This article will discuss leveraging corporate performance management (CPM) solutions as a foundation for an enterprise technology cloud roadmap.
I find myself thinking about cloud technology all the time these days. And this is particularly peculiar when I zoom out and think about how I was an English major in college. However, cloud is permeating the culture – both popular and business – and I can’t help but think about how it is changing the way we store, manage, and leverage data. I have even seen memes on social media that make fun of the fact that we keep so many pictures – “for what?” is the punchline. The answer is because we can, and our massive and growing amount of data doesn’t bog down our devices because it is housed in the cloud. Beyond that though, in the business world, cloud as a platform follows the consumer marketplace trend of subscriptions to outsourced services as opposed to buying something outright. This is such a major shift in the business culture, and it creates a more efficient relationship in the context of technology management for both the vendor and the consumer. This article will explore the journey of transitioning reporting and budgeting solutions to the cloud – and suggest a starting place.
If you’re using Microsoft Dynamics to manage your financials, you are likely also relying on additional tools to produce professional budgets, financial reports, and dashboards. It might be Microsoft’s own Management Reporter (or FRx) and Power BI; a third party vendor solution, like Host Analytics, Prophix, or Solver’s BI360, or probably the least likely if you’re an organization of a healthy size: a homegrown Excel process. In other words, in today’s business culture, you likely need richer reporting, budgeting, and data visualizations than Microsoft Dynamics is designed to deliver. And these corporate performance management (CPM) and business intelligence (BI) solutions can be a foundational solution for your migration to enterprise technology hosted on cloud platforms.
Whether you’re already in the cloud with Microsoft Dynamics 365 or still working within one of the on-premises versions, navigating toward the cloud involves acknowledging all of the tools you use and how disparate or connected they are. This is especially important as you try to streamline your workflow and also integrate diverse data sets into certain cross-departmental reports, budgets, or dashboards. Learning different types of reporting tools from each system your teams are managing can be time consuming and a drain on your resources, but most companies still operate that way. However, the right modern cloud CPM solution can not only simplify the reporting and/or budgeting process you and your team manages as well as the integration to your Dynamics ERP solution, but it can also establish a singular space where all of your data can be stored and managed as you navigate some systems on-premises and some in the cloud.
I know that moving out of the traditional on-premises platform management and even how you pay for your systems can be less than comfortable in addition to being overwhelming in terms of how to get it all done while still maintaining business as usual. Add that to the routine of logging in and out of your different systems to run reports, collaborate on budgets, or produce data visualizations of your company information – and you might feel like the project of moving toward the cloud is too much. However, today’s premier cloud CPM tools, in addition to being modern, powerful, and scalable in their output, also can serve as a central repository for your variety of data that you can then leverage in one reporting, budgeting, and/or dashboard tool. Simply, you can make this transitional phase in the cloud era an efficient one. But how exactly?
When you’re navigating hybrid platform management or multi-cloud systems, it all comes down to connectors. By connectors, I more specifically mean integrations. One of the biggest hurdles for moving any one of your systems to the cloud, especially when you maintain other systems on-premises, is how you connect your data. Strong integrations are key, now more so than ever, as technology is evolving in a big way, and you need to continue producing the reports, budgets, and dashboards your company depends on to make decisions. But you also can manage all of the data in one place for centralized CPM processes.
The way to do that is through a pre-built, configurable data warehouse. The best cloud CPM suites will offer you a data warehouse to store not only your Microsoft Dynamics data, but a variety of information from different data sources because of strong input integrations – and a singular output integration to the CPM tool for simplified reporting, budgeting, and data visualizations. A modern data warehouse will connect to both on-premises and cloud data sources, meaning the stress of connecting all of your sources is solved via CPM. It’s simply a smart way to proceed as you maneuver through this migration to the cloud, as staggered or all-at-once as it may be for you and your company. It will be important to find the right technology to support the organizational goals you have, whether that be modern reporting, budgeting, dashboards, or data management.
You have plenty of options, relatively speaking, in terms of modern cloud CPM solutions. The best options will serve your organizational objectives with Excel-powered, web-hosted tools that make up a suite, so that you only have to learn one integrated platform of software solutions. A data warehouse and robust integrations will be key to your success in managing systems both on-premises and in the cloud. It can be overwhelming, but Solver, Inc. is happy to answer any questions and review BI360’s easy-to-use, Excel- and web-based budgeting and reporting solution that enables teamwork and streamlined decision-making capabilities for your Microsoft Dynamics experience, both in the cloud and on-premises.