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 ‚Äď 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?

The answer to that question will vary from company to company, depending on size and BI needs, but even beyond the goals particular to an organization, the two types of integrations have their strengths and weaknesses.¬† It will be vital, when investing in BI solutions, to weigh the pros and cons of each, including a consideration of products that offer either mode of data access.¬† This article will discuss data integration ‚Äď and how the current methodology options will affect how to run reports, create budgets, and generate dashboards.
First, it might be important to clarify the terminology.¬† Consolidation refers to aggregating data from multiple sources into one space.¬† Data migration involves moving the information from one source to another, like when moving data from a legacy hierarchical ERP database to a more contemporary, relational one.¬† Finally, integration refers to combining data from multiple sources into a unified, meaningful, accessible view.¬† A data integration generally entails detection, preparing, monitoring, converting, and transport of information from potentially several sources.¬† Data integration is a must these days ‚Äď and good for performance management.
Technology development and advancements have allowed for storage of massive amounts of varied data.  Integration of this company data into one accessible database empowers superior analysis and critical reporting and planning.  The more data, the more precise the analytics are for decision-making.  Recently, the business world learned that data analysis can mean life or death for a company.
In terms of real world application, BI tools rely on dashboards, reports, and budgeting to navigate the sometimes tumultuous marketplace.  The recession of 2008 resulted in massive personnel layoffs, bankruptcies, and a related spike in the US unemployment rate.  Hopefully, this economic crisis was a wakeup call for corporate officers, but regardless, consistent analysis and response to company data is a must for maneuvering in the marketplace.  Theoretically, integrating data into BI analysis can keep a corporation afloat by seeing the iceberg with plenty of time to then adapt to the trajectory of the market before ever coming close to a collision.  But when it comes to the options of live integrations and data storage integrations, which is best for company needs?
Live integration is exactly what it sounds like ‚Äď the integration happens in the moment from the ERP system to the BI tool.¬† For example, if a Microsoft Dynamics user utilized a BI solution product that allowed for a live integration, anything input into GP up to the minute he runs a report will be included in a budget with actuals versus projected report or dashboard for executives to review.¬† Live integrations allow for real-time analysis.¬† Sometimes, officers, budget managers, or any member of the finance team needs up-to-the-minute analysis that has to do with sales, inventory, and/or personnel.¬† Live integration would have to be an option to perform this kind of real-time analytics.¬† However, depending on the number of users and the size of the query performed to generate a certain report, live integrations can slow down the ERP server for all users.¬† In this regard, data storage options offer a more stable, speedy analysis.
Data warehouses and OLAP cubes require the data to be replicated into the storage space before any analysis can take place, but it is generally a quicker integration.  Unlike live integrations, the data is static and therefore, stable.  Any query performed to generate an analysis is grabbing replicated data, almost like a shortcut or copy of an icon on a PC.  It does not slow down an ERP database that others might be using, but instead reaches into the data storage space and pulls established information, resulting in high performance analytics.  Integrating from data storage systems is good for data analysis that does not have to be up-to-the-minute, like monthly reports that are likely routine in nature.  That allows for professionals to replicate the relevant data into the warehouse or cube for analysis.  However, if either route does not seem sufficient exclusively, there are options for both types of integrations.
There are few products on the market that allow companies to run reports live from the ERP and also have the option of integrating from a data warehouse or OLAP cube.  Arguably, this flexibility is very attractive, at least for companies where multiple people are working within the ERP system.  That said, it is somewhat rare to find both integration options in a product.  Solver, Inc. is happy to answer questions and generally review BI360’s easy-to-use Excel, web, and mobile BI tools with both real-time or data warehouse integrated analysis and collaboration as a way to accelerate company performance management beyond the ERP.

