When deciding if an on-premises or SaaS platform is better for your company’s next business intelligence (BI) solution, there are several aspects to consider.  This article will discuss the pros and cons of both options, so that you can navigate to a decision a little easier.

One element of Business Intelligence (BI) software implementation you cannot avoid these days involves the debate about on-premise technology versus a Software as a Service (SaaS) platform.  The traditional software approach entails purchasing software, housing and managing it on-site.  However, as SaaS or Cloud platforms builds momentum as an attractive, relevant alternative, the conversation heats up for customers and vendors alike.
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Approaching the sometimes confusing process of shopping for a BI tool can mean a lot of questions – and that is exactly what you need.  This article will arm you with some of the best questions to ask when shopping for the right solution for your company.

Whether you are running Microsoft Dynamics GP, AX, SL, or NAV, some version of Oracle, something cloud-based like Netsuite, Intacct, or Acumatica, finding Business Intelligence (BI) tools to enhance your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems can be a very foggy process – and for good reason.  Despite typically being a very salesy process, it is also something that you have to engage in every once in a while.  I have met professionals of various ages that are beginning the process of seeking out BI solutions, usually as a part of a big picture strategy to take their analytics, decision-making, and collaboration into the 21st century of powerful, dynamic, and intuitive products and processes.  Most seem overwhelmed enough about wading into the depths of research, sales pitches, demos, and trainings that they don’t even know where to begin.
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After decades of providing a simple Excel-based report writer, F9 might be seeing a resurgence of sorts.  But before you rush out to snag this product to replace FRx or Management Reporter, let’s put it to a basic features test.

Originally released in the late 1980s, F9 was initially developed as a DOS add-in and was soon built for Microsoft Windows.  It is a simple Excel add-in financial report writer, and I have heard from a handful of partners that its popularity might be picking up lately.  If you go to their web site like I did, you will see that they position Excel’s popularity as their key sales pitch.  And they’re right on the money.
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Project budgeting is a task that most companies have to tackle, in some form or another.  This article will address how to financially plan for special projects using Microsoft Dynamics and other ERP systems.

At this point, it probably goes without saying: budgeting is such an important aspect of corporate performance management (CPM).  In some cases, the quality of the budgeting process can be life or death for a company or a public sector organization, especially in today’s post-recession marketplace.  Budgeting and forecasting for an entire organization is a routine process and generally involves many moving parts to come together, linking actual data and projections for the upcoming fiscal year.  However, sometimes a company or a professional will have to budget for a specific task or project.  Whether you are a professional managing one or more projects, a consultant calculating billable hours, or a freelancer putting together a bid for a job, project budgeting becomes a relevant Business Intelligence (BI) term in your job.

Solver COO Corey Barak gives some tips when considering project budgeting solutions.
Last month, I had a conversation with a management consultant who had the task of bringing a company into the 21st century in terms of Business Intelligence.  He was in the beginning stages of the project, and he did not know if he was going to find a comprehensive BI suite of tools for simultaneous implementation that would meet the financial goals of the organization for this initiative.  We got to talking about the structure of budgeting for a consultant of his sort – and that naturally segued into a full-fledged conversation about project budgeting.  He said that, in his experience, most people understand it as a fuzzy art at best, but in practice – and with the right tool, it can be significantly more accurate than widely perceived.
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With SAP Business One retiring XL Reporter and focusing on Crystal Reports, a lot of B1 customers are looking elsewhere for a modern, powerful, and easy-to-use financial report writer.  This article explores the features and functionalities of a few solutions on the market to understand the options to replace XLR.

As I spend more time in the Business Intelligence realm, I keep meeting more and more SAP Business One (SAP B1) customers.  It is a relatively small, but definitely mighty community of users that are passionate about their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.  However, this community is dealing with a shift when it comes to Business Intelligence (BI), specifically when it comes to financial report writing.  SAP recently decided to discontinue their Excel-based reporting tool, XL Reporter (XLR), in somewhat of a confusing move because it is fairly young and seemingly beloved by its customer base.
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Powerful New Financial Reporting and Planning Features, New Web-based Platform and Mobile Application to Deliver Business Intelligence Anywhere

LOS ANGELES, CA, May 14, 2014 – Solver, Inc., the global leader in Business Intelligence for Microsoft Dynamics AX, GP, NAV, SL and other enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, today announced the release of BI360 version 4.0. This major new product release delivers reports and dashboards in the web browser and on mobile devices, improved storage speed, and enhancements to supported integrations.

New Web Portal and Mobile Application

This software update provides users more platforms for accessing financial and operational data from the web and mobile device (initial rollout includes Apple iOS app for iPhone and iPad, and Android is scheduled for release later in 2014). With the BI360 Portal, users now can run reports and dashboards from anywhere with an internet connection, offering a clear competitive advantage to organizations.

