This article focuses on the process of preparing for a software implementation.
This article covers the top things to consider when buying a CPM tool.
As with all other software out there, the most powerful budgeting applications on the market are not necessarily the easiest ones to use. Similarly, a simple application with just a few screens and menus can be mastered in a few hours, but will not have the flexibility as more complex software. In particular, you will find this to be true in the area of report writing. The more you want to customize reports and input screens to fit your company’s particular business model, the more powerful the report writer you will need and the more time you’ll need to spend learning it. While the most high-end budgeting applications offer customization of menus, labels, reports, and so on, lower end software usually has limited functionality in these areas.
All modern budgeting applications have graphical user interfaces where you can use a pointing device or copy / paste between windows, and screens offer a variety of different fonts and colors. Online help files and context sensitive help have been a common feature to improve user friendliness. Every vendor (ISV) has its own unique screen layouts and user-related functions. The best way to get a good feel for a particular solution is to watch an in-depth demonstration or even better, to request a demo copy or a workshop where you can get some hands on experience to test ease of use of the application. The goal is to find out if power users as well end users will be comfortable with the application to the degree of where they adopt it and learn all of the features.
To help you meet your companies needs and goals, our solution BI360 Planning is being demonstrated next Thursday, May 31 @ 10 AM at our webinar: “Looking to Take Away the Pain of this Year’s Budgeting Process?“. BI360 Planning has a user friendly Excel-based interface, you can quickly adapt a budget model based on your existing Excel sheets; or you can completely re-engineer your process and input form layout based on your organization’s changing requirements. Join us and discover the complete value BI360 has to offer.
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.