limits on analytical capabilities beyond those imposed by Excel. 
  • XLEdge has a business-user-first architecture, making it easy for users to adapt to and use without heavily relying on IT teams. 

Get The Edge

Using AirQuery’s XLEdge for cloud ERP reporting in Excel is a seamless and efficient way to take advantage of all the benefits cloud ERP systems offer without sacrificing the familiarity and comfort of using Excel. It’s the next step to simplifying and boosting reporting and analytics for your business. 

It’s time to give your organization the XLEdge. Try a free demo at