Technological tools have become more important to businesses than ever before. In the competitive environment shaped by the new normal, it is necessary to choose the right tools to achieve success. In this context, we made a special interview with ZAP, one of the important players of the market, on the importance of both ZAP Data Hub and BI tools.

1. Could you tell us about yourself and your career in the ERP industry?

My name is Trey Johnson and I am ZAP’s Chief Evangelist and leader of our Americas business.   My time with the ERP industry has been spent on the data side of the business.  I have spent the last 25+ years working with data and analytics. Today, I lead our team in taking our great data management & analytics SaaS software out to ERP users to tackle a number of data and reporting issues.

2. Enterprise software such as ERP and CRM store data securely and quickly. However, they may not fully meet the customer’s needs when it comes to reporting. For this reason, 3rd party applications that are more agile and have more flexible reporting capabilities come into play. At this point, what does ZAP Data Hub offer its customers?

ZAP Data Hub (also available as Sage Data & Analytics in the Sage world) offers the end-to-end capability to collect data smartly from one or more ERP applications, and then blend this data with other sources, such as CRM applications, cloud data sources, line of business applications, and even Excel data.

With all this data in one place, companies can then use ZAP’s out-of-the-box analytics with Microsoft’s Power BI, Tableau, or ZAP’s own data visualization layer.  Traditional reporting tools do nothing to alleviate the complexity of reporting off complex ERPs, but ZAP solves that problem first and foremost – and then gives the user option of using whatever BI product makes sense for them.

3. BI tools stand at a very important point when it comes to reporting. What are the features that distinguish ZAP’s BI technology from other tools regarding the accessibility from all data sources and the integrations it provides?

The composite of our capabilities is a very manageable, approachable end-to-end experience for our mid-market ERP customers. It’s also very user-friendly, and with no coding or extensive training required.  From our sophisticated solution for those with multiple data sources to supporting other BI tools to providing a world-class, out-of-the-box experience with our analytics…  With ZAP Data Hub and Sage Data & Analytics, organizations are in a much better position to get business intelligence across the entirety of their business.  ZAP’s ability to deliver comprehensive views of finance, sales, manufacturing, purchasing, inventory management, and more – in whatever combination a business needs – is powerful.  Most BI tools work on silos of data, whereas our view is that your data in totality is the real platform for insight.

4. ZAP and Sage partnership provides many advantages to users, especially in terms of being affordable. Could you please tell us about these advantages?

We are very fortunate and proud to offer solutions with Sage to their ERP customers.  The scalable nature of our SaaS offering for data & analytics means we can work with all configurations of mid-market customers PLUS scale up for those with enterprise-level ERP data needs.  We have worked exceptionally hard with Sage to launch a solution – Sage Data & Analytics (SD&A) – that offers all the right capabilities in an economic way: analytics and outcomes in days not months, and in a manner which resonates with all decision-makers.  It‘s really exciting to currently be speaking with so many Sage sales partners about this!  It genuinely seems we’re solving for problems they’ve never been able to fully address in the past.

5. Sage, the market leader in cloud solutions, recently announced the first Sage Data & Analytics SaaS offering in the cloud for Sage 300 and Sage 100. What are the benefits of this unique integration for users?

We chose the product name because Sage Data & Analytics (SD&A) gives the Sage 300 and Sage 100 community the benefit of having access to all of their data as well as experiencing out-of-the-box analytics for all decision-makers.  Besides the intrinsic elements of the cloud, Sage users also benefit from working with their Sage-certified business partner to leverage SD&A and explore all the unique elements of the data in their ERP as well as delivering a robust analytical experience. 

Because of ZAP’s long-standing relationship with Sage, products from our prior OEM relationship focusing on Sage X3, support for data in most other Sage ERPs (such as Sage 500, and Sage Intacct), and now our OEM expansion for Sage 300 and Sage 100, customers – through their business partners – can all benefit from the same very high-quality data & analytics experience.  Regardless of how their Sage ERP needs to evolve over time. 

6. The world is experiencing an extraordinary period. The pressure for businesses to adapt to the new normal is increasing day by day. How does Cloud ERP help businesses adapt to the new normal?

I have experienced first-hand organizations are coming to ZAP with a real lack of data-based business insight.  This lack of insight – characterized by bad or missing analytics and bad or missing data – means never truly knowing what ‘normal’ is.  Even if it changes often!  ZAP Data Hub, as a cloud data & analytics platform, delivers the ability to craft new analytics often, using a variety of BI tools.  What does crafting new analytics mean in practice for a business?  In short, being able to ask and answer pertinent questions about its finance and operations.  Additionally, our SaaS platform ensures that whatever data is relevant, be it a spreadsheet or another critical business system, we have the cloud capabilities to support customers having a blended view of their data to gain the insights they need.