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In a recent announcement, Microsoft and Solver launched a “Cooperation Agreement” (Agreement) to deliver deeply integrated planning and reporting for Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Finance. This Agreement offers several benefits for current and future Dynamics 365 Finance (Finance) customers; and as a byproduct, many of these same benefits will also be available for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (Business Central) customers. Key benefits for Finance customers, Business Central customers, and both (D365) are discussed below.

Advanced CPM Software

One Version of the Truth

With a two-way integration between D365 and Solver, customers will be able to easily synchronize data between D365 and Solver, and update completed budgets and forecasts from Solver back into D365. Furthermore, customers will be able to drill down on reports in Solver to source transactions in D365.

Vendor Stability

In recent years there have been many acquisitions in the corporate performance management (CPM) and analytics space, often making customers uncertain about the future direction of their vendor. One of the most well-known of these acquisitions was when ERP vendor Workday acquired Adaptive Insights (Adaptive) in 2018. While it was an exciting transaction for Workday customers, it was not good news for Adaptive customers and Partners on ERPs competing with Workday. With Solver’s independent status, focus on the Azure cloud platform, and now this new Agreement with Microsoft, customers can look forward to years of integration enhancements and platform benefits.

More Leverage of the Microsoft Azure Platform and Other Microsoft Products like Teams and Excel

Since its inception, the Solver cloud product has had a deep integration to Excel for its report and budget form design experience. Microsoft Teams users can view Solver reports in Teams while discussing budgets and financials with other users, all on the Microsoft Azure platform. As part of the recently announced Microsoft Agreement, Solver will also deliver several enhanced integrations and other capabilities to D365 customers.

Easier Cloud Migrations to D365 for Legacy Dynamics AX, NAV, GP and SL Customers

There is still a large, global customer base running the on-premise Microsoft Dynamics legacy ERPs.

Solver’s integrations to Dynamics AX, NAV, GP and SL will assist Dynamics legacy customers’ migration to D365 at a reduced cost and amount of effort. In a nutshell, legacy customers can “park” their important historical AX, NAV, GP and SL data (e.g. 10 years’ worth) in Solver’s cloud data warehouse, and minimize the data they need to convert and load into their new D365 cloud ERP, thus saving time and cost.

Quick-Time-to-Value and Low Implementation Risk

The enhanced, two-way integration resulting from the Solver – Microsoft Agreement provided an opportunity to create QuickStart, an integration wizard that includes Solver’s unique mapping technology which enables immediate use of pre-built financial reports, budget forms and Power BI dashboards. While reporting and planning tools typically take weeks or months for customers to integrate, deploy and design, Solver’s QuickStart technology enables cloud tenant deployment with a standard D365 integration and pre-built financial templates to be up and running in as little as one day. This quick-time-to-value frees up more time for partners and customers to create high value analytics content. It also lowers the risk of implementations going over budget and not delivering promised value.

Eliminate or Reduce Dependency on Manual Excel Models or Legacy CPM Platforms

D365 customers will be able to save costs and reduce effort by eliminating old, manual planning and reporting models and consolidating them into the Solver cloud platform.  Most businesses extensively use homegrown Excel models to meet specific formatting requirements, and to customize budgeting and forecasting models. Some also have legacy third-party CPM solutions with ongoing high maintenance costs.

These companies will now be able to deploy Solver with deep two-way integrations into their D365 system, saving time and effort, with fewer models and technologies to update and maintain.

More Time for Analysis and Daily Accounting Tasks

The rapid time-to-value and simpler upkeep resulting from the technologies evolving out of the Microsoft – Solver Agreement will give the office of finance more time for analysis and high value tasks.  Direct time savings and improved efficiency are key customer benefits of interoperability between D365 and Solver. Furthermore, users will see continuous expansion and improvements in out-of-the-box integrations, including third-party apps that work with D365, as well as a growing marketplace with out-of-the-box reporting and planning templates.

