This article focuses on the importance of the drill-down function in your reporting tool.

gooddrill-downHave you looked at the summary page on your bank statement and not been able to recall a transaction you made? Or has your department made a large transaction and nobody in your team was able to figure out what the company’s money was spent on? This is where a drill-down feature in your reporting will benefit you. A drill-down is a feature that can be found in your reporting tool, and it allows the end user to see details of the transactions the user is reporting from. If you are relying on Microsoft Dynamics NAV for your business, this article will focus on what you need to know regarding drill-down features to expand your reporting processes.
Reviewing transactional and operational information from a number of entities, at times with multiple currencies, can be a challenge without a drill-down feature in a modern financial reporting tool. As the size of your company continues to grow, the feature can assist you in quickly digesting your reports. This will help each department run their own reports and drill down on, for example, expenses to explore WHERE and HOW their money was spent during the month.
What are the benefits of a drill-down feature? There are certainly multiple benefits when it comes to having a flexible drill-down feature built into your corporate performance management (CPM) system. For instance, drill-down features give users a granular view of their company data without having to access the accounting system. Let’s say the head of your department has requested a detailed explanation of each transaction he/she made, and the departmental head could not remember what your team purchased. How is he/she going to explain it to the company’s accounting team or the controller? Well, with a modern CPM solution, any user can open up a web browser, and run a report for the department on month’s end and see if there are major variances. In a modern, web-based self-service solution, a user can also add text comments to each line item to reduce the need to explain it to other managers in the future. In this case, the department head will be able to remember his/her purchase. For example, the large purchase will show that it was office supplies, particularly 10 office chairs for the new conference room. This will be explained in the comment section of the report for the accounting team to see. Without a modern CPM solution, most likely an accountant would talk to the department head regarding certain company spending. This leaves room for confusion, stress, and potential issues.
There are some tools where the drill-down feature pops up with the list of transactions in a new window or as a list of the details on the same report. This allows a user to analyze a variance and, in some CPM systems, also to enter and store text comments in the database. A drill-down feature is ideal for large companies, and it allows visibility to end users for all money spent, including travel expenses, marketing promotional items, and more. This functionality allows you as a user to be proactive and run a report yourself and drill down without the help of your controller. End users are able to digest reports and get to a desired level of detail they need without being inundated by too much information. This is why the power of good drill-down in reports is very beneficial for your organization, especially if it is growing. You can typically find the feature as a default option in a modern tool.
After talking to a few consultants at my company, I have learned that most of their clients love the drill-down feature because it has given clients more confidence when working with their software application. The drill-down feature has become important to the client as it assists them in verifying the integrity of their organization’s data. Additionally, the power of a good drill-down feature is convenient for NAV customers because their end users don’t have to use NAV to access this feature. Instead of launching your NAV system, you can access a specific transaction by drilling down from reports that non-accountant users run in a report writer, such as Jet Reports and BI360, outside the NAV application, thereby not requiring end users that only need to do reporting to purchase NAV user licenses.
I have been covering the drill-down feature extensively, but I have not touched what sometimes is referred to as drill across functionality yet. According to BusinessIntelligence.com’s definition of drill across, the drill across feature is a “function of data mining software. As opposed to drill up or drill-down, which move through a database vertically, expanding and focusing the level of detail to browse data at different levels, drill across directs the drill path to entirely different dimensions or reports across a spectrum of datasets.” In simpler terms, drill across allows the user an option to drill into different hierarchy, whereas with drill-down, it operates within the same hierarchy. Drill across allows users to get out of it.
Reviewing your finances can be complex and tedious, but with features such as the drill-down and the drill across, it doesn’t seem so bad. Features and functionalities such as drill-down and drill across can make your reporting processes a lot easier and more enjoyable. Clearly, a drill-down feature will give you and your company the details that you want and explain what makes up the summarized number or transaction. Solver offers BI360, a web-based dashboard as well as reporting, budgeting, and a data warehouse, stand-alone or as a comprehensive suite of BI modules, and would be happy to answer questions and review BI360’s easy-to-use solution that enables collaborative, streamlined decision-making capabilities using Microsoft Dynamics NAV.
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.

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