Often, users have a vision for the type of data they want to extract from their ERP, but they don’t know the exact database schema required. Of the Dynamics NAV reporting and business intelligence tools available, BI 360 from Solver is a stand-out option. BI 360 has some out of the box functionality that helps remove the reliance on consultants and provides the end user with tools to connect directly with their data.
In this post, I’m going to tour BI 360’s functionality and show how users can drag and drop ERP data into Excel for easy and powerful reporting.
What is BI 360?
BI 360 is a set of tools that can be purchased independently or as a package to provide reporting, budgeting/planning, dashboard and data warehousing. In addition to Dynamics NAV, this software also works out of the box with two of our software offerings, CRM and Acumatica.
How does an end user access BI360 reporting tools?
BI360 reporting has two user interfaces for creating reports. The Composer Report Tool is slightly less flexible than the Excel Based Add-In (see screenshot below), so I’m going to focus on the excel option for this post.
Navigating the Excel Add-In
Within the Excel Add-In for BI360, mapping is already done for the user to the Dynamics NAV tables via a modern interface.
Users can look at current table structures within their NAV system and the associated mappings. For example, within the GL Entries table, a user can drill down on the account record and see all of the attributes associated with that record.
This feature allows new users to the ERP system to be able to better understand how data is linked without having to know the exact tables that contain the data. Below is a screen shot of BI 360 reporting add-in looking at NAV GL entries and GL account attributes.
Now that the user can see what data and attributes are available, they can now drag the data into a cell in Excel. BI360 will group the data as defined by the user.
This is an excellent tool that has removed the need for complex formulas and logic with the application.
Once a basic outline of data is defined for one table, linking between additional tables is simple as BI360 has already identified tables and fields that are common between the tables. If a user would like to look at account Credit and Debit balances by GL account, the process is easy to do.
Simply find the GL budget table and drag the budget amount field into the cell. BI360 will then link the Account No, Credit amount, Debit amount and budget amount.
Group and Filter Data
Next users can then group by periods. This is drag and drop again and doing so will allow users the ability to now filter their data.
BI360 also provides some out of the box filtering options when users run their reports. Users do not have to think of complex formulas to sort and filter the results of their reports. BI 360 will provide a list of possible options for filtering and the user just selects the data. In the example below, I’m filtering by time period.
Report Across Divisions, Projects, and more
The last area that I believe would be useful to end users is the ability to create and save expression trees. Expression trees allow users to define alternative hierarchies or groupings in which they would like to use across multiple reports. This is useful for organizations that would like to have a consolidated report and then report on division/projects etc.
The Expression Tree also allows you to provide report readers with links to the different groupings within your report. This simplifies navigation of the report and allows for consistency on how the report is displayed. Expression Trees can be applied to managerial reports for profit and loss statements, budget reports, and consolidation to name a few — each with a similar layout. Having this feature helps reduce training and review time with end users of mission critical reports.
Making Dynamics NAV Reporting and BI More Accessible
Overall, BI 360 is an exciting and modern business intelligence solution that will improve end-users’ ability to do reporting in Dynamics NAV. With a suite of tools that can be added piece by piece, you have access to a reporting system that can scale as your business grows.
If you have questions about reporting or BI 360 don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Or, check out these related blog posts: