It’s the penultimate installment of our blog series ‘Have you outgrown Sage?’ Thanks for coming back or if you’re just joining the series you can find links to the first 3 posts below along with this week’s featured content: ‘Business Insight and Controls are Limited.’
It’s Time to Replace Sage When Business Insight and Controls are Limited
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software manages your financials and operations, but good ERP applications provide you with the insight and control to leverage activities that promote a healthier bottom line. If you can’t see how profitable you are in real time, identify your most profitable products or customers or if you can’t determine what your margins are until the end of each month, then you’re missing the clear insight you need to stay ahead of your competition.
Business Challenge #4: Business Insight and Controls are Limited
As a growing business, you need a 360 degree view of your business and the control to make meaningful decisions that will continue your successful growth. When your ERP solution isn’t working the way you need it to and your team has resorted to spreadsheets and other software programs to handle important data, you open the doors to risk. When your employees are too busy entering redundant data and making manual calculations, this can lead to major mistakes, further delaying data analysis, leaving you with old, inaccurate data that will send you in the wrong direction. You may have volumes of data, but if it’s spread out in disparate software programs and you can’t decipher what that data means, then it’s doing you little to no good at all or worse could be steering you in the wrong direction.
Business solutions from Microsoft offer you a full view of operations from your front office to the production floor to the warehouse but it’s the powerful business intelligence and controls over your data that give Microsoft Dynamics ERP the edge against other ERP products by providing you with the insight you want to improve productivity, profitability, as well as drive growth and all this with a tool that most finance professionals have been using for years – Microsoft Excel.
The difference – and this is where control is crucial – the data you are analyzing resides in your Dynamics ERP application. This means that all the controls you would expect – permissions (i.e. only users with the correct permissions can view that data), audit trails (i.e. a log of who viewed what data and what changes were made) and one version of the truth (i.e. the data in your ERP application is the only data there is) are enforced through the data you are analyzing.
How does this work? Report templates are designed in Excel and these are simply refreshed with real-time data from your Dynamics ERP application.
Why is this better?
- Control – because of the control enforced on your data, all your users have access to the same data and you can be sure that data is accurate
- Analysis capability – with new features such as PowerPivot and PowerView, Microsoft Excel has become one of the best data analysis tools on the market – and it’s free.
PowerPivot turns Excel workbooks into industrial strength analysis. Slick and interactive, these workbooks are straightforward to produce using only standard functionality in Excel, no programming expertise is required.
PowerPivot gives you an extension to the Excel you already know – it still uses PivotTables, it still uses Excel formulas, it just adds a number of important new capabilities to enhance your analysis (e.g. it allows you to add any formula to a pivot). In addition, PowerPivot can handle massive volumes of data that Excel traditionally couldn’t.
PowerView is another free add in for Excel which makes it very easy to create pretty interactive reports that explores your data visually. For years, Excel has had charting and visualization capabilities that allow you to present dry data colourfully. PowerView extends this capability with automatic cross filtering of visualisations, new visualisations like “play” axis, maps and cards, a free form canvas that doesn’t have the restriction of gridlines, unique filtering options (e.g. sliders) and support for images.
With Dynamics ERP, you can analyze budgets, compare estimated and actual project costs, and use accurate, financial data to boost sales and profit margins, as well as provide unsurpassed customer service. Get the real time insight and control you need without the cost, complexity and risk that can come with a traditional ERP or Business Intelligence implementation.
Join us next week when we explore the fifth business challenge in our series: How to Take Advantage of Everything the Cloud Has To Offer.
Subscribe to this blog at the top right of this page and stay notified. Visit us at our website to learn more about Microsoft Dynamics ERP for small and midsize businesses, where you can chat with us live, sign up for a free Microsoft Dynamics trial and see some of our clients.
by Gerry Power