Analytics For Dynamics GP – BI Solution From Mark Polino (DynamicAccounting.Net) #MSDYNGP


Mark Polino of DynamicAccounting.Net has released first among series of Excel Dashboards, Sales Analytics Starter Edition, for Dynamics GP. This dashboard series is named as Analytics For Dynamics GP.

Sales Dashboard

Sales Starter Edition has got following charts with whole set of important filters:

  • Top Customers (with costs)
  • Top 10 Products (with costs)
  • Top 10 Salespeople
  • Top 10 Sales Territories
  • Top 10 Sites
  • Sales with Trend and Projection
  • Sales Mix with Item Class

It’s a simple plug and play kind of dashboard on Microsoft Excel (v2010 & v2013) file. Setting this up once you buy it is so very easy. How to map your GP data server is clearly explained as part of this dashboard solution. And you can modify this as you wish once you link this to your GP data server.

As it is just an Excel file with a straightforward GP data server connection, all you need to do is to click on refresh to get the real time information.

This sales dashboard starter edition is priced at $249 +$49 annual maintenance. Maintenance covers updates, improvements and fixes. Click on links provided across this post to visit Mark’s Analytics For Dynamics GP product page, learn more about this awesome BI solution and know how to buy your copy.

In my personal opinion, this is a simplistic and satisfactory BI solution which meet its promises pretty well.

VAIDY

Book Review: Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Reporting (Second Edition) – David Duncan & Chris Liley


My second book as reviewer is Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 Reporting – Second Edition written by David Duncan and Chris Liley.

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This book is second edition to their famous Microsoft Dynamics GP 2010 Reporting. So those who have read this book before would see the new book as an upgrade. And that’s quite obvious as this book covers more on reporting features that are now part of Dynamics GP 2013.

The book is structured as follows:

  • Chapter 1: Meeting the Reporting Challenge
  • Chapter 2: Where Is My Data and How Do I Get It?
  • Chapter 3: Working with the Builders – SmartList and Excel Reports
  • Chapter 4: Report Writer and Word Templates
  • Chapter 5: Utilising the SSRS Report Library
  • Chapter 6: Designing Your Analysis Cubes for the Excel Environment
  • Chapter 7: Utilising Analysis Cubes for Excel for Dynamic Reporting
  • Chapter 8: Designing Financial Reports in Management Reporter
  • Chapter 9: Viewing Financial Reports in Management Reporter
  • Chapter 10: Bringing it all Together
  • Appendix: Comparing the Dynamics GP Reporting Tools Against Different Reporting Challenges

Chapter 1 discusses about challenges faced by a report developer and how to get prepared to meet them. If there is one thing that’s changing constantly at Dynamics GP front is how we visualise the data that is entered in GP day-to-day. Financial statements, revenue analyses, stock analyses, multi-dimensional analysis of your business and then there is big data which you might want to link with your own business. This chapter provides food for your thoughts on Reporting overall.

Chapter 2 discusses about how GP stores your data and how easily and efficiently you can access them. This one is, in my opinion, very crucial chapter for any GP report developer. Unless you know how GP is structured and how data is stored, you can never become a successful report developer. To quote the authors themselves: Knowing where to begin is a critical first step. This chapter shows us exactly that.

Chapter 3 discusses about SmartList Builder and Excel Reports Builder. Two most amazingly simple yet efficient tools to create any report. Excellent chapter again.

Chapter 4 discusses about Report Writer and Word Templates. Report Writer, in my opinion, is a very underestimated tool. I am sure David Musgrave would pat me to have said this. Knowing this tool would most definitely help any GP report developer to harness their knowledge on GP data and structure. Word Templates were introduced some time back and meant to be alternative to Report Writer reports. So knowing them also would be better.

Chapter 5 discusses about SSRS reports that come with GP. If your are a SQL developer and you are asked to develop some reports on GP, SSRS is THE best reporting tool. Know the data and you are on. Brilliantly written chapter.

Chapter 6 and 7 discusses about Analysis Cubes for GP. If you require multi-dimensional reports on GP data and want to know how to develop them, these chapters are for you.

Chapter 8 and 9 discusses about Management Reporter, the replacement of FRx, but much more an advanced technology. These two chapters take you step by step in understanding MR and how to design reports.

Chapter 10 summarises whatever been discussed on all previous chapters.

Appendix gives you a view of all reporting tools that are discussed in a simple yet informative table. And this book is certainly not complete without this table. Amazing piece of information one could ask for.

David and Chris have put their sincere and precious efforts on writing this book. Their expertise on reporting is going to be a guiding force through this book to all of us.

This book is published by Packt Publications. Those who would like to buy this book can do so by clicking on the link provided at the beginning of this post OR by clicking on the book logo.

To the authors, David & Chris: I thank you both for this great book and accepting me as one of the reviewers. It’s very difficult to talk about the greatness of this book in one single post, but I guess I have done my best. It’s going to be my reference on anything about GP reporting. Thanks again.

VAIDY

Who uses BI? – Dwight Specht


This one’s an awesomely simple yet on-the-dot post, which I read today. I am not going to brief about this post and I leave it to you read it fully, understand what exactly it wants us to learn.

Here is the post, written by Dwight Specht: Who uses BI?

I myself am working on BI reports, a lot, nowadays and posts such as this only add to my constant improvement.

Special thanks to Dwight.

VAIDY

Microsoft Dynamics GP2010 R2 – SSRS BI maxRequestLength Error


Another one, luckily Mohammad R. Daoud has got an answer to this issue.

Once GP2010 R2 installation is over and GP Utilities start configuring system, almost the last setup is SRS Reports Deployment wizard. It’s a welcome change from previous versions, as this one is more explanatory and clear.

Once