Data is driving decision-making at all levels because data continues to grow in size and significance. Logging, storing, and evaluating data has become a big part of the business culture today. In order to produce rich, helpful financial reports for an analysis of a company’s opportunities and challenges, you will have to routinely store, access, and manage your data. Because of this reality, you might feel overwhelmed your technology options for storing your data. You have a few options, but they vary in functionality, and one might be better for your company than another, depending on what analysis goals you are trying to achieve. This article will explore data warehouse and OLAP cube based reporting.
In most mid-sized and larger organizations with multiple divisions, classic BI tools have never been good at satisfying both local division needs (detailed reporting, local budget models, etc.) as well as corporate HQ needs. In the screenshot below, you can see an interesting methodology where a company can install the BI360 data warehouse (DW) at each division as well as at corporate HQ and then transfer whatever interesting detail/summary they want from the local DWs to the central DW. Historically, this would often not be a feasible model when companies had to build homegrown, custom data warehouses from scratch, because it could get very expensive. With a pre-configured data warehouse like the BI360 DW however, it is very fast and low cost to install it anywhere in the organization where a data mart or data warehouse is needed. There are many other benefits with this multi-level DW architecture, including the ability to then use the same report writer, budgeting and dashboard (like BI360) technology everywhere, thus reducing training cost, license cost and more.
Smartlist is a very popular query tool used by all Microsoft Dynamics GP customers worldwide. It has hundreds of useful SQL Views to allow GP users to filter and retrieve transactions from different tables in the GP database. BI360 now integrates to Smartlist views to provide an almost unlimited number of opportunities for business users to drill down from BI360 financial reports and into GP without having to create their own drill-down queries. For example, a department head can run a Profit & Loss report for his or her department, notice a budget variance on a row (e.g. Office Supplies) and with one click, drill down into the Accounts Payable transaction in GP and retrieve the vendor’s Purchase Order and see each line item on the purchase order. Not only does this provide instant answers to business questions without having to bother accountants and power users, but it also does not require the user to have any knowledge of the Dynamics GP application, as both the drill down and the resulting view of the underlying transactions all happen from with the BI360 Excel-based report interface.
For a detailed example of the BI360 integration to Smartlist, please contact Solver and ask for the white paper “Integrating BI360 to a Smartlist view”.
The BI360 Drill To function is available for all BI360 ERP integrations, including Microsoft Dynamics AX, NAV, GP, SL, Sage MAS 500 and X3. and Epicor Prophet 21. This document provides a detailed example of how to integrate a Smartlist SQL view with the powerful Drill To feature in BI360 (version 3.5 and later) for the purpose of setting up a drill down rule that let a user drill down from a Profit & Loss report and all the way into sub-ledger (here: Accounts Payable) transactions in the GP database.