This article focuses on data warehouses (DWs) for organizations utilizing the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance or Business Central ERP systems so you can make the best software investment by optimizing your reporting and Business Intelligence (BI) capabilities.
How do you know if your company needs a data warehouse (DW)? The signs are clear; If you have managers that need reports without using your ERP system or you need to combine data from both Dynamics 365 and other data sources, you are likely feeling like you are wasting energy and time on manual processes as well as analyzing and managing data with a program such as Microsoft Excel. DWs can help immensely by combining your important data in a single cloud database and thereby eliminating errors and tedious manual work.
There are two different versions of Microsoft Dynamics 365. Business Central (D365 BC) is the lower end version built off of the Dynamics NAV product, and Finance (D365 Finance) is the higher end version based on Dynamics AX. Both editions are created for and deployed in the Azure cloud, which is hosted and managed by Microsoft. This article will cover cloud DWs for your organization using both versions of Dynamics 365.
The new generation of BI and Corporate Performance Management (CPM) tools are typically built with a flexible database platform, often referred to as a Data Mart or Data Warehouse. A cloud DW can store all data to eliminate the need for a unique report writer for each data source.
If you are unfamiliar with a DW, here a short background: According to Dataversity, Bill Inmon was considered the Father of Data Warehousing. Inmon was the first to discuss the principles around the DW, and coined the term in the 1970’s. Companies view a modern DW as a dream come true because all of the organization’s important metrics are gathered in one place. A DW aggregates structured data from multiple sources, so that it can be analyzed and reported on. Consolidating financials for organizations with several entities has never been easier for companies as it is stored in one place, and features and tailoring are available without risky changes and customizations in your ERP system. DWs are created with the business user in mind, and the information housed within DWs can be utilized for planning, budgeting, forecasting, modeling, periodical reporting, as well as in dashboards where trends and trajectories of company data can be analyzed visually. Now that all modern BI/CPM tools have moved to the cloud, DWs are able to consolidate all of your data sources no matter where they are located, whether that’s web-based, hosted in the cloud, or on-premises.
On-premise users, do not worry because, as cloud BI and CPM tools continue to get smarter, hybrid models have become available in the marketplace, fusing cloud power with the control of on-premise technologies. Thankfully, although everything is slowly conforming to the cloud (but picking up speed), your business doesn’t have to do this overnight.
Companies should seek out their options to stay competitive in their industry without any future issues. As you research and think about which platform option to invest in, also plan for the future of your company. You can learn more on the advantages and disadvantages of cloud and on-premise tools in the Business Intelligence: Cloud-based, One-premises, or Both? article. Research has shown that moving to the cloud helps solve challenges related to lowering costs, increasing productivity, gaining flexibility, all the while giving the most accurate information to the users at the most opportune time, so companies can make smart decisions for their business.
As you are reading this, you are probably concerned about security. This is a valid and common question mark for many companies. Second generation DWs have been built with this concern in mind as vendors understand the significance of security in the Cloud. They also understand that, because data lives in one location, the need for security becomes even more important, so employees in your company are not able to see more than they need to, such as payroll. BI/CPM vendors have invested a lot of energy, time and money into making their services protected and easier to set up and manage security by role and software user. Security has always and will always be a top priority in terms of managing user access and data privacy.
DWs will continue to become more prominent, especially since users can bring several data sources into one place to enhance budgeting processes, data visualizations, and financial reports. Consider what your organization needs regarding a cloud DW. As a business data warehouse, Solver can be well integrated with your Dynamics 365 ERP system and with any other data source to consolidate all of your important company data. Solver’s CPM solution represents a modern cloud reporting and planning tool that collects data from multiple data sources and thus, offers up effective reports with all the organization’s key information from Dynamics 365, as well as other key data sources.
Microsoft software partners, like Solver, that work very closely with Microsoft and its ERP 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 Finance and 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 input forms and report templates can be selected and downloaded at no additional cost from a continuously growing Template Marketplace.
I suggest you invest in a complete CPM solution suite. This will help organizations like yours navigate the multi-cloud realm that we’re constantly being immersed in, With a pre-built, fully customizable DW, you can bring together disparate data sources, whether these are on-premise or in the cloud. Keep in mind that your organization does not have to move all of your systems to the cloud or on-premise, and you can consolidate your data into a modern, user-friendly DW solution. Solver, Inc. is happy to answer questions and generally review Solver’s cloud-powered, easy-to-use Excel and web reporting with both real-time or DW integrated analysis, budgeting and dashboards as a way to accelerate company performance management for Microsoft Dynamics 365, as well as your other business applications.
Solver enables world-class decisions with 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 deployed in as little as 1 day. Solver 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.