This article explores the popular Dynamics 365 Business Central cloud ERP system and how you can achieve advanced reporting and budgeting.
After Microsoft’s highly anticipated release of Dynamics 365 Business Central (D365 BC) a few years ago companies that deployed the solution has, as expected, started requesting more advanced reporting, budgeting and business intelligence (BI) capabilities.
But, let’s zoom out for a moment…after 25 years in the software industry, I have yet to see an ERP system with fantastic reporting, budgeting and BI capabilities built into the ERP. Alas, the world’s most used tool in this area remains the ever popular Microsoft Excel spreadsheet! There is actually a good reason for ERPs failing in this area with their native functionality, and that is that the demands for advanced calculations and formatting, currency conversion, consolidations, budget workflow, custom budget input forms, and charts simply are too much for the otherwise controlled and accounting-focused ERP applications. That is also a main reason why there is a flourishing corporate performance management (CPM) and BI industry out there that plugs these and other planning and decision-making related holes in ERP systems. It has become a symbiotic relationship in many ways with a sometimes elegant dance, especially when there are solid integrations that exist between ERPs, CPM solutions, and BI tools.
So, where does Dynamics 365 Business Central (D365 BC) land in terms of advanced reporting and budgeting? Well, as expected, it has native “Accounts Schedules” reporting and basic budgeting at the typical level where most modern ERPs have it. So…if ERP history is any indication, that means that 90-95% of all D365 BC customers are at least partially using their beloved Excel spreadsheets for some of their reporting and a lot of their budgeting and forecasting. That is, unless they have stepped up their capabilities and found CPM tools like Solver for full blown cloud budgeting, reporting and consolidations that are pre-integrated and also running on Microsoft Azure as a multi-tenant solution.
What Is Considered a Quick Start for a CPM Solution and Why is it Important?
While most D365 BC customers want their connected apps, including CPM tools and dashboards, to be cloud based. Key questions that quickly come up are: how hard is it to integrate to Business Central and how much cost and effort does it take to get up and running?
The answer typically is weeks or months of effort and tens of thousands of dollars in services. However, Microsoft software partners, like Solver, that work very closely with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and its partner channel, have developed pre-built integrations as well as out-of-the-box financial reports, planning input templates and Power BI dashboards. For example, Solver’s QuickStart integration to Dynamics 365 Business Central can get a company up and running in a single day with 100+ pre-built Power BI financial dashboards, as well as financial reports and budget input templates. All of these ready-to-use templates can be selected and downloaded at no additional cost from a continuously growing Template Marketplace.
But wait a minute, that was CPM, but what about BI? Actually, here Microsoft seems to have achieved a home-run in the past few years with Power BI. Not only did Power BI recently become the leader in the Gartner BI Quadrant, but Microsoft has done an excellent job integrating it to D365 BC and many other transaction systems.
So, if you work for an organization that plans to evaluate Dynamics 365 Business Central, between Power BI from Microsoft and advanced CPM solutions like Solver, you should be in good shape to turbo-charge your organization’s decision-making abilities in the years ahead.
Good luck and enjoy your ERP, BI, and CPM journey!
Solver enables world-class decisions with the Solver cloud 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 user-friendly solution. Solver empowers business users with modern features including innovative use of cloud-connected Excel in the report and budget form design process. If you’re interested in learning more, our team is excited to hear about your organizational needs and goals.