The Promise of a “Cleaner” ERP?

One of the premises of the entire CPM software category is to provide a connected, best-of-breed planning and reporting solution. When customers plan their CPM solution before deploying their new ERP system, it has a great potential to eliminate unnecessary, complex or “clunky” ERP configurations patched up with accompanying complex manual Excel models.

The Agreement between Microsoft and Solver also promises a reduction of compromises done with dimensions and other setups during an ERP implementation. Adjustments that are typically done to purely to satisfy native ERP reporting or planning requirements. The new agreement provides the potential for cleaner, more user-friendly ERP deployments.

Advanced CPM Software

Higher ROI on Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance & Business Central Investment  

Most companies at this point have a plan to migrate to a cloud ERP, if they haven’t already done so.  Those that have previously experienced ERP implementations know the risks of running over time and over budget. Because of the many benefits brought by closely aligned ERP and CPM solutions, and how the Microsoft – Solver Agreement further enables this, customers are likely to enjoy a higher return on investment (ROI) for their new D365 solution.

Summary

While all modern cloud ERPs have application programming interfaces (APIs) and independent software vendor (ISV) apps that can connect to provide additional value to customers, deeper relationships like the one between Microsoft and Solver is rarer and offers many new benefits to customers as they continue to digitalize and automate their processes as they move their business apps to the cloud.

LOS ANGELES, CA. – August 31st, 2020 – Solver, a global leader in cloud and web-based Corporate Performance Management (CPM) for mid-market ERP systems, today announced it has been named a Top Performer in the Corporate Performance Management (CPM) Software category for the Summer 2020 Customer Success Report published by FeaturedCustomers. FeaturedCustomers is the leading customer success content marketing platform for B2B business software & services helping potential B2B buyers make informed purchasing decisions through vendor validated customer success content such as customer testimonials, success stories, case studies, and customer videos.

FeaturedCustomers evaluated all the potential Corporate Performance Management (CPM) Software companies on its platform for possible inclusion in the report. Only 21 companies met the criteria needed for being included in the Summer 2020 Corporate Performance Management (CPM) Software Customer Success Report. Solver earned a Top Performer award in the category.

The Customer Success Report is based on the curation of authenticated case studies, testimonials, and videos from across the web, telling a complete story of vendors in the Corporate Performance Management (CPM) Software space through real customer experiences. Rankings are determined by multiple factors including total number of customer success content, social media and market presence, vendor momentum based on web traffic and search trends, and additional data aggregated from online sources and media properties.

Top Performer – The Top Performer designation is awarded to vendors with significant market presence and enough customer success content to validate their vision. Highly rated by customers, Solver consistently publishes high quality, vendor produced customer success content and curates quality customer references from multiple third-party sites.

“Customer Success for Solver’s SaaS CPM is growing rapidly as Solver listens and adapts its’ software to customer demands and new technologies,” says Tad Remington, Solver Chief Commercial Officer.  He continues, “Advancing world-class decision making with our customers seems limitless.”

 

About Solver

With a quickly growing community of thousands of global customers and hundreds of partners worldwide, Solver provides a leading cloud Corporate Performance Management suite for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations and Business Central, Acumatica, SAP Business One, SAP ByDesign, Sage Intacct, Sage 100, Sage 300, Sage 500, Sage X3, NetSuite and other ERPs. Solver is ranked in the leader quadrant in the Corporate Performance Management (CPM) Software Grid on G2, and as a Microsoft Gold ISV Partner, Solver has won countless awards, including the Experience leader and Trust Leader in Dresner Advisory Services’ 2020 Industry Excellence Awards, Microsoft BI Partner of Year Award, recognition on the Gartner Group CPM Magic Quadrant, and Best Places to Work for a workplace culture that celebrates customer service, integrity, and innovation. Solver is sold through its 12 global offices and a worldwide network of partners. For any questions, visit www.solverglobal.com or contact Solver at info@solverglobal.com.

