Posts

solver microsoft

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.

pic 1

An increasing number of companies are adding subscriptions as one of the revenue models to their business. Two different examples of this service include:

  • Netflix, which is a 100% subscription-based company focused on B-to-C, or business to consumers.
  • Microsoft, which originated in an era where software sold as one-time licenses, has today become an increasingly subscription-based software provider, with most of their software delivered in a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model using their Azure cloud.

As companies begin to adopt subscription-based revenue models for their customers, accounting departments and finance teams find themselves in a new struggle. Tasks that once were relatively easy in a world of “one and done” sales deals, like invoicing, reporting and analysis, and budgeting for various types of subscription contracts can now be quite complex and time consuming. On top of that, companies now have to deal with monthly, annual and multi-year subscriptions. Other challenges center around existing customers and adding to or removing from their contracts, as well as, customer churn (cancelled subscriptions), and other complexities.

However, today’s customers using Microsoft’s two cloud accounting systems, Dynamics 365 Finance and Dynamics 365 Business Central are in luck. A Canadian software vendor by the name of Binary Stream has developed an add-in module called “Subscription Billing Management” (SBM), which in short allows accountants to elegantly manage their subscription contracts right within their Dynamics ERP system.

So, What About the Reporting, Budgeting and Forecasting for Subscription Data?

In collaboration with Binary Stream, the U.S.-based company, Solver, has expanded its Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Dynamics 365 Business Central integrations to include key information from Binary Stream’s Subscription Billing Management app.

Solver is a modern Microsoft Azure-based, multi-tenant cloud solution that automates and streamlines reporting and planning processes. It is often referred to as a Corporate Performance Management (CPM) solution.

With Solver integrated to the Dynamics ERPs, as well as the Binary Stream app, customers benefit from financial and operational reporting that includes their subscription data, all in one single cloud portal. Furthermore, they can use Binary Stream SBM’s subscription data as a basis for single and multi-year revenue forecasts.

What are Examples of Subscription Reports and Budgets?  

The following are examples of specific reports and budget input forms created in Solver and based on actual subscription data flowing in from the integration available through Binary Stream’s SMB for Microsoft Dynamics app.

This first example shows a multi-year forecast going up to 10 years into the future. Based on the drivers seen in the yellow cells in the top left corner, the user can quickly generate monthly and annual subscription revenue forecasts.

Multi-year subscription revenue and churn budgeting and forecasting with monthly detail

Multi-year subscription revenue and churn budgeting and forecasting with monthly detail

When it comes to reporting, a flexible report writer like the one in Solver, can provide a multitude of report types to slice and dice subscription related data by metric, customer, and product.

The report below shows monthly recurring revenue (MRR) with metrics for new sales, upgrades/downgrades and churn. It also shows the monthly trend for the ending MRR.

Dashboard analysis of subscription metrics like MRR and Churn

Dashboard analysis of subscription metrics like MRR and Churn

The report below shows a chart and data on an eight-quarter rolling basis. This makes it easy for users to analyze subscription revenue over multiple years. Any individual quarterly column can be expanded to display detail for the three underlying months.

Eight quarter rolling subscription revenue report with monthly detail

Eight quarter rolling subscription revenue report with monthly detail

The Scheduled Billing report example seen below can be run for any given period. It helps accountants see the specific payment status per invoice per customer, including total, balance, deferred and recognized amounts.

Scheduled billing report showing recognized and deferred revenue per customer

Scheduled billing report showing recognized and deferred revenue per customer

Sometimes the finance team needs to analyze deferred revenue by customer. The example below shows deferrals by month for the remainder of the current year and then displays the summary for the next three years into the future.

Multi-year deferred revenue by customer report for the next three years

Multi-year deferred revenue by customer report for the next three years

In conclusion, as a company with a subscription-driven business model, you have a solid cloud-based accounting system with Microsoft Dynamics Finance or Dynamics Business Central. When adding Binary Stream’s app for Subscription Billing Management, you get a specialty add-in that is completely focused on helping you manage your subscriptions. By connecting Solver’s cloud-based reporting and planning solution, you now have a best-in-class suite to not only help with day-to-day accounting and analysis, but can also keep a keen eye on the future with world-class budgeting and forecasting functionality.