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    […] Informations on that Topic: solverglobal.com/blog/2014/05/live-reporting-for-microsoft-dynamics-vs-data-warehouse-and-olap/ […]

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  3. […] options.¬† Today‚Äôs data visualization solutions can integrate company information from multiple sources.¬† You can produce real-time analytics by integrating live from Dynamics AX and/or Manufacturing […]

  4. […] or could a BI data store integration from a data warehouse or an OLAP cube serve you best?¬† Do you need both?¬† You‚Äôll also want to weigh your platform choices: would an Excel add-in solution provide the […]

  5. […] dashboards can query data from multiple sources.¬† If you require real-time data, specifically in terms of financial figures, you can utilize the […]

  6. […] dashboards can query data from multiple sources.¬† If you require real-time data, specifically in terms of financial figures, you can utilize the […]

  7. […] dashboards can query data from multiple sources.¬† If you require real-time data, specifically in terms of financial figures, you can utilize the […]

  8. […] accounting system or other data sources, whether that is directly from Microsoft Dynamics SL with a live integration or from an online analytical processing (OLAP) cube or a data warehouse.¬† Like most enterprise […]

  9. […] cube and data warehouse¬†integrations ‚Äď and assessing what you need when it comes to¬†integrating live versus querying a BI data store, but ease of use always comes first for me.¬† Think about whether you have someone on staff who has […]

  10. […] of all, your dashboards can grab information from¬†multiple sources.¬† You can create real-time dashboards by running live from a Point of Sale (POS) system, Microsoft […]

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  14. […] visualizations can pull financials from¬†multiple sources.¬† If you need real-time analytics and only for your financial data, you use Intacct‚Äôs native […]

  15. […] with data source integrations.¬† Modern dashboard solutions can integrate your company data from multiple sources.¬† You can produce real-time analytics by integrating directly from Manufacturing Execution Systems […]

  16. […] is a great place to start.¬† Today‚Äôs data visualizations can pull company information from multiple sources.¬† You can generate real-time analyses by pulling data from your accounting system, patient record […]

  17. […] of all, you can query your data from multiple systems.¬† You can generate real-time analyses directly from Dynamics AX.¬† This method enables users to […]

  18. […] can integrate your data from multiple sources.¬† If you need real-time analytics, specifically for financial data, you can rely on the built-in […]

  19. […] visualizations can utilize information from multiple sources.¬† If you have to have real-time analyses, particularly for financials, you can use the native […]

  20. […] visualizations can utilize information from multiple sources.¬† If you have to have real-time analyses, particularly for financials, you can use the native […]

  21. […] can pull information from multiple sources.¬† If you need real-time analytics, specifically regarding financials, you can utilize the built-in […]

  22. […] writers vary in how you can pull data from Intacct.¬† The native Intacct report writer offers a live integration, directly from the Intacct ERP database, so you can achieve a real-time analysis.¬† This is great […]

  23. […] 300 ‚Äď or would a BI data store integration from an OLAP cube or a data warehouse work?¬† Do you require both?¬† Next up: platform options. ¬†Would you prefer an Excel add-in tool for the familiarity that […]

  24. […] you can pull financials and statistics from multiple sources¬†with today‚Äôs data visualizations.¬† You can achieve real-time dashboards with a direct […]

  25. […] your financial data from your accounting system and/or additional data sources, either through a live integration¬†from Acumatica or¬†via a Business Intelligence (BI) data store.¬† Like most enterprise resource […]

  26. […] can query data from multiple sources.¬† Should you require real-time analyses and particularly for financial information, you can use […]

  27. […] you can query data from¬†multiple sources with modern dashboards.¬† You can produce real-time data visualizations with a live integration […]

  28. […] about integrating data sources.¬† Today‚Äôs dashboard tools can pull your company information from multiple sources.¬† You can generate real-time analyses by integrating right from Sage X3 and/or Manufacturing […]

  29. […] your data visualizations with Microsoft Dynamics AX. First of all, you can query your data from multiple systems.¬† You can generate real-time analyses directly from Dynamics AX.¬† This method enables users to […]

  30. […] software that can query financial data from Intacct and/or other data sources, either through a live integration¬†from Intacct or¬†depending on a Business Intelligence (BI) data store.¬† Like most enterprise […]

  31. […] up first: integrating your data.¬† On this blog, I‚Äôve written about depending on a live integration from Dynamics AX¬† or relying on a BI data storage source, like an online analytical processing (OLAP) cube or a […]

  32. […] when picking the best data integration method for your company, read the rest of this article here. […]

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