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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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
Cloud Reporting for Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Enterprise Edition

This article will focus on financial reporting tools for organizations using Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Enterprise Edition, so you can invest in the right solution for your team.

This past November, Microsoft unveiled Microsoft Dynamics 365. Combining the Dynamics customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP) offerings in one unified cloud-hosted solution, there are two versions of Microsoft Dynamics 365. The lower end version of the product is called the Business Edition and is based on Dynamics NAV as a framework. The Enterprise Edition is the higher end version, which is based on Dynamics AX and created for larger corporations in the top of the marketplace. Both are hosted by Microsoft and deployed in the Azure cloud. In this article, we will explore what you should look for in a financial reporting tool for your organization to use with Dynamics 365, Enterprise Edition.

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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

Daniel Havey
Cloud Financial Reporting and Budgeting Software for Banks

This article will focus on Cloud Financial Reporting and Budgeting for Banks.

Image taken from Shutterstock.

Image taken from Shutterstock.

New technology has drastically changed the way we communicate. – My 18-year old daughter has just discovered the show called The Office starring Steve Carell.  The show came out in 2005 and we are wrapping up season two. What is striking is that all the sales representatives have flip phones and need to return to the office and login to their laptops or personal computers to transact business.  Continue reading

Matthew Felzke
Top 5 CPM Trends for 2017

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This article will highlight the top 5 corporate performance management trends for 2017, zooming in on features and functionalities and looking at the bigger picture roadmap for the marketplace.

It’s that time of the year again – the beginning of the year, specifically – where we move from organizing ourselves and goalsetting to the work of achieving our objectives.  There appears to be a collective understanding that 2016 was a rough year, at least in pop culture, no doubt a result of social media and specifically, the meme-driven culture.  Regardless of your perspective on how the business world fared in 2016, a new year brings with it a chance to do better, to improve processes and outcomes of teamwork.  And in that vein, this article will zoom in on the trends you can expect to see emerge for Business Intelligence (BI) and Corporate Performance Management (CPM).

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Hanna Kim
Dashboards for Media Organizations Using Dynamics GP

This article discusses dashboard solutions for media organizations that are seeking to enhance their Microsoft Dynamics GP data analyses.

mediadashboard

Whether your organization focuses on television, radio, the Internet or a different medium, a complete dashboard solution would be an effective way to ensure your company meets the demands of the digital disruption. Data visualizations provide easily digestible and accessible data analyses with charts, graphs, and scorecards that spotlight trends, successes, and challenges employing key performance indicators (KPIs) and your data to inform management decision-making for a department, a project, and/or the entire company.

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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
The Importance of Business Intelligence for All Companies and how it Impacts the Beginning of the Year

After the Thanksgiving holiday, I sat down with Solver’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) Corey Barak to talk about the importance of business intelligence (BI) for organizations. Corey is our “Chandler” from the television sitcom, Friends. Everybody admires him for his sarcastic humor, intellect, and his sound judgment. Corey manages the day-to-day operations and focuses on maximizing the service quality to our customers and partners.  He has been in the BI industry for 20 years, and started his career at Solver in 1999 as a Senior Business Intelligence Consultant. Outside of Solver, he is a father of two children and a husband. As 2016 is coming to a close, I was pondering on the New Year, and the kind of impact BI may have on companies. As an author of leading BI books, including “Process Improvement for Effective Budgeting and Financial Reporting” and “BI360 Book – The Ultimate How-To Guide,” I thought Corey would be the appropriate person to pick his brain about the importance of BI for any company.

Watch the interview below or read on for the transcript of our conversation.

Kim: “Why is BI important for companies and does the beginning of the year have an impact?”

Barak: “BI is the framework for setting strategy and managing the success and failure of the strategy.  Companies should create a closed-loop process where they set strategy, set the goals for the strategy, put together the budget or the forecast, and constantly review and analyze the actual vs. the budget/forecast of the goals.  If changes need to be made, then the strategy or the goals may need to be modified, which starts the loop over again.  It has an impact on the beginning of the year as the majority of companies are going through their budget process.  If they have a fiscal year that isn’t based on a calendar year, then this would be a chance to do forecasting. They could reforecast based on the strategy. If the strategy has not been set and finalized, then it makes it impossible for managers to put together a budget that should be dependent on the strategy.”

 

Kim: “What are steps to start adding BI for your organization?”

Barak: “The first step is to determine what impacts your business – the revenue growth and profitability -and determine how to measure that. Some manufacturing companies may have areas around manufacturing speeds or getting things out to the market quicker. Find those Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that drive your revenue growth. If you company doesn’t know what they are, the company needs to find out what they are. If they don’t have the data to determine their KPIs, then it is time to look into a BI tool that can bring in data from disparate systems and display them in structured reports and dashboards that are quick and easy to view. Make sure you’re making progress and improving. If you’re not improving and you’re actually declining, this is where you can start reviewing your strategy as things aren’t going the way you planned. Once it is finalized, then determine if this data is easy to access or it takes time to put this together.  Bring that data in, calculate the KPIs, and compare it to your budget or your forecast every month.

 

Kim: “What are some tips that you can share with organizations that are looking into investing in BI?”

Barak: “Find a tool that can bring your financial data and operational data together. Generally, a KPI is not going to be based on just financial data or just operational data, but a combination of the two. Determine the company’s KPIs and then determine the departmental KPIs, and create dashboards for them as well. Concentrate on the company’s KPIs, what really impacts the entire business and then start moving to each department. Find out how to get the data and what the calculation would be for the KPIs. Next step is try to build those, practice them before you put it into the dashboards. Go manually calculate them, make sure it’s trending properly. The next step is building a dashboard. Start early in the process of implementing a BI Tool and if you have a BI Tool, then start the process of strategy and planning early. There should be regular forecasts based on potential changes to the strategy and initiatives.”

*Side note – A KPI stands for a key performance indicator, which is a business metric used to evaluate factors that are important to the success of a company. For example a KPI can be gross margin, turnover, net income, sales by salesperson, and more. There are thousands of KPIs you can use. The key is to find what is important to your company and industry.

 

Kim: “How does Solver use dashboards that other companies may not?”

Barak: “Solver has completely revamped our financial process.  End of 2015, we decided to change the way we report our financials. In 2015 and prior, we would literally get an email with our financials and everyone looked at different values, but there was no determination of what the most important KPIs are to the executives and to managers that will grow the business to drive profitability.  We rebuilt our allocation model in January 2016, so that it would take into account what was truly important and impacts our decision making.  We brought in more data sources.  We finally built KPI’s and dashboards for executives and then we built them for department managers.  This is how we start meetings rather than looking at a financial statement.  Our financial statements are backups now and used mainly if we have a question or need to drill down.  Our KPI’s show comparisons to the budget/forecast and to prior years.  We show 24 and 36-month trends so we know if we are trending up or trending down. We now are able to make decisions immediately because we have the data and analysis at our fingertips.”

Hopefully, this conversation is helpful for your BI needs and for your organization, no matter the size.

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.

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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