When it comes to reporting out of Dynamics GP, there is a veritable smorgasbord of options available to you, the end user. Although it may be tempting to opt to use Microsoft’s Management Reporter 2012 as it comes bundled with your GP license, Management Reporter may not be the best option depending on your or your organization’s individual needs.
FMT Consultants implements and supports a variety of third-party report writer tools for Dynamics GP reporting, and here are 5 reasons why you should consider Solver’s BI360.
1. Excel-Based User Interface
Most people in the ERP space are familiar with Excel. In fact, for many users, report writing tools only exist to export data out of Dynamics GP into Excel so that it can be further manipulated into final reports. So why not build your reports in Excel to begin with? Enter BI360.
BI360 is an Excel add-in that allows the end user to build reports by simply dragging and dropping fields from a list of available fields onto an Excel worksheet. The report uses a combination of fields and filters to pull data straight from the Dynamics GP databases or through an intermediary called a data warehouse. The report format is immediately apparent, unlike the Management Reporter interface which does not allow the user to easily see what the report will look like until the report is generated.
The obvious advantage of using an Excel-based report writer is that all of your prior experience and skills with Excel are immediately applicable in the construction of Dynamics GP data driven reports. BI360 allows for the use of all Excel formulas and functions, with a few smart functions of their own.
2. Sub-Ledger Reporting
If you have ever tried to build anything other than a basic Profit and Loss or Balance Sheet in Management Reporter, you have probably run into an issue where you could not get the desired sub-ledger data to display. This is because Management Reporter only looks at General Ledger tables.
BI360, however, has live integrations to all Dynamics GP modules natively. This means that you are no longer limited to the Originating Master fields on the GL table, but instead you are free to build reports using any data that you have stored anywhere in Dynamics GP.
With the ability to report from other modules in Dynamics GP, your report writer tool does not have to be limited to just creating financial reports. Instead, BI360 can be leveraged by users in all levels of your organization, allowing them to see all of the information they need to make decisions and forecasts.
3. BI360 Budgeting
The native functionality of Dynamics GP budgeting is fairly simplistic and not designed for departmental budget inputs. Furthermore, Management Reporter does not include any budget input functionality, so companies frequently export their budget forms into Excel for their budget managers and then import the department budget numbers back into Dynamics GP from Excel later on.
With BI360, you have the ability to turn your reports into input forms with minimal work, and then immediately provide the forms to your managers in Excel format. Department managers can then enter their budget numbers directly into the Excel worksheet and upload them to the central budget with the click of a button.
Tired of emailing budgets back and forth? BI360 budgeting functionality removes the need to email budget versions back and forth between managers. Instead, budget users can simply pull up the report moments after the budget numbers are submitted and immediately see the updated results.
4. Reporting From Outside Dynamics GP
One of the biggest reasons why organizations still export ERP data into Excel is to combine the report with data that exists outside of the ERP environment. The ERP data is frequently exported from Management Reporter reports because the Microsoft report writer tool does not include data integrations for products outside of the Dynamics product line. However, with BI360 data warehouse, you can report from any data source as long as you bring the data into the data warehouse module.
This functionality is made possible by integration packages that periodically pull data from all your various data sources. The data warehouse then reorganizes and consolidates your data to make it more relevant to report users. All of this is easily managed through the BI360 data warehouse manager which gives you a simple interface should you need to make any tweaks to your data.
5. Dashboards Accessible By Smartphones and Tables
With ERP reporting, report distribution can be as complicated as report construction. Management Reporter maintains all generated reports in a central repository that can be accessed via links distributable by the report generation process. However, it does not have any native dashboard functionality or secure report access for users out of the office.
On the other hand, BI360 offers a web-based report dashboard complete with graphs and metrics that allows customization for individual users. Users can save frequently run reports and previously run report versions into favorites, or turn report data into metrics that allow them to see the big picture at a glance.
The BI360 web portal also allows budget users to enter their data directly into the web form if that is their preferred method of report consumption. And the BI360 dashboard is accessible on your smartphone or tablet via a free app.
For more information regarding BI360, Management Reporter or Dynamics GP in general, please contact FMT Consultants.
Alvin Liu, Senior Dynamics GP Consultant