Before the holidays, we sat down with CEO Nils Rasmussen, COO Corey Barak, CIO Hadrian Knotz, and CTO Mike Applegate to discuss 20 impactful years of being a leader in the Business Intelligence (BI) industry. This is the second in a series, where the executive team members discuss the future of Solver and BI360 in terms of product innovation, customer and partner relationships, and the organization as a whole.

Read more

I recently sat down with the leadership team at Solver to discuss the 20th anniversary of launching the organization.  The following is the first in a series, where they talk about how the organization came about, where they have gone and been, why they launched BI360 and more, as they move toward a cloud deployment option in 2017.  CEO Nils Rasmussen, COO Corey Barak, CIO Hadrian Knotz, and CTO Mike Applegate all chimed in about the successes and challenges that they have faced – and what they are most proud of on this anniversary.

Read more

sales-icon-blue

This article discusses next steps to take for your reporting and budgeting needs regarding Dynamics 365.

Microsoft unveiled their cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, Dynamics 365, just a little over a month ago. As a potential business intelligence (BI) customer, you’re probably curious about your reporting and budgeting processes in the context of moving towards a cloud-based ERP system. As you know, a new United States president was elected on November 8th, and as always with a new president, people are curious or worried how things will work out. If you are one of the approximately 85% of the world still using an on-premise ERP system, this same analogy can be applied to those who are planning to go onto a cloud ERP. This article focuses on the next steps to take for your reporting and budgeting in regards to Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 unveiling.

Microsoft Dynamics, a line of ERPs and customer relationship management (CRM) systems, is a power player in the business applications world so, as you can imagine, once Microsoft released Dynamics 365, people also knew that things in the BI realm were going to change with no hesitation. There has been a lot of confusion around Dynamics 365, especially due to the changing naming conventions of this system and to make things clear, Solver CEO Nils Rasmussen explains that “Dynamics 365 is really two ERP systems. One is the lower end version of Dynamics 365, based on the NAV product in its structure. The higher end version of Dynamics 365 is based on Dynamics AX and is for the higher end of the market.” Both systems are architected for and deployed in the Microsoft Azure cloud, and it’s all hosted and managed by Microsoft. If you want to learn more, you can read about Microsoft Dynamics 365 and what it all means.

If you are planning to implement or are already using Dynamics 365, NetSuite, Acumatica, or Intacct, you might find yourself shopping for a new budgeting and reporting tool to also benefit from a modern Corporate Performance Management (CPM) solution. You have several options: For instance, your company can rely on the native budgeting features and reporting options that comes natively embedded in the ERP system, but in most cases this means that you will end up exporting data to Excel to design your favorite budget model or to professionally format financial reports. Another option is that to implement a modern web-based CPM solution that integrates well to your cloud-based ERP system. The last option gets to the point: go out and shop for a new tool!

The cloud ERP market is skyrocketing. What are you going to do with your reporting and budgeting? One tip I would like to share is to make sure your budgeting and reporting tool is flexible, accessible, and is offering a cloud solution or at the minimum a web-based interface. With a cloud solution, there is no need to install or maintain upgrades. There are various reporting solutions with features and functionalities that are flexible and accessible. For example, some modern solutions offer Excel add-ins, as well as a web portal that is filled with reports and dashboards that are relevant to the user, so that the user can rapidly get to subscribed reports, commentary, discussions, and groups. A modern web-based CPM portal usually offers an intuitive, collaborative technology that also has workflow, alerts and commentary users can also execute reports on-demand, explain variances, and they can also share  specific reports with their team members. These modern functionalities are collaborative, increase transparency, and most importantly, they are user-friendly.