New Product Enhancements and Features

Solver added a number of enhancements in version 4.0, which include staging for improved report rendering speed, improvements to supported integrations for expanded reporting, and improved storage speed when utilizing BI360 Planning, as well as an enhanced approval workflow experience. Additionally, expressions and KPIs allow easier report building and maintenance.

“BI360 version 4.0 redefines business intelligence with more ways to access critical business information, and ultimately driving faster and better decisions,” says Mike Applegate, CTO at Solver.

Solver’s BI360 suite represents a new generation of Business Intelligence tools that can be managed by the finance team as well as operational managers, without the need for IT skills. Live reporting directly on the ERP system’s database offers immediate ROI as users can start creating reports from the minute that BI360 has been installed. Detailed drill down from financial statements, such as invoices and purchase orders, gives department heads and other business users the ultimate tool to answer their questions without ever having to ask accounting staff to run reports or to do lookups in the ERP system.

About Solver

Solver provides BI360, the leading Business Intelligence suite for Microsoft Dynamics AX, GP, NAV, SL, Sage 500 and X3, Intacct, Acumatica and other ERP systems. Solver is a Microsoft Gold ISV Partner and the winner of the Microsoft BI Partner of Year Award and has a presence on the Gartner Group CPM Magic Quadrant. BI360 is sold through a world-wide network of resellers and is ideal for companies looking to find a user friendly, yet highly functional Reporting, Budgeting, Dashboard, Collaboration Portal, and Data Warehouse solution to give them deep insight and actionable information across all facets of their organization.

For any questions, please contact Solver at info@solverglobal.com.

Dashboards are the most relevant BI investment for financial professionals today.  This article will explore the functions and features of some leading solutions for a better understanding of what product will best meet the needs of your company.

As this blog has already reported, Dashboards are the big man on campus these days.  More specifically, dashboards are the number one Business Intelligence (BI) product for CFOs today.  Talking with BI customers in the business world, I hear it all the time.  One professional in particular spoke about needing fancy-looking dashboards for his executive team.  He told me, “I generate reports regularly, and they are still very valuable, but when it comes to presenting data to the executives, they want to see dashboards.”  He went on to tell me how dashboards are easy for busy professionals to read and analyze quickly.
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There are numerous Business Intelligence tools on the market to enhance Microsoft Dynamics SL.  This article will highlight key features and functions to consider when investing in a BI solution.

The Business Intelligence (BI) and Analytics solutions market continued to grow in 2013, up 8% to a total of $14.4 billion from 2012, according to Gartner.  It is a relatively gradual growth, but the development is steady – and it makes sense.  More than ever, analytics are informing corporate decision-makers how to best move the company forward from real-time, monthly, quarterly, project-specific, beyond the General Ledger (GL) and fiscal perspectives.   The corporate world is shifting from IT-managed reporting, budgeting, and data storage to business user friendly, powerful BI software that takes Enterprise Resource Planning systems like Microsoft Dynamics SL, to new heights of analysis and planning.

Microsoft Dynamics SL is an established accounting product, around for a couple decades and acquired by Microsoft in the early 2000’s.  There are approximately 12,000 customers around the globe, and that number will continue to grow under the Microsoft umbrella.  That all said, Dynamics SL users do not have their heads in the sand.  The growing world of BI solutions offer a variety of options to make the most of Dynamics SL through data analysis and planning for the future.  Namely, the BI marketplace offers reporting, budgeting, dashboards, and data storage options.  This article will discuss the feature and functionality offerings for Dynamics SL users in the current landscape of BI solutions.
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Data integrations can be confusing, and they make a difference when picking the right BI tool.  This article will discuss the difference between live reporting for Microsoft Dynamics versus data warehouse or OLAP cube integrations.

Data, data, data.  These days, companies are swimming in it.  Transactional and operational information is a required aspect of conducting business these days – for many reasons, but perhaps, especially when it comes to making important decisions about the future of the company.  Business Intelligence (BI) involves analysis of enterprise data for understanding of trends and trajectories, successes and failures, as well as related planning or forecasting for the fiscal year.

Whether a company is using an OLAP cube or some sort of data warehouse, important company facts and figures, such as transactions, personnel information, and inventory, are used in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and BI tools like financial report writers, budgeting solutions, and dashboards.  When selecting which BI tool to use, an important question arises pretty early in the selection process: is it more advantageous to integrate live to and from ERP systems like Microsoft Dynamics, Sage, Acumatica, or SAP Business One, or to integrate to a BI data storage option?
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