About FeaturedCustomers:

FeaturedCustomers, the world’s only customer reference platform for B2B business software & services, helps potential B2B buyers research and discover business software & services through vendor validated customer reference content such as customer testimonials, success stories, case studies, and customer videos. Every day their platform helps influence the purchasing decisions of thousands of B2B buyers in the final stages of their buying cycle from Fortune 500 companies to SMB’s.

Workforce Planning

One of the most significant changes to businesses during COVID-19 has been  the large-scale work-from-home policies that almost all companies implemented. While some businesses may have partially or fully practiced this for a few years already, it has never in the history of the world been at this level. 

As many business owners are eager to get their staff back in the office, they may find that a majority of their team members have enjoyed their newfound freedom of working from home with zero commute time and no travel costs.

Some companies have already announced that they will be completely work-from-home going forward. Some employees may switch companies to find a more flexible employer if pressure to show up in the office five days a week is too high. 

Chances are that the remote work trend that was accelerated by COVID-19 will not fade away. There will be other trends that will continue to shape work-from-home habits such as:

  • Virtual reality technology
  • Video and collaboration technology (Teams, Slack, Zoom, etc.)
  • Longer commute times due to re-emerging traffic congestion
  • Hassle of all the new “cleanliness rules” when coming into the office
  • Real estate prices driving workers to live further away from work  
  • Commercial real estate prices and parking rates
  • Security concerns as home internet often is less secure than being in office 

If work-from-home is becoming the new normal for many organizations, a number of new questions arise including: 

  • How do companies assure that their team members are as- or more efficient as they were when working at the office? 
  • How do managers operate when they rarely ever meet their team members other than virtually on video calls?

Let’s take a closer look at both of these important items.

Efficient Workforce Planning Strategies and KPIs

Increasingly, executives are doubling down on two-way transparency. In other ways, the sharing of how you are doing as a company and how each team member is performing against agreed upon goals. In order for this to work, employ performance-based compensation plans and processes. 

Next, tools must be implemented to track metrics and provide reports. Imagine dashboards and scorecards with personal KPIs  and traffic lights. This is the recommended approach according to many management gurus.  Use top down sharing of strategies and goals that support the KPIs, broken down from company to department to individuals. Then, as results come in, bottom-up sharing of how team members as well as departments performed versus goals. 

Specifically, with likely strong growth in work-from-home trends, executives are already pondering how to ensure that employees are engaged, efficient and goal driven as they conduct their work from their bedroom or living room. With limited oversight and old-school micromanagement quickly fading, personal KPIs for work are rapidly growing in popularity. However, setting the best possible goals for employee KPIs can be a bit of science in itself.

Often attributed to the management guru, Peter Drucker, and first used by George T. Doran in 1981, the acronym, SMART, is used to guide goal setting.  Here is an overview of SMART goals: 

  • Specific – simple, sensible, significant
  • Measurable – meaningful, motivating
  • Achievable – agreed, attainable
  • Relevant – reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based

In the years ahead, organizations both in public and private sector, will increasingly explore and try out individual KPIs, and those that are most successful with it are better equipped to build thriving organizations that are “future proof”. 

Key Elements of Remote Workforce Planning 

Managing and growing employees successfully has always been an area that can put a company ahead of its competitors. Companies spend money on benefits, training, education, and compensation plans to improve their staff. However, organizations promote from within, without experience, and do not train the new managers. This was a failing process and the future will require better managers with a higher percentage of employees working from home.

Define Job Descriptions 

The starting point is the most important. For each position, a manager needs a job description with the six to eight main responsibilities of the role along with the KPIs that will be set each year. Define what makes a successful candidate and a candidate that would fail in the role. Each employee receives this document from the manager and then the manager reviews it in a meeting to ensure both understand the expectations.

There are many ways of coming up with the main roles and responsibilities of the position. Interview people currently in the role, research online, talk to the HR department, and discuss with other managers. Keep the list of responsibilities concise, but include details. The more details around each role will enable the employee to understand the role and improve their chances of success.

