Monday, February 23, 2015

Real Life BI: Science Fair Data Presentation

This year, one of my sons participates in the Science Fair for the first time.  All in all, this was a good experience for both him and us parents.  

Now, I didn't take a lot of science myself, so I am not sure that I was particularly helpful in that regard.  Having an iPhone, I was able to Google search and perform mobile research on the affects of heat on an elastic band as we performed the experiment.

My greatest contribution, in my opinion anyhow, was this graph.  I was proud to use my real world knowledge of graphing and presenting data to recommend that my son use separate axis for both temperature and length, allowing the relationship between the two to be comprehended nearly instantaneously.  With only one axis, this was not clear at all as the length appeared to be constant.

Now that Science Fair is almost over, its time to get back to work helping organizations make use of Enterprise visualization and analytic tools that help people understand their business and make good decisions, fast!

Please let me know if I can help you!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Real Life BI: Time Saving Benefits of Jet Enterprise

One of our clients recently implemented Jet Enterprise in their organization to improve reporting on a third-party Dynamics GP module.

They had previously used both Crystal Reports and SSRS; however, neither enabled the client's finance and engineer users the ability to easily create and maintain their own reports.

So, on to the story...

A finance user was struggling with filtering a report and producing the same results as an existing custom SRS report.  Part of the problem practically, is that a number of tables, unions (i.e. between open and historical data) and joins (i.e. to link the tables together) needed to be understood and configured properly before adding the filter.

I have no idea exactly how many hours this finance user had poured into creating this report; however, I do know that from the time she reached out to me via email to ask for help, to the time I received an email back saying that the report was working was nearly instantaneous.

What did I tell her?  I can tell you that I did not give her a crash course in table buliding, report building or anything of the sort, I simply said the following:

"Have you considered using Jet Enterprise for this? You already have the data summarized there. It would just need the filter."

That was all that was needed.  Simple, quick and accurate since the third-party data was already configured in an MS cube in an easy to use tool in full accordance to Kimball's best practices in dimensional modeling. 

If you or your organization are interested in leaving the office early, contact me.

Dilbert on Big Data

Big Data is definately here to stay, but as Dilbert points out below the ethics of Big Data analysis also need to be considered.

Todays Comic

Monday, December 2, 2013

Dynamics GP Reporting Options & Alternatives

One of the previous tag-lines for Microsoft Dynamics was 'it works the way you do' and when it comes to reporting, that pretty well sums up the Microsoft Dynamics GP offering in a nutshell.

There are a lot of options for reporting! 

Sometimes the options themselves can be confusing; however, remember that each reporting tool has its pros/cons and 'sweet spots' as my recent client exercise below shows:


In some cases, third-party reporting and/or planning tools such as those identified and circled make sense and drive the most value for an organization's needs.

If you 100% of your planning and reporting needs for Microsoft Dynamics ERP are not being met, tell me about it below and lets see how I can help.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Dilbert on Preparing the Annual Budget

I love Dilbert and I especially love Dilbert on anything related to budgeting, reporting, analytics or business intelligence.


In many organizations, a certain aura of 'mystery' surrounds how the annual budget is prepared in Excel. In some cases, those preparing it cannot even articulate it very well.  This 'mystery' is another risk for those organizations that do not invest in a CPM platform and 'de-mystefying' the planning process.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Budgeting in Excel

Let's face it - most companies use Microsoft Excel to either fully prepare their budgets and forecasts, or at least to aid in some portion of this process.

There are numerous reasons for this, including the following:
  • Excel is already installed
  • Business users already know how to use Excel
  • Business users like (or should I say love) Excel
  • The organizations' ERP system allows one to import a budget from Excel
But when an organization's level of sophistication grows, using Excel can become an inefficient and complex tool to prepare budgets and forecasts for business users.  But, how can organizations identify this tipping point?  The following questions may assist you:
  • Business users are reluctant to re-forecast due to complexity and amount of effort required
  • Business users are expected to learn and leverage Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) in Excel to keep up with organizational complexity or business users begin to lose control of their financial and operational models as internal IT or external consultants develop and maintain complex VBA code
  • Business users like (or should I say love) for Excel begins to diminish as they spend more and more time populating data and fixing errors in the spreadsheets
  • Other planning and performance management areas, including financial and operational reporting systems bundled with the organization's ERP system no longer meet the growing complexity of organizational requirements
What are your thoughts on this topic?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Microsoft Forecaster 7 SP5 Early Warning Notice

Good news for Forecaster 7 users who have been patiently waiting for the re-release of Forecaster 7 SP4 to rectify a number of nasty issues - Service Pack 5 is on its way!

At present, I do not have the expected release date, but it is good news nonetheless!

For those who don't want to wait, you can always look at alternate budgeting & reporting solutions, such as, Prophix CPM which allows you to link operational and financial budgets to drive real value from the planning and performance management process.

For those who are not in a rush, why not wait until budgeting can be performed in Management Reporter?