The future of Business Intelligence (BI) and more specifically, financial reporting, is here – and it would be a mistake to ignore it. I’m talking about the importance of a comprehensive solution that responds to several organizational needs, while putting ease of use, flexibility, and collaboration at the core of the technology. Let me be more specific: a web-based report library for Microsoft Dynamics NAV takes financial reporting to the next level – a new normal of synergy, modernity, and business user friendliness. As technology marketplaces continue to move in the direction of Cloud computing and web-based products, so does the BI sector. This article will discuss some of Dynamics NAV users’ needs addressed by a web-based report library as a framework to understand the new product category better for consumers.
First of all: anywhere, anytime access. Because report libraries are now being offered in the web, both from BI software vendors and from Microsoft (SharePoint), you can access financial and operational data anywhere and anytime you need to, with one-click access to reports. Additionally, when issues arise or if your KPIs break thresholds, with a modern report library on the web, you can set up notifications for important events as they happen. Alerts don’t stop there – you can set up the program to notify you via e-mail whenever new versions of a report is ready. This frontloaded setup of automation brings engagement with important company data right to your inbox. And there’s more to this ease of use.
Secondly, business user friendliness allows for non-IT professionals to manage and analyze their own data, cutting out the IT department as the middle man. No longer will you have to stumble through the search for a particular report because the filter tools are built with intuition and dynamic power in mind. You can search by name or other criteria – however you remember to easily retrieve a specific report. Additionally, a modern web-based report library sort of functions like your Netflix or Hulu queues or even Facebook profiles because you can flag reports as “favorites,” so that you can easily find and analyze with a couple clicks. Social network platforms have informed some of the intuitive, consumer-friendly features and functionalities.
The best web-based reporting portals function as a multi-user network and multi-dimensional platform for BI processes. The homepage of Solver’s BI360 Web-based Report Library, is a dashboard that shows all information relevant to the user, so you can quickly access any subscribed reports, comments, discussions, groups, and polls. The easy-to-use interface looks and feels modern with navigable, image-centric options for tasks, report templates, and any activity related to your role. And as important as collaboration is to business, modern web-based report libraries should be collaborative – or perhaps professionally social, to continue with the comparison of the software to social networking.
Collaboration is necessary to pull in role-specific data for decision-driving analysis across an organization, and now, it is a non-option for technology that you’re deploying to ignore that simple, but important need. Again, like a social network, discussion is an option when results are published via a comment section in a web-based report library. As the discussion happens, visual flags can be seen in the library, as well as e-mails notifications in real-time. Conversations can now happen around the world and around the clock, as important analytics are produced – and it happens on one platform that stores the interaction, so that when new members join the team, they can go back and see decision-making that happened before they were a part of the task force. Depending on the notification settings you select, it can unclog your inbox, and regardless, you don’t have to try to dig through your archived e-mails to see what decision was made. It clears the fog that some decision-making processes potentially face, paving the way for more timely action.
Working together has not been executed – or even imagined – more intuitively with technology before web-based report libraries. You can create a user-specific custom newsfeed that will extract and consolidate discussions and comments based on specific tags, like “feedback for next year’s budget” or “travel expenses,” for example. You can instantly retrieve reports with no execution time and make comments, as well as share a link to a certain report with your colleagues. All of this collaboration is simultaneously organic to this new technology and glitzy in that it mirrors social networking with aesthetic and functional appeal, but it is important to note this product category is much more than a Facebook or Netflix.
Finally, the new web-based report library product category embodies power by bringing all of the dynamic financial reporting functionality that you rely on regularly and pairing it with collaboration and aesthetics in one synergistic space. You can view consolidated and detailed versions of a report through elegant tree-based navigation. Your reports can also be grouped together, both as a formal report book – and as “recommended reading.” Additionally, you can view and even link reports from the most popular report writers in the same interface, even though they might come from different report designers. You can compare and analyze two different reports side by side with Dynamics NAV data with a special drag-and-drop split screen feature. And the functionality doesn’t stop there.
A web-based report library combines power with intuitive flexibility for a nearly unstoppable technology. You and your team can integrate a live report with the published version for complete, up-to-the-minute information access. Additionally, you can edit data on the fly to run a what-if analysis, with all related calculations and charts updated in real-time. Perhaps the most relevant, higher level flexibility comes in export capabilities to popular Microsoft Office formats. Excel files retain their original formulas and charting for further analysis. And finally, with all of this access and flexibility, the product wouldn’t be complete without the built-in robust security controls that allow you to control access to entire reports or specific dimensions within reports for each user. Lots of intuitive features and functionalities in one place.
I know that keeping an eye on new products (or a whole new product category) cannot always be on the top of your list of priorities, as a busy Microsoft Dynamics NAV user, but that’s why I am here. As products continue to roll out in the web-based report library category, you will want to have a head start on the basics that make this a valuable investment. Solver would be happy to answer questions and generally review BI360’s easy-to-use, powerful web-based reporting library solution for collaborative, streamlined decision-making capabilities with Dynamics NAV.