Our mantra here at Solver is “make it simple, sexy and powerful”. Traditionally, Data Warehouse projects are reserved for the IT folks in an organization, but we have set out to change that notion with the BI360 Data Warehouse.
We are busy working on many new and exciting features for the upcoming version of the BI360 suite. Here is a quick sampling of two items in the cooker: 1) Adding Attributes and 2) Time Dimension.

Adding Attributes in a Snap

It is a common practice to want many attributes for each dimension. In the current BI360 Data Warehouse (BI360 DW) version, dimension attributes can be added using the Data Warehouse Manager user interface or they can be configured through SQL Server. We have now also added a dimension and attribute import wizard In order to accelerate the time to design and deploy to the warehouse. The wizard automates the process of creating a large number of dimensions and related attributes. Simply create the dimensions and/or attributes in an Excel or text file and import using the Warehouse Manager.
Once the new dimensions and/or attributes are loaded, then they are immediately available to be managed within the Warehouse Manager as well as the Reporting, Planning and Dashboard Modules.

Take Control of your Time Dimension

Configuring the time dimension has always been quick and easy and met most requirements out of the box.  However, we decided to take it to the next level and add controls to define the date ranges within each period from the Warehouse Manager.  Now, configurations such as 4-4-5, 5-5-4, 4-5-4 or any other fiscal configuration, then the BI360 Warehouse Manager can easy implement it.

It’s almost that time again! For many of youBI360 budgeting season  is almost here, it’s a perfect time to ease the burden and dramatically reduce budgeting and forecasting cycle times. Automating your budgeting process allows you to make faster, more informed decisions.

View our recorded webinar and see BI360 Planning in action now! See a live demonstration of creating budgets and automated work flow process for approvals and discussions.

See Live Examples:

Budgeting – Payroll, Capital, Project, Cash flow, Departmental

Forecasting – Rolling Forecast, Quarterly Forecast, Sales Forecast

Reporting– Variance Reporting, Reporting with Comments, Consolidated Budget Reporting

Some of the benefits of BI360 Planning include:

  • Excel-based
  • Ideal Forecaster replacement
  • Fast implementation with out-of-the-box integration to Microsoft Dynamics, Sage, and Prophet 21, as well as other ERPs
  • Drag and Drop planning and budget form design
  • GL + Detail Budgeting
  • Built-in ‘budgeting logic’
    • Spreading, copy history, apply trends, line item detail, comments
    • Bottom-up and Top-down budgeting

Data warehousing is a key technology that many companies are pursuing today. A data warehouse can deliver enormous benefits and key data in a timely manner, however; they are also subject to a high failure rate. The reasons for failure vary but almost always two symptoms will surface, cost and user expectations. Notice I identified the symptoms of a failed DW project not the root causes. For that we need to delve a bit deeper into buy vs. build options around data warehousing.

“Build Your Own” Data Warehouse

Too often the commitments and aspects of building a data warehouse are not recognized by companies. Whether they know it or not, a company that decides to build their own data warehouse becomes a software development company. Once the warehouse is live the company must commit to the same actions a software development company does to maintain compatibility in a fast paced environment of change.
The following are just a few of the events that will trigger modifications and updates to the data warehouse:

  • Users demand new functionality and data be added
  • The company upgrades or changes ERP software
  • The company switches database platforms or vendors
  • Business rules evolve and change necessitating changes to ETL processes moving data from production systems and to data marts.

Since most small to medium companies cannot  attract and maintain staff sufficiently skilled and all the required areas, the lack of resources eventually cause the data warehouse to implode under the load of unmet requirements.
Two key questions every company, large or small, needs to positively answer is:

  • Do we want to become a software vendor?
  • Can we attract and retain the key skill sets?

If there is any doubt or lack of support to these key areas failure is almost always inevitable.

The Alternatives

Most companies do not write their own ERP systems. Why then would they consider creating and maintaining their own data warehouse? Simple answer is the lack of products to address this need. Fortunately, that is no longer a road block. Many companies have decided to productize their offerings. As a result, there are robust flexible products that can deliver the majority of needed functionality out of the box.
Among these packages is one aptly named BI360. Completely based on the Microsoft BI stack, using familiar and easy to use Microsoft Office tools for user interaction, solid proven data transfer and storage technologies in the back end, BI360 delivers many commonly used financial reporting aspects out of the box as well. Extensibility is achieved by using meta data tools to map and connect to most major financial systems while being flexible enough to allow total customization for those unique challenges.
Whatever route you choose, you should evaluate out-of-the box data warehouse solutions like the BI360 Data Warehouse before deciding to build your own data warehouse.

Too busy for training? Solver has a fantastic new resource just recently added to their arsenal of education material. The ‘BI360 Self-Paced Technical Training Guide’ is designed to get you more familiar with the technical side of BI360. It is organized into sessions, enabling you to manage the pace of your own education.  If you care to ‘get it all done straight away’, take each session, one immediately following the other, to complete the entire curriculum in record time.  Alternatively, take one or two sessions every few days, over a longer period of time.  You can choose the method that works best for you!
This document is meant to be used as a self-paced guide for power users (consultants, customers, and partners) to educate themselves on the technical aspects of BI360. You will find product functionality, how to design reports, how to design planning input forms and models, how to administer the data warehouse and much more.
Download Now: BI360 Technical Self Training Guide
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