Vanessa Sierra
How to get the Most out of Power BI

This article discusses how you can combine the strengths of leading business intelligence and corporate performance management solutions to create easy-to-use, business dashboards and operational reports.  

 

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Hanna Kim
Cloud Business Intelligence Solutions for Acumatica

This article explores financial reporting and budgeting options in the cloud for your Acumatica Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.

Image taken from Shutterstock.

Image taken from Shutterstock.

In today’s business world, our processes and technology platforms require accessibility and flexibility, and more solutions are showing up on the cloud market. Since data sources and data in general continues to expand in size and can increasingly be found across cloud and on-premise locations, more executives are looking for the right Business Intelligence (BI) solution to empower business end users to make better and smarter business decisions. In this article, we will discuss several business intelligence options for your Acumatica ERP system that will cover deployment options, sophisticated functionalities, and hopefully, answers to any questions you may have regarding BI add-ons. Continue reading

Matthew Felzke
Business Intelligence for Sage 100

In this article, we’ll explore what Business Intelligence solutions can do to help you achieve a best-of-breed Sage 100 experience that drives smarter organizational decision-making.

The modern business world moves at such a pace that it is imperative that our tools be accessible and flexible for our analytical processes.  Mobile applications are just one example of how independent software vendors (ISVs) are delivering Business Intelligence (BI) tools that speak to consumer needs for financial reporting, data management, and analytics for Sage 100 users.  Today, you should be investing in BI technology that is nothing short of the flexibility you require, in terms of how you get to your transactional and operational information for more streamlined, smarter decision-making, regardless of where you are working.  Third party software vendors are bringing flexible BI solutions to market for an upgraded, modern end user experience.

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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.

Nils Rasmussen
End of development for Microsoft’s Forecaster and Management Reporter tools – now what?

Recently, in two separate announcements, Microsoft has stated that they will no longer develop their Forecaster budgeting tool and their Management Reporter financial report writer. How does this impact the almost 200,000 Dynamics AX, GP, SL and NAV customers out there? Is it a bad thing or may it be a smart move by Microsoft?

To take Dynamics NAV first, Management Reporter has not supported NAV for a while and most customers look to best-of-breed third party solutions with a live NAV integration, such as the Excel-based report writers like BI360 (www.solverglobal.com) and Jet Reports (www.jetreports.com).

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Matthew Felzke
Business Intelligence for Sage X3

This article discusses Business Intelligence (BI) solutions for a best-of-breed Sage X3 experience that delivers complete insight through reporting and analytics.

Today’s business world requires that our processes and technological tools be accessible and flexible.  Mobile Business Intelligence (BI) applications are one example of precisely how third party software vendors are answering consumers’ calls for solutions that can keep up with the fast pace of the international marketplace, including financial reporting, data management, and analytics for Sage X3 customers.  Nowadays, you should be investing in and depending on BI tools that are flexible enough for your organization regarding how you access your transactional and operational data for more efficient, richer decision-making, no matter if you’re on the road or in the office.  Independent software vendors (ISVs) are producing BI tools with this flexibility built right in to improve the end user experience.

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Matthew Felzke
Business Intelligence for Acumatica

In this article, Business Intelligence (BI) solutions for your Acumatica ERP system will be explored and discussed in depth as a consumer guide.

Today’s business world basically requires that our processes and technology platforms be accessible and flexible, and mobile applications are also showing up on the market more and more as an example of how successfully independent software vendors (ISVs) have responded to consumer requests to stay up to date with the fast pace of the international corporate realm, including data management, analyses, and reporting for Acumatica users.  Today, you should depend on BI tools that are flexible enough for your team in terms of accessing operational and transactional data for more informed, faster decision-making, whether you are working remotely or in the office.  ISVs are answering this consumer call for a focus on flexibility in BI solutions.

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Matthew Felzke
Business Intelligence for Sage 300

This article will explore Business Intelligence (BI) software for an expanded, modern Sage 300 experience to provide comprehensive reporting and analysis.

The modern business culture insists that our procedures and software solutions be flexible and accessible, and the mobile platforms that are rolling out are just one example of exactly how independent software vendors (ISVs) are responding to consumer demands to keep up with the on-the-go nature of the global corporate scene, including data management, reporting and analyses for Sage 300 customers.  These days, you should be relying on BI software that is flexible enough for your company in regard to accessibility of your operational and transactional information for smarter, quicker decision-making, whether you are working in the office or remotely.  Third party software manufacturers are responding to this user experience need for more flexibility in BI tools.

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Matthew Felzke
Dashboard Solutions for Microsoft Dynamics AX

Dashboards for the win!  This article is going to discuss the most popular tools in the Business Intelligence world for Microsoft Dynamics AX users, focusing on features and functionalities.

If you follow this blog, you know that we write a lot about dashboards – and it’s not an accident.  According to a recent study on CFOs’ priorities in terms of technology, results indicated that dashboards, scorecards, and performance management solutions are #1 for financial executives.  In the modern business world, decision-making needs to be quick, easy, and smart for professionals across an organization.  Dashboards are exactly that.  To be more specific, dashboards or data visualizations are charts, graphs, and scorecards that employ key performance indicators (KPIs) to illustrate business successes, opportunities, and trajectories in the data, whether you’re looking at it organization-wide, departmentally, or in the context of a project.

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