Matthew Felzke
Enterprise Technology Cloud Strategy with Reporting and Budgeting for Microsoft Dynamics

Image taken from Shutterstock.

Image taken from Shutterstock.

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.

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Matthew Felzke
Replacing FRx and Management Reporter with Cloud Reporting for Microsoft Dynamics

Cloud Reporting for IntacctThis article explores the cloud reporting options you have for replacing FRx and Management Reporter.

Sometimes, it’s hard for me to believe that some companies might still be using FRx, as the product was retired by Microsoft – and replaced with Management Reporter (MR) – years ago. But MSDynamicsWorld.com recently hosted a webinar about replacing either, and hundreds of registrants attended. When I zoom out and think about process overhauls or technology replacements that I have been a part of, for the most part, they generally haven’t happened rapidly. Also, we’re all regularly in the trenches of our jobs, in this case producing reports or consolidating company financials for an understanding of company health, so taking the time to research, watch demos, have calls with sales folks, and test the power and viability of a new product can be tough. But as companies look to replace FRx and MR and at the same time prepare for a future move to a cloud ERP system, we’re seeing a lot of finance departments take the first leap by implementing a modern cloud reporting and budgeting solution, proving that a true business improvement momentum is building in the enterprise technology sector. This article will discuss the power of cloud reporting options not only to replace FRx and MR, but also as a strategic catalyst for a bigger picture cloud technology migration.

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Hanna Kim
How to Prepare for Your First Financial Reporting Implementation

This article will discuss the process of preparing for a successful financial reporting implementation.

Image taken from Shutterstock.

Image taken from Shutterstock.

In the modern business realm, you cannot avoid financial reporting. Whether it is a homegrown Excel process, a legacy software program, an independent software vendor (ISV), or a native enterprise resource planning (ERP) report writer, every company is doing it. Investing in your first modern reporting tool typically means automated financial statements, accessible collaboration, modern security, and self-service analytics. Don’t worry if it sounds like gibberish to you. In this article, we will discuss preparing for your first reporting implementation so you are able to select the best reporting tool to navigate your organization in managing and analyzing data.

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Hanna Kim
Dashboards for Real Estate Companies Using Microsoft Dynamics GP

This article will discuss dashboard solutions for real estate companies that are seeking to enhance Microsoft Dynamics GP data analyses.

realestateVisualization has some beneficial side effects. Visualization improves your performance; helps reach your potential, increases focus, boosts confidence, and so much more. Think about professional athletes. For instance, everyone from tennis player Serena Williams to Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was a world champion body builder before he became an actor, have practiced visualization techniques. It makes sense to apply visuals to your financial reports and presentations. Think about receiving a stack of spreadsheets full of data. Is this how you extract your financial analysis? This is where a dashboard comes into play. The amount of data being created every year continues to grow tremendously. If your organization wants to make informed decisions, your company leaders need to be able to access and interpret data in real-time. The ability to act quickly on the data has become a competitive differentiator. A dashboard presents key data on a single page and uses visuals to summarize a large amount of data. In this article, we will discuss how dashboards will help real estate companies that are using Dynamics GP. Continue reading

Hanna Kim
Microsoft Dynamics 365 has Accelerated the Cloud ERP Revolution, but What About Your Reporting and Budgeting Needs?

This article discusses next steps to take for your reporting and budgeting needs regarding Dynamics 365.

Image taken from Shutterstock.

Image taken from Shutterstock.

Microsoft unveiled their cloud-based enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, Dynamics 365, just a little over a month ago. As a potential business intelligence (BI) customer, you’re probably curious about your reporting and budgeting processes in the context of moving towards a cloud-based ERP system. As you know, a new United States president was elected on November 8th, and as always with a new president, people are curious or worried how things will work out. If you are one of the approximately 85% of the world still using an on-premise ERP system, this same analogy can be applied to those who are planning to go onto a cloud ERP. This article focuses on the next steps to take for your reporting and budgeting in regards to Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 unveiling.

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Hanna Kim
How Does Business Intelligence for Dynamics GP Benefit My Department?

This article will focus on the benefits of Business Intelligence (BI) for the sales, marketing, human resources, and information technology departments using Dynamics GP.

Photo taken from Shutterstock.

Photo taken from Shutterstock.

Each department has an important role in a company. As a department leader, you may know what your team needs to achieve department-specific goals. BI solutions that cover budgeting, forecasting, reporting, and analyses can help you meet those goals in an efficient and quicker way. For example, at my own company, the current team of department heads includes Nils Rasmussen for Sales, Gina Louie for Human Resources, IT Manager Allan Bacero, and Marketing Director Vanessa Sierra. I will cover four general departments that you would typically find in an organization and explore how a BI tool would help each department.

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Hanna Kim
Common Management Reporter Challenges and Alternatives for Microsoft Dynamics AX Users

This article will focus on alternative report writers for Dynamics AX users who share common Management Reporter (MR) issues.

MRAs a regular subscriber to several Business Intelligence (BI) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) user groups, I’ve come across common issues regarding Management Reporter (MR) for those using Dynamics AX. In today’s business world, a modern, dynamic financial reporting tool is extremely important to making smart business decisions while developing your company and brand. This article will discuss the options for investing in a new reporting tool to expand your organization’s Microsoft Dynamics AX experience.