Pinpoint the KPIs that will Define the Role.

The manager should explain how he/she will measure each KPI in the role and what is a success or a failure. Describe where the data comes from and how the KPI is calculated. Then sit with the employee and document what the goals for each KPI by a specific period will be. Ensure that the employee is onboard and agrees that they can achieve their goals. If numbers are set that they do not believe in, then you may lose the employee early on in the process.

Review and Finalize the KPIs 

Historically, managers would have an annual review that tried to encapsulate what happened over the year, but typically only highlighted the last few months as that is all that most remember. In a year like 2020, it becomes even more difficult with the rapid shift to remote work. 

Start now – meet with the employee monthly, show the KPI goal, the results to date, and a variance. Include a traffic light on each KPI to show whether the employee is succeeding (green), failing (red), or in the middle (yellow). For all yellow and red items document action items that the employee needs to do to improve upon those that are below the goal. 

Now, when you meet, the manager simply reviews the numbers and the prior action items. Many of the work from home efficiency concerns go away and it is all about productivity.  Below is an example of a simple scorecard for a manager to review with a consultant that includes actual data, the goal, variance with traffic lights, and goals for the next four quarters.

Screen Shot 2020-06-03 at 1.03.39 PM

By doing this across the board, the culture changes to become a highly productive workforce. Good employees want to work with other good employees. This culture helps build a profitable company with high growth. Terminate the employees that regularly do not meet their goals, but in a way that is clear from day one. 

 

Benefits of Automated Workforce Planning Software and KPI Management

Whether your KPIs and workforce planning requirements are simple enough to be handled in Excel or currently using a modern planning and budgeting tool, now may be a good time to think about ways to combine budgeting, workforce planning, reporting and KPI management into a single solution. 

So, whether caused by an unfortunate virus outbreak or technology trends affecting your industry, having effective workforce planning tools and plans to be ready for a reforecast is always going to reduce stress and blood pressure for the organization’s management team. 

financial planning

Precise financial planning is an integral part of every business’s success. It also takes a substantial amount of time and energy from the business’s financial department, especially if the business is dealing with a volatile market. To meet the need for accurate and consistent budgeting, forecasting and financial analysis, large companies have formed specific financial planning and analysis (FP&A) branches within their organizations to help them plan for the future.

FP&A professionals help companies tighten their financial processes and make more informed decisions regarding business operations and financial goals. Keep reading to learn more about the FP&A process and its benefits — and how Solver can help streamline this process for companies across industries.

What Is FP&A? Overview: The FP&A Process

FP&A can be thought of as a process involving three basic steps: budgeting, forecasting and analyzing a company’s financial reports.

Within a company’s finance department, FP&A professionals provide financial reports as well as insight into that company’s financial decision-making processes. In general, FP&A professionals work closely with a company’s leadership to provide data-driven support in major financial decisions.

Unlike accountants and financial analysts, FP&A professionals analyze financial data, identify patterns and trends in their companies’ financial processes and recommend strategies to improve their companies’ financial and operational success. The role of an FP&A is multifaceted, but the purpose of this position ultimately lies within helping companies make better financial decisions.

The general FP&A process contains these basic steps:

  • Analyzing the organization’s current financial situation
  • Defining financial goals based on this data
  • Considering variables and identifying different courses of action
  • Creating a financial action plan with potential alternatives in mind
  • Revising and re-evaluating the action plan with an organization’s leadership as needed

Precise FP&A steps can vary depending on the size of an organization, its industry and any enterprise resource planning (ERP) or other software it has in place. However, the general budgeting, forecasting and analysis steps remain the same across FP&A roles.

Advice From Professionals: Improving Your FP&A Process

The FP&A process can get complex as an organization grows and takes on more financial responsibility. Oftentimes, an unpredictable economy can force an organization’s financial department to get creative when it comes to planning and resource management. This is when FP&A professionals are needed more than ever.

To make the most of your FP&A process flow, take a look at the following FP&A expert tips:

Define the Financial Planning and Analysis Process for Your Company

Every company is unique. As a result, every FP&A process is going to vary slightly from the next. In order to get the most out of your FP&A process, you need to determine what FP&A means for your organization.

To most companies, FP&A refers to the sum of all annual budgeting and monthly financial reporting processes. However, FP&A can also include quarterly re-forecasting, weekly sales reporting and other financial operations.

Determine what your FP&A processes need to look like in order to meet your organization’s short-term and long-term financial goals. Remember that your FP&A process needs to handle both financial and non-financial data from every level of your organization.

Designate a Specific FP&A Department Within Your Company

While handling FP&A processes comes with the territory of finance departments in general, FP&A has emerged as a rather specialized job.

It’s best to have a sector of your finance department dedicated specifically to FP&A processes, where you can benefit from the financial insights of experts who not only know your company but are also experienced in evaluating your company’s financial data holistically and with a vision for future growth.

Having a sector of your finance department dedicated to analyzing how your business is spending money and generating revenue will put your business on track to reach its financial goals.

Get the Full Story Behind Your Numbers

The ultimate goal of FP&A is to help you understand the “why” behind the numbers on your financial reports. FP&A professionals not only gather the company’s financial and operational data, but they also analyze it to determine patterns and correlations between the data and their organization’s financial practices. This helps business leaders spot problematic trends and develop a plan of action to improve their organization’s financial practices.

FP&A professionals help organizations learn from past data so they can improve upon their financial habits and processes. FP&A helps stakeholders understand why the numbers are what they are — and how to achieve better outcomes.

Prioritize Learning

FP&A processes will inevitably highlight opportunities for organizational improvement. When such areas are identified, companies should harness these moments and learn from them. Not every financial decision is perfect, but when an organization can acknowledge where it may be lacking and immediately get to work on finding solutions, it sets itself up for long-term success.

To make the most of FP&A processes, company leaders must embrace the financial data as they see it and prioritize learning from the insights of the FP&A professionals on their team.

Stay Future-Focused

Overall, the FP&A process is a future-focused endeavor. With so many variables such as the market, supply chains, changing internal operations and much more, company leaders can easily get lost in the details of present-day data.

However, good FP&A practices turn the company’s focus toward future growth with cutting-edge budgeting and forecasting models that take a holistic approach to the company’s growth trajectory.

Implement FP&A Software to Improve Processes

One of the best things you can do for your company’s FP&A processes is to implement the right corporate performance management (CPM) software for your FP&A budgeting process needs. At Solver, we offer innovative CPM solutions that can be tailored to the budgeting, forecasting and reporting processes of your company.

With Solver CPM software, you can keep all of your financial data in one place and put together comprehensive reports, perform advanced analyses and more.

Contact Solver to Optimize Your FP&A Processes Today

With CPM software from Solver, financial reporting and analysis has never been easier. Contact us to speak with an expert on how you can optimize your FP&A process flow with our globally popular software solutions. Submit an inquiry or request a product demo today!

 

financial planning analysis blog

The rapid growth of Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Business Central (D365 BC) cloud ERP system comes with investments in add-on app solutions by independent software vendors (ISVs)For example, Progressus is a company as described above and has a project solution for D365 BC. With Progressus, small and mid-sized companies receive easy-to-configure and advanced project accounting functionality in the cloud. 

However, as all project-centric business managers know, good transactional systems also need proper financial planning and analysis tools. In today’s highly competitive market, this can be the difference between success and failure.  As successful project-based companies invest in new cloud-based ERP systems like D365 BC and add advanced project apps like Progressus, a natural next step after the implementation is to look for an integrated and flexible reporting and planning solutionA reporting and planning software like Solver can operate down to the detailed field and dimension level in the Progressus tables inside the ERP system.  

