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This article will focus on how what you should be looking for in the Best Performance Management Tools for Credit Unions.  
 
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What is Corporate Performance Management?  According to the Harvard Business School, performance measurement focuses on four main areas:

  • Communicate with external investors to ensure that a firms’ securities are fairly priced and that they are able to access capital
  • Measure and Evaluate a firms’ economic performance
  • Improve resource allocation and strategy implementation within a firm
  • Build Accountability for performance through effective external and internal governance

The emphasis of this article will be on improving resource allocation and strategy implementation, specifically for Credit Unions.  Though Credit Unions have evolved over time, their basic function is to take in deposits and reinvest those funds back into the community in the form of loans for such things as houses, cars, education, and infrastructure. Read more

Have you ever started a new job in an industry you have no experience in? Learning the industry jargon can be overwhelming. I can personally attest to this because prior to working in the

Business Intelligence (BI) and Corporate Performance Management (CPM) worlds, I was in the food, public relations, and entertainment industries, and did not have much experience in BI or CPM. If you have recently been exposed to BI tools, such as report writers, budgeting and planning solutions, dashboards, data warehouses (DWs) and you feel like a deer in headlights, there is no need to panic. In this article, we will discuss ten acronyms in the BI/CPM realm that will help you understand and enhance your experience with BI and CPM processes.

Here are the top 8 business intelligence acronyms that may be resourceful when dealing with BI & CPM solutions

1. Extraction, Transformation, and Loading (ETL)

ETL represents three database functions that are combined into one tool to extract data from one data source. The ETL process is the practice of extracting data from data sources and transferring it into the DW. ETL isn’t necessarily three defined steps, but rather a broad process.

2. Data Warehouse (DW)

Informatica defines a DW as an acronym for data warehouse meaning, “technology that aggregates structured data from one or more sources so that it can be compared and analyzed for greater business intelligence.” The term “Data Warehouse” was coined by William H. Inmon, an American computer scientist. This is an analyst’s dream because all the metrics about the organization’s activities are gathered in one place. You can find out more about the details of a successful data warehouse here.

3. Relational Database Management System (RDBMS)

A RDBMS is a program that enables users to administer, create and update a relational database. Commercial RDBMS typically use the Structured Query Language (SQL) to access the database. A relational database is described as “a set of tables containing data fitted into predefined categories” by TechTarget.

4. Online Analytical Processing (OLAP)

OLAP, also known as “OLAP cube,” performs multidimensional analysis of data and offers the ability for complex calculations, advanced data modeling, and trend analysis.

5. Key Performance Indicator (KPI)

A KPI is a lot like a GPS navigation system as it allows the driver to be in complete control when making decisions about where to steer next. KPIs are navigational tools that your company will utilize to understand whether the business is on a successful route or whether it’s veering off. According to Klipfolio, a KPI is “a measureable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives.” You can learn more about KPIs and KPI strategies in detail in the following articles: 10 Steps to Successful KPI and Metric Design Using Dynamics GP, Part 1 and 10 Steps to Successful KPI and Metric Design Using Dynamics GP, Part 2. Keep in mind that there are vertical specific KPIs; therefore, do some research.

6. User Interface (UI)

In the IT world, UI is designed into a device within which a user can interact. This includes keyboards, display screens, a mouse, and a desktop. It can also include how a user interacts with the application or the website. Companies’ dependence on applications has led organizations to prioritize improving the user’s overall experience, also known as UX.

7. SQL Server

Microsoft SQL Server is a relational database management system that was developed by Microsoft.

  • SQL Management Studio (SSMS) – SSMS is an integrated environment used to administer a SQL Server Infrastructure. If you’re not familiar with a SQL Server, it is a relational database management software developed by Microsoft.
  • SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) – SSIS is used to execute a wide range of data migration tasks.
  • SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) – SSRS is also part of the SQL Server services. It is a server-based report generating system that stores metadata and object definitions. You can learn more about the SQL Server on the Microsoft site.

8. Amazon Web Services (AWS)

AWS is a subsidiary of Amazon, and offers cloud computing platforms. AWS is also the competing platform against Microsoft Azure, formerly known as Windows Azure. Companies will be more exposed to AWS and Microsoft Azure as the cloud gets bigger. Cloud Computing platforms provide an easy way to access storage, servers, databases, and applications. It also provides quick access to flexible and low-cost resources.

If you are in the BI/CPM space, you may have seen the terms above used widely. For those who are new to the industry, I hope defining and laying out these terms give you a better understanding of the BI/CPM industry as well as the industry jargon. We’re happy to answer questions and generally review Solver’s web-powered, easy-to-use Excel and mobile BI tools with both real-time or data warehouse integrated analysis, budgeting and collaboration as a way to accelerate your company performance management experience.

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. 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.

This article will focus on the Cloud-Based Enterprise Reporting for Banks.
BNKBenchmarkDashboardWhat is Enterprise Reporting?  In the past, Business Intelligence (BI) was limited to the office of Finance and typically with a key focus on Financial, Planning & Analysis (FP&A).  With the advent of Enterprise Reporting, BI is now being extending beyond the scope of IT staff, business analysts, and power users.  Enterprise reporting is enabling anyone who impacts the bank – city executives, branch managers, loan & deposit analysts, and customer-facing staff – to have immediate access to the vital information they need to most productively perform their jobs. Read more


This article will focus on Easy Cloud-based Reporting for Banks.

Have you ever wondered why Do It Yourself (DIY) shows are so popular? According to a Country Living article, “There’s a before, during and after in one TV show—so, you basically get to the happy ending very quickly.”  In other words, your renovations might take weeks or months (or, God forbid, years), while Chip and Joanna’s Gaines home makeover requires less than an hour of your time. And in the end it looks perfect, unlike what you may have experienced.
What is wonderful about these shows is that they take homes that are a total wreck and transform them into beautiful showcases where we wish we could live in them.  In almost all cases, the projects are within budget, finish on time, and result in a very happy customer.
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This article will focus on Cloud-based Business Intelligence Solutions for Banking.

 
bank dashboardWhy do I love my iPod Classic? – I got my 80GB iPod Classic around 2007.  I was able to load all 14,000 songs from my library onto it.  I created several playlists that helped me organize the songs.  One playlist consisted of heavy metal that got me amped up before going to the gym.  Another playlist contained acoustic folk songs that were for the morning after a late night of fun. Read more

This article will focus on the demand for convergence of Business Intelligence and Corporate Performance Management tools and why this benefits mid-market companies.

Image taken from Gartner.

The latest release of the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence strengthened my conviction that the market will see consolidation between the Business Intelligence/Visualization (BI) and Corporate Performance Management (CPM) vendors. Gartner classifies them in separate quadrants because the respective tools are evaluated differently during the sales process. Furthermore, BI tools usually sell into marketing and sales teams while CPM targets finance and accounting professionals. Consequently, there has been limited Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) in the space. Note that this article assumes readers are familiar with the basic definitions to focus on a narrative explaining the demand for their convergence.
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Visualization 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 bodybuilder 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.

What are Dashboards for Real Estate?

Dashboards are defined as charts, graphs, and scorecards that convey data trends, successes, and problem areas with key performance indicators (KPIs), whether you are looking at a product, location, a corporate department in particular, or the entire company. Real estate companies can benefit tremendously. For instance, there are dashboards that allow agents and brokers to have complete control over how their listings are performing and dashboards that show an overview of the real estate projects that contribute the most to the organization’s revenues.

Dashboards can integrate your organizational data from multiple sources so that you’re able to see what the big picture will look like without having to access your library of applications and systems. If you’re looking for simple, but real-time analytics for your data, you can rely on the built-in dashboard functionality within your Dynamics GP system. Dashboards exist to make sense of your data in one snapshot in a customized format that enables the end-user to view any metric he/she wants.

Benefits of Real Estate Dashboards

With a dashboard solution, real estate companies can see their information organized into one location using visuals that improve operational efficiency by making more informed business decisions in a short amount of time.

Historical data can be produced to identify successes and challenges from the past. Also, real-time data can be used to forecast the power of current business decisions based on future organizational goals. Since company information is reported in real-time, any potential challenges can be identified and corrected to resolve problem issues quickly.

Additionally, it is common to have multiple, easy-to-read dashboards, as opposed to having one dashboard and packing information and visuals into it. This will allow your end-users to know exactly the information they find on each dashboard. For instance, a real estate benchmarking dashboard shows how you can compare the sales performance of your own company against the industry and a competitor, and a chief operating officer (COO) dashboard gives COOs access to a single view about the revenue-generating units (RGUs).

The right dashboard will transform the success in running a real estate company by identifying relevant information from your sources, predicting results early on, eliminating any inaccurate data, and enhancing decision-making for your company. Your company can track information over specific periods of time, monitor current company performance, and summarize important company data by using aesthetically-pleasing visuals such as graphs, charts, and other features. More companies are investing in commercial dashboard tools, but they are facing problems like information overload. If there is too much information or if there are too many visuals, your dashboard will not be easily readable.

How to Choose the Right Technology Platform for Your Real Estate Dashboard

There are several technology platforms to consider when looking to invest in a dashboard. Software that have Excel add-ins may be the easiest choice to implement due to how familiar the spreadsheet program and its functionalities and features are for people who already are familiar with Excel. Dashboards can be produced in the Excel spreadsheet, but interactive visuals are important to executives. An increasing number of real estate companies are looking for web-based tools, including browser-based dashboard solutions, both on-premises and/or in the cloud. Web-based solutions provide access from anywhere you have internet access. There are also mobile dashboard applications for real estate agents who are usually on-the-go and moving from space to space. There are a few independent software vendors (ISVs) creating mobile dashboards, with screen size limited to one KPI or visual each time. There are some dashboard software offerings that join Excel, mobile, and web types of data access.

If you’re on the management team for a real estate company, you will be able to monitor the top 10 projects based on sales, the budget, and the actual sales trend for each project, numbers of units added to inventory, number of available properties per month for a specific project, and many more. Dashboards enable your company to be aware and stay competitive with accessible and business user-friendly analytics. It will be important to come up with specific BI goals and compare with modern dashboard solutions, so you can invest in the best tool for your team. Modern dashboard tools offer powerful and easy-to-use features and functionalities to access, interpret, and understand company data for better decision-making.

Choose Solver for Easy to Use Dashboards

At Solver, we would be happy to answer questions and generally review our Solver Suite’s Excel, web and/or mobile-based, easy-to-use dashboards module (stand-alone and component) in the comprehensive suite of BI modules for collaborative, streamlined decision-making capabilities for real estate organizations using Microsoft Dynamics GP.

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.

This article is the second part in planning for a KPI design project.

KPI1A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a lot like a GPS navigation system. A GPS navigation device allows a driver or a passenger to be in charge when making decisions about where to steer next. KPIs are the navigational tools that the team will use to understand whether the business is on a successful journey or whether it’s veering off. As mentioned in the previous article, a KPI can help your company understand if your company is on the right track and if it’s not, it can help your company understand where to focus your attention. According to Klipfolio, a KPI is “a measureable value that demonstrates how effectively a company is achieving key business objectives.” Organizations use KPIs at many levels to assess their success at reaching targets. High-level KPIs focus on the overall performance of the organization whereas low-level KPIs zoom in on processes in departments. In this article, I will cover the last 5 steps in planning for a successful KPI design project for Microsoft Dynamics GP users based on the “Designing Metrics and Key Performance Indicators chapter” of Business Dashboards, a book published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Read more

This article is the first part in planning for a KPI design project.

KPI1A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) can help your company understand if your company is on the right track, and if it is not, it can help your company understand where to focus your attention. Love them or hate them, but KPIs might become the backbone of your business. A true definition of a KPI is a metric that is meant to be a measure that truly matters and that ideally can be acted on. KPIs are financial and non-financial metrics used to help a company define and measure their progress toward company goals. A metric can be the number of customers, the number of sales, or total revenue. Once you have defined your business goals, identifying and aligning the KPIs for your business will be easier and simpler. In this article, I will cover the first 5 steps in planning for a successful KPI design project for GP users based on the Designing Metrics and Key Performance Indicators chapter of the Business Dashboards published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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This article focuses on using dashboards in monthly financial presentations for stronger decision-making.

Image taken from Shutterstock.

Image taken from Shutterstock.


Graphics are everywhere. They are literally everywhere we go, filling our kitchen pantries and even the clothes we wear. Red Crow Marketing Inc. mentions that “digital marketing experts estimate that most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements each day.” If we’re drawn to visuals, doesn’t it make sense to apply visuals to your financial reports and presentations? Think about receiving multiple pages of spreadsheets full of data. Is this how you best extract your financial analysis at the end of every month? This is where a dashboard comes in handy. Dashboards are defined as charts, graphs, and scorecards that convey data trends, successes, and problem areas with key performance indicators (KPIs), whether you are looking at a store, region, product, and a corporate department in particular, or the entire organization. A dashboard presents key data from various financial and operational sources on a single page, and uses graphs and tables to summarize a large amount of data. In this article, Solver Controller Gina Louie will talk about her experiences in presenting month-end financial presentations to the management team.
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