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Hanna Kim
Excel- and Web-based Reporting for Microsoft Dynamics GP

This article will discuss your financial reporting options for your Dynamics GP.

reportingdynamicsgpYour organization needs a powerful and dynamic financial reporting tool to help you stay competitive in your industry by managing and analyzing your data without any disruptions. Navigating through Business Intelligence (BI) is much like maneuvering through the streets of a foreign country without a map or any directions. In this article, I will explore Excel-based and web-based financial reporting options, so you are able to select the best reporting tool to navigate your organization in managing and analyzing your data using Microsoft Dynamics GP. Continue reading

Hanna Kim
How to Reduce the Number of Report Writers in Your Organization

This article will discuss the benefits of consolidating your many reporting tools.

reporting

How many of us use five or more report writers across our business systems? I know it sounds absurd, but most organizations do use that many reporting tools across their ERP system and other databases. When looking to invest in a reporting tool, how you integrate and present your data is very important. It is the backbone when it comes to making wise business decisions. In this article, I will focus on various options for consolidating multiple reporting tools to navigate your organization-specific issues in managing and analyzing your data.

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Nils Rasmussen
With Management Reporter riding into the Sunset, what is next?

As many Management Reporter (MR) customers and partners have now heard, there were two announcements from Microsoft in the past few weeks about the future of Management Reporter: one was at the Amplify conference in Anaheim, California on Sunday, May 22 last month, and the other was in writing and can be found here. This blog is a follow up to the first one, written after the Amplify conference, but now with more information available from Microsoft.

For people that like to analyze and read between the lines in vendor announcements, you can read into what is meant with “no major enhancements (of MR for GP)”. For anyone that has been in the software industry for a while, it typically means one thing: MR is going on life support, but there will be bug fixes and maybe some small improvements as well as the typical 10 years of support that Microsoft often offers on major products that are being sunset.

What about MR for Dynamics GP (whose team the recent MR announcement came from) vs Dynamics SL and Dynamics AX? The recent MR announcement came from the GP team, so the slowdown of MR development there is confirmed. Now, MR supposedly has the same engine, albeit different integrations, regardless of it being AX, GP or SL, so it would be quite strange if there would be full development of deep MR functionality (not talking User Interface here) for AX, but not for GP. However, that is just speculation and for sure there will be someone taking care of MR, at least for AX 7/cloud and maybe later AX updates. So, let’s leave that door open as AX in the cloud is a very high priority for Microsoft.

And, it is a known fact that SL has a smaller customer base than GP and thus, less resources behind it, so although there has not been any MR announcements from the SL team, it would be very strange if MR’s destiny is not the same there as it is for GP customers using MR.

What about Dynamics NAV? Microsoft tried to use MR on NAV for a while, but it was discontinued a while back because MR really did not work well on NAV’s multi-dimensional database, and NAV customers moved on and today, use the native NAV report writer or ISVs, like Jet Reports and BI360.

However, Dynamics customers have many choices, probably more than most ERP systems on the market, and reporting and CPM vendors are as usual standing ready to help the customers to greener pastures when they decide the time is right to move off MR.

With that said, while existing customers that are completely happy with MR can easily stay the course with MR for a while, new customers should then decide if it is worth the risk to invest time and money in MR report writing or if they should implement a closely integrated ISV product that does the same as MR and maybe more, like reporting on both GL and sub-ledger data. There are several of these products, including BI360, BizNet, Jet Reports, Prophix and ZAP. Some of them using Excel and some using browser interfaces or both. As with any type of ISV product in the ERP space, the goal of an ISV is to stay relevant and grow by always staying ahead of the ERP vendor’s own functionality, which is often free and embedded, like you will see with MR for AX on Azure.

So, let’s assume that MR has reached its retirement age for all or most of the Dynamics ERPs and is now moving into the retirement home to enjoy the rest of its life there, with “minor releases.” What is next from Microsoft? Are they going to ignore the need for financial reporting? Are they going to look beyond MR’s limitation to only report on GL data? What about budgeting features or embedded visualizations?

Let’s make some educated guesses about the alternatives Microsoft may be thinking about for financial reporting and corporate performance management (CPM). Here are some potential options (not in order of likelihood):

Option 1:

Microsoft can change their strategy on MR and rebuild it into a modern, non-proprietary, cloud friendly report writer and try to expand it into also reporting on sub-ledgers, so customers don’t need to use two or more report writers for their different ERP reporting requirements.

Option 2:

Microsoft can keep MR on life support until they launch a brand new tool. Who knows, maybe they are in stealth mode and already working on something related to expansion of Power BI into a more full-fledged combined BI and CPM tool?

Option 3:

Microsoft can acquire a CPM vendor. It would then be likely be a modern, cloud-based tool since Microsoft is extremely focused on the cloud in almost all regards these days.

Option 4:

Microsoft can develop partnerships with financial reporting or full-fledged CPM vendors while they figure out the future, which again will likely be #2 or #3 above, or they may lean on their ISV channel for the longer term.

Ultimately, Microsoft knows that they will need a good reporting and budgeting tool for AX Cloud, Madeira and NAV, as these three ERPs seems to be what they bet their long term cloud and on-premise presence on.

In the meantime, Microsoft Dynamics AX, NAV, GP and SL customers probably have the best ISV community of any their ERP competitors, so there are plenty of pre-integrated third party solutions ready to take Microsoft Dynamics’ financial reporting to the next level. What that next level is can be food for thought in a future blog.