Project Reports for D365 and the Progressus App

Lately, most companies prefer pre-integrated solutions. Due to this, Solver partnered with Progressus and now the corporate performance management solution delivers an out-of-the box integration to both Dynamics 365 Business Central and Progressus. Solver not only provides D365 BC customers with a strong financial reporting and budgeting software for general ledger and sub-ledger data, but it also now extends this functionality into all the project detail provided by Progressus. 

Customer Benefits:

  • Pre-built integration to Dynamics 365 and Progressus tables
  • Pre-built Progressus Project reports
  • Full report writer with Excel design
  • Optional Budgeting module
  • Multi-tenant Azure Cloud Platform
  • Pre-built Power BI integration for interactive Dashboards

However, as with any reporting solution, pre-built report templates speed up deployment when can be used as a starting point. 

Solver offers a number of project-focused reports for Progressus including:  

  • Benchmarking
  • Project Manager Benchmarking
  • Project Capacity by
    • Customer Group and Resource
    • Department and Resource
    • Customer Group and Resource
  • Project Detail by Customer
  • Project List
  • Resource Detail
  • Actual vs Budget Variance

 

project capacity

project 2

Both solutions are independently integrated to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. After the partnership between the two companies, they decided to configure a joint integration. With the rapid growth in popularity of cloud ERP software like D365 BC, one of the next big cloud drivers is that ISVs, such as Progressus and Solver, work together to give customers elegant integrations across both standard ERP data as well as transactions originating from ISV add-ins to the ERP systems. This eliminates many of the custom integrations that are configured in the old on-premise platforms.

Technology is driving major industry changes into the next decade. Project managers and executives will need and demand complete insight to their data to drive faster and better decisions. Cloud-based ERP vendors and ISVs are making good strides to make this happen!

LOS ANGELES, CA. – January 28, 2020 – Solver, ranked by G2 as one of the highest rated companies in cloud-based Corporate Performance Management (CPM) for customer satisfaction, today announced a more than 100%  year-over-year increase in cloud subscriptions.  Solver attributes this growth to cloud platform maturity, continually enhanced functionality and ease of use.  In 2020, Solver expects continued rapid cloud subscription growth with the launch of its new simplified branding, unifying its product and company name, in addition to advancements in its cloud platform and expansion into new markets with growth  of its global teams.  With a rapidly increasing number of cloud-based users, Solver is now able to provide the latest cloud updates and features to all of its cloud customers automatically on a monthly basis.

As Solver matured its cloud platform over the past few years, it is now rich in functionality and well received among its reselling Partners.  Solver is now focused on delivering even more innovative solutions to its users. From rapid deployment of robust data source connectors and process optimization for reporting and planning, to an expanded local presence in new international markets.

“We are thrilled with Solver’s rapid cloud growth and the adoption in our partner channel” says Nils Rasmussen, CEO at Solver. He continues; “We are deeply focused on the next level of innovation to help our customers grow by enabling them with faster and better decisions.”

Overall, Solver’s growth in cloud subscriptions marks its success in meeting users’ needs and offers its Partners a bright outlook for the decade ahead.

 

About Solver

With a quickly growing community of thousands of global customers and hundreds of partners worldwide, Solver provides the leading cloud Corporate Performance Management suite for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations and Business Central, Acumatica, SAP Business One, SAP ByDesign, Sage Intacct, Sage 100, Sage 300, Sage 500, Sage X3, NetSuite and other ERPs. Solver is ranked in the leader quadrant in the Corporate Performance Management (CPM) Software Grid on G2, and as a Microsoft Gold ISV Partner, Solver has won countless awards, including the Microsoft BI Partner of Year Award, recognition on the Gartner Group CPM Magic Quadrant, and Best Places to Work for a workplace culture that celebrates customer service, integrity, and innovation. Solver is sold through its 12 global offices and a worldwide network of partners. For any questions, visit www.solverglobal.com or contact Solver at info@solverglobal.com.