As reporting and budgeting solutions continue to get smarter, a number of modern, cloud-based solutions are starting to appear in the BI marketplace and many will offer easy-to-use, pre-built integrations to ERP systems like Microsoft Dynamics 365. As you research and look into more CPM tools, you will notice that some of them are on-premises, some of them are cloud-based, and others are hybrid tools. Top-notch CPM tools that are cloud or web-based platforms such as Adaptive Insights, Anaplan, Host Analytics and BI360 are great options. If you are skeptical about moving everything to the cloud, continue to choose to keep certain business applications on-premises if you’d like, but also plan for the future. You can also learn more on the pros and cons of cloud and on-premises options in the Business Intelligence: Cloud-based, One-premises, or Both? article. Studies do show that cloud helps solve problems such as lowering costs, increasing productivity, gaining flexibility, and all while providing the right information to the appropriate people at the most opportune time, so they can make wise decisions for their organization.

The BI realm for Microsoft customers is about to change as Dynamics 365 has been released and vendors are encouraged to integrate their CPM offerings. As you know, the cloud is constantly changing, and as it evolves, cloud reporting and budgeting solutions continue to get smarter as well. If your current software is limiting your organization from making smart business choices, that is all the reason to invest in a new reporting and budgeting solution. Modern BI solutions are providing business end users choices so they have access to specific data they need when they need it without having to wait for your assistance, but I still suggest you maintain a good relationship with your information technology team as they are the “technology geniuses” of the company and will help make sure that your different systems can talk to each other to maximize productivity and data quality.

Solver enables world-class decisions with BI360, a leading web-based CPM suite made up of budgeting, reporting, dashboards, and data warehousing, delivered through a web portal. Solver is reinventing CPM with its next generation solution. BI360 empowers business users with modern features including innovative use of Excel in the model design process. If you’re interested in learning more, our team is excited to hear about your organizational needs and goals.

Image taken from Shutterstock.


This article is an interview with Solver Controller Gina Louie about wrapping up end of year with reporting for Dynamics GP users.
Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with the person responsible for wrapping up Solver’s operational and financial year, Controller Gina Louie.  With her hands-on experience, this interview is a must-read for best practices to wrap up end of year for any organization.
How is the end of year different for finance and accounting teams like yours when compared to end of month?
Read more

Solver, Inc. is proud to announce its twentieth year as the global leader in web- and Excel-based Business Intelligence for mid-market ERP systems. In 1996, CEO Nils Rasmussen launched Solver in Los Angeles, starting the business in a one-bedroom apartment for the first couple of years – and the business has since grown to a worldwide community of more than 1,600 customers and 300 partners.

In the early 2000s, Solver became a Microsoft Gold partner and was quickly named Microsoft’s Enterprise Reporting Partner of the Year, and a few years later; Microsoft Global Business Intelligence Partner of the Year.  Solver has brought multiple Corporate Performance Management solutions to the market over the years.  In 2009, BI360 emerged on the market, first offering reporting and then modules for planning, data warehousing, and dashboards.  Along the way, 10 international offices have been established with 125 team members around the globe, and an annual BI360 user conference brings increasingly more partners and customers together for learning, networking, and collaborating.

“The global Solver organization and customer base we see today is the result of 20 years of hard work and innovation by Solver’s amazing team of employees and partners” said Nils Rasmussen, Solver’s CEO.  “And, as we welcome new team members and partners in 2017, it will be the same team spirit that will keep delivering mutual success as we ready ourselves to bring new, exciting, world-class cloud and on-premises versions of BI360 to our customers in the future.”

Today, Solver has been named to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant the past two years as a Corporate Performance Management solution that enables decision-makers across financial, manufacturing, not-for-profit, agriculture and IT sectors, amongst others, and is looking toward a cloud-dominant future.   As the current version of on-premises BI360 continues to resonate due to dynamic, self-service technology, the developing move to the Cloud has proven to be exciting for prospective and current customers alike.

The company will kick off the 20th anniversary with new training programs, improved maintenance and support plans, and major BI360 product launches as they enter the next phase of the business.

About Solver

Solver provides BI360, the leading mid-market Business Intelligence suite for Microsoft Dynamics AX, GP, NAV, SL, Sage 100, Sage 300, Sage 500, Sage X3, SAP Business One, Epicor, Intacct, Acumatica, NetSuite 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 worldwide network of resellers and is ideal for companies looking to find a user-friendly, yet highly functional Reporting, Budgeting, Dashboard, and Data Warehouse solution to give them deep insight and actionable information across all facets of their organization.

For any questions, visit Solver’s website or contact Solver at info@solverglobal.com.

LOS ANGELES, CA, December 8, 2016 – Solver, Inc., a global leader in web and Excel-based Business Intelligence for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems, including Microsoft Dynamics, Sage, SAP Business One, Acumatica, and Intacct, proudly welcomes HappySocks to the BI360 Customer Community.

“All of our customers have their own unique reporting, budgeting, and data management pains, and we’re proud of the solutions BI360 provides to these everyday business problems,” said Corey Barak, COO at Solver. “HappySocks has joined a community of happier, more efficient business leaders that we’re proud to count as customers.”

HappySocks used one of the new features in BI360 that offers both live reporting and live budgeting on the Dynamics NAV ERP system, with no use of external data warehouse or cube technologies.  Due to the underlying live connection to NAV, and use of pre-built templates the implementation only took 7 days, which is extremely fast for an advanced reporting/budgeting solution, including the web-based BI360 portal for easy end user access.

“Our industry-specific corporate performance management modules enable all types of companies to meet their objectives and achieve more efficient analytical process and decision-making through the integrated, complete BI360 Suite of reporting, budgeting, dashboards, and fully integrated data warehouse,” Barak said.

“With BI360’s new capabilities of offering live budgeting directly on a customer’s ERP database, companies with relatively simple budgeting and forecasting needs can save up to 60-80% in implementation and software cost compared to other web-based budgeting solutions,” added Solver EMEA CEO Johan Magnusson.  BI360’s live ERP budgeting feature is available for Dynamics NAV, Dynamics GP, Dynamics SL and SAP Business One.

About Solver

Solver provides BI360, the leading Business Intelligence suite for Microsoft Dynamics AX, GP, NAV, SL, Sage 100, Sage 300, Sage 500, Sage X3, SAP Business One, Intacct, Acumatica, NetSuite 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 worldwide network of resellers and is ideal for companies looking to find a user-friendly, yet highly functional Reporting, Budgeting, Dashboard, and Data Warehouse solution to give them deep insight and actionable information across all facets of their organization.

For any questions, visit Solver’s website or contact Solver at info@solverglobal.com.

About HappySocks

It all started under the cloud-ridden April sky of yet another belated Swedish spring in 2008. Two friends had a vision: to spread happiness by turning an everyday essential into a colorful design piece with a rigid standard of ultimate quality, craftsmanship and creativity. A concept now brought to perfection by the Happy Socks collective of creators. Happy Socks features an almost endless variety of models and designs, using a broad spectrum of color combinations and original prints. Today Happy Socks are sold in more than 70 countries and on every continent. Simply put: there’s a pair of high-quality socks and underwear for every occasion, mindset and style.

This article explores financial reporting and budgeting options in the cloud for your Acumatica Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.

Image taken from Shutterstock.

Image taken from Shutterstock.


In today’s business world, our processes and technology platforms require accessibility and flexibility, and more solutions are showing up on the cloud market. Since data sources and data in general continues to expand in size and can increasingly be found across cloud and on-premise locations, more executives are looking for the right Business Intelligence (BI) solution to empower business end users to make better and smarter business decisions. In this article, we will discuss several business intelligence options for your Acumatica ERP system that will cover deployment options, sophisticated functionalities, and hopefully, answers to any questions you may have regarding BI add-ons. Read more

After the Thanksgiving holiday, I sat down with Solver’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) Corey Barak to talk about the importance of business intelligence (BI) for organizations. Corey is our “Chandler” from the television sitcom, Friends. Everybody admires him for his sarcastic humor, intellect, and his sound judgment. Corey manages the day-to-day operations and focuses on maximizing the service quality to our customers and partners.  He has been in the BI industry for 20 years, and started his career at Solver in 1999 as a Senior Business Intelligence Consultant. Outside of Solver, he is a father of two children and a husband. As 2016 is coming to a close, I was pondering on the New Year, and the kind of impact BI may have on companies. As an author of leading BI books, including “Process Improvement for Effective Budgeting and Financial Reporting” and “BI360 Book – The Ultimate How-To Guide,” I thought Corey would be the appropriate person to pick his brain about the importance of BI for any company.
Watch the interview below or read on for the transcript of our conversation.

Kim: “Why is BI important for companies and does the beginning of the year have an impact?”
Barak: “BI is the framework for setting strategy and managing the success and failure of the strategy.  Companies should create a closed-loop process where they set strategy, set the goals for the strategy, put together the budget or the forecast, and constantly review and analyze the actual vs. the budget/forecast of the goals.  If changes need to be made, then the strategy or the goals may need to be modified, which starts the loop over again.  It has an impact on the beginning of the year as the majority of companies are going through their budget process.  If they have a fiscal year that isn’t based on a calendar year, then this would be a chance to do forecasting. They could reforecast based on the strategy. If the strategy has not been set and finalized, then it makes it impossible for managers to put together a budget that should be dependent on the strategy.”

Kim: “What are steps to start adding BI for your organization?”
Barak: “The first step is to determine what impacts your business – the revenue growth and profitability -and determine how to measure that. Some manufacturing companies may have areas around manufacturing speeds or getting things out to the market quicker. Find those Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that drive your revenue growth. If you company doesn’t know what they are, the company needs to find out what they are. If they don’t have the data to determine their KPIs, then it is time to look into a BI tool that can bring in data from disparate systems and display them in structured reports and dashboards that are quick and easy to view. Make sure you’re making progress and improving. If you’re not improving and you’re actually declining, this is where you can start reviewing your strategy as things aren’t going the way you planned. Once it is finalized, then determine if this data is easy to access or it takes time to put this together.  Bring that data in, calculate the KPIs, and compare it to your budget or your forecast every month.

Kim: “What are some tips that you can share with organizations that are looking into investing in BI?”
Barak: “Find a tool that can bring your financial data and operational data together. Generally, a KPI is not going to be based on just financial data or just operational data, but a combination of the two. Determine the company’s KPIs and then determine the departmental KPIs, and create dashboards for them as well. Concentrate on the company’s KPIs, what really impacts the entire business and then start moving to each department. Find out how to get the data and what the calculation would be for the KPIs. Next step is try to build those, practice them before you put it into the dashboards. Go manually calculate them, make sure it’s trending properly. The next step is building a dashboard. Start early in the process of implementing a BI Tool and if you have a BI Tool, then start the process of strategy and planning early. There should be regular forecasts based on potential changes to the strategy and initiatives.”
*Side note – A KPI stands for a key performance indicator, which is a business metric used to evaluate factors that are important to the success of a company. For example a KPI can be gross margin, turnover, net income, sales by salesperson, and more. There are thousands of KPIs you can use. The key is to find what is important to your company and industry.

Kim: “How does Solver use dashboards that other companies may not?”
Barak: “Solver has completely revamped our financial process.  End of 2015, we decided to change the way we report our financials. In 2015 and prior, we would literally get an email with our financials and everyone looked at different values, but there was no determination of what the most important KPIs are to the executives and to managers that will grow the business to drive profitability.  We rebuilt our allocation model in January 2016, so that it would take into account what was truly important and impacts our decision making.  We brought in more data sources.  We finally built KPI’s and dashboards for executives and then we built them for department managers.  This is how we start meetings rather than looking at a financial statement.  Our financial statements are backups now and used mainly if we have a question or need to drill down.  Our KPI’s show comparisons to the budget/forecast and to prior years.  We show 24 and 36-month trends so we know if we are trending up or trending down. We now are able to make decisions immediately because we have the data and analysis at our fingertips.”
Hopefully, this conversation is helpful for your BI needs and for your organization, no matter the size.
Solver enables world-class decisions with BI360, a leading web-based CPM suite made up of budgeting, reporting, dashboards, and data warehousing, delivered through a web portal. Solver is reinventing CPM with its next generation solution. BI360 empowers business users with modern features including innovative use of Excel in the model design process. If you’re interested in learning more, our team is excited to hear about your organizational needs and goals.