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Simplifying MS Dynamics ERP

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Keep your head down
My business is running Microsoft Dynamics ERP and works great for running my business from an operational perspective, but I need insight into my business.
My CIO and CFO have employed multiple report writers, but there are just too many tables and fields, the table structures are complex and it will take ages to have a data warehouse in place across finance, sales, debtors, creditors and inventory to have full insights into my business.

I recently did a presentation at the latest Microsoft Dynamics Re-Imagine conference and above are some of the most common challenges many businesses face when they try to move towards a Business Intelligence (BI) solution or gain intelligence into their ERP data.

When we take a look at Microsoft Dynamics as an ERP system, it does what it was designed to do, that being, capturing of information. The tables, fields and structures, are designed in such a way to optimise the input of information and not necessarily the output.

Any ERP, including Dynamics are designed to capture invoices from items sold, manage inventory stock levels, generations of purchase orders, storing of vendor and customer information etc. All of this information are very relational in nature.

The challenge starts if you want to want gaining insights into your system with all of this data and history of data you have been collecting for the last couple of years with millions of transactions.

Trying to report straight out of your ERP will give you reports in a very static format, that are very period focussed on a specific point in time, or a report on a specific customer, vendor or product. Trending over time, also becomes challenging, to compare year-on-year numbers.

Any business evolves over time, which means the requirements in terms of what you measure changes alongside your evolution. So the requirements from six months ago are not the same as the requirements you might have today.
Thinking like a golfer
By just using the reports out of Dynamics ERP tool is very similar to playing golf with just a sand wedge. It works, you will get to the hole 100 meters at a time, it does work for specific problems like getting out of bunkers or playing safe shots out of the rough and you can make shot selections around the range of the club. However, if you need to putt, make that strategic decisions, it is not the most effective club.

Using this analogy, Business Intelligence (BI) can be compared to a full set of golf clubs. It is a collection of processes, technologies, and methodologies. You will use your driver to get distance from the tee box for a good position on the fairway, then use the appropriate iron to approach the green and finally your putter to complete the hole. Now this is a lot more efficient, accurate and easier than just using a sand wedge for every situation.

In the same sense, BI provides tools that allow you to be more effective in making informed decisions.

Similar like Jordan Spieth that recently won the Masters had to differentiate himself from the competition, similar you will have to select the correct club for the desired shot like reporting, dashboards, drill capabilities, dimensional models, predictive analytics, data discovery and many other tools and capabilities that sit outside of the Microsoft Dynamics ERP reports that you are generating every day.

Approach with the right club
To assist with this, you need an agile reporting platform that understands the Microsoft Dynamics table structures, that can be implemented within days and not months or years, that addresses common business areas within your ERP like sales, debtors, creditors, purchasing, finance and inventory aging.

Jet Reports has pre-built solutions for your Microsoft Dynamics ERP. Models for NAV, GP and AX around business specific subject areas that include more than 90 pre-built reports based on the Microsoft technology stack to assist your business on a BI solution with quick time to value. These reports include, Income Statements, Balance Sheets, Trial Balances, Sales and Finance dashboards, Inventory purchasing history, Inventory movement, profit and loss variance, account receivable and payable, market basket analysis, production cost any many more to assist you in gaining insights into your business.