A Powerful New Way to Work With Your Dynamics ERP Data

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Jumpstart Your Journey to Better Insights with Power BI


By now most companies have invested in integrated ERP applications, but what they don’t have is the analytical power to take advantage of the huge volume of ERP data that is being generated by these applications.


Turning data into a business advantage will be a key driver of success in the increasingly competitive landscape we see emerging across every industry.


“By 2015, organizations that build a modern information management system will outperform their peers financially by 20 percent.”

– Gartner, Mark Beyer, “Information Management in the 21st Century”


Users across your organization are looking for dashboards to give them insight into their business but they don’t want to have to rely on IT to access these reports. However, most business decision makers don’t want the burden of maintaining data offline in Excel spreadsheets where it tends to become siloed and outdated very quickly. Printing paper reports is a headache and usually requires re-printing, as last-minute updates are inevitable.


Very few mid-sized companies have the expertise and the tools to analyze their data avalanche as effectively as big companies. For example, Google and Amazon are constantly analyzing data and are using this data to market more efficiently to their users. The processing power required for this type of analytics is not affordable in an on-premise server environment. This advanced analytics capability only becomes affordable by leveraging the shared computing resources of the cloud.


The cloud enables Power BI - the data visualization solution from Microsoft.  


Power BI is a powerful self-service BI solution delivered through Excel and Office 365 that provides data discovery, analysis, and visualization capabilities to identify deeper business insights from data in Microsoft Excel. The Power BI service is a cloud-based solution that enables collaboration and reduces the barriers to deploying a BI environment for sharing reports and accessing information.*


Power BI is an affordable, easy-to-use new entrant into the business intelligence market. While many companies are either using Excel or an expensive alternative like Tableau or Domo, Power BI is a cost-effective option that is already fully integrated with Excel. This integration is key for adoption as the tools simply become an extension within the Excel application that users are familiar with. Implementing Power BI within an organization allows for the connection to multiple data sources, including both on-premise and cloud data as well as unstructured data that may be saved in an Excel spreadsheet.


Microsoft was positioned in Gartner’s Leaders quadrant again in February 2017, with continued strong uptake of Power BI, and a visionary product road map that includes new industry capabilities. Gartner’s report highlights cost, ease of use, vision, and active community as the core strengths of Power BI.


Not all solutions are the same.



Dynamics ERP clients have a head start with Power BI.

“Our customers get immediate value from their Power BI investment from the out-of-the-box integration with Dynamics applications,” says Greg Williams, Western Computers’ Dynamics Practice Manager. “While Power BI works with any ERP system, Microsoft delivers an integrated solution with pre-built content packages for the Dynamics products. With any other ERP application, the customer is required to start from scratch.”


Power BI includes pre-built dashboards that help Western Computers’ clients easily discover new data because of how easy it is to filter the data. Also, the accessibility of the data from any mobile device or  browser, is a key requirement for most organizations. For example, during a meeting with a supplier, you can pull up a vendor performance dashboard giving you a real-time view of their performance. Or, a list of current purchase orders highlighting those that were delivered on-time as well as a summary of their on-time delivery percentage gives additional insight into the business.


Data needs to drive action.


With the ability to create alerts and workflows, Power BI gives organizations the ability to “action” the data. For example, let’s consider the on-time shipping performance we mentioned earlier. Let’s assume the organization will accept no more than 2% of shipments being delayed. As soon as this threshold is met, Power BI will automatically send an email and create a workflow to act on the data. For Dynamics customers, transactions can automatically be created directly in Dynamics, requiring no manual data entry and ensuring that the relevant business processes are being followed.


A powerful new way to work with data


  • Excel is the most commonly used analytical tool for business users. The accessibility of Excel and proliferation of Office 365 lowers the barrier of entry for businesses who want to take advantage of the benefits of business intelligence by putting the right analytics tools in everyone’s hands with no friction.*


  • Ease of deployment through Office 365. Power BI dramatically simplifies and reduces the time it takes for IT to setup and manage the complex infrastructure needed for an enterprise-wide BI platform. Power BI enables businesses to balance between the needs of business users working in Excel and an IT department’s requirements for agility, data protection, and data governance. IT can also provide business users with the ability to search and access IT-sanctioned corporate data sources both on-premises and in the cloud while monitoring query usage against this data.*


In summary, implementing Power BI within your organization will enable the following:


  • Discover. Access to the right data, at the right time, by the right decision maker is key to ensure business agility.
  • Analyze. Stay on top of the critical factors that drive business success.
  • Visualize. A picture speaks a thousand words. Spot trends and anomalies to act quickly.
  • Share. Business insight is easily shared across the organization.
  • Question. Business decision-makers will have the tools to question the business results and respond accordingly.
  • Employees can access the data from locations outside of the organization.


In an upcoming, we will explore these benefits in more detail and share best practices to help you get started with Power BI.


For more information on getting started with Power BI, don’t hesitate to contact our team of Microsoft Dynamics and Power BI experts at Western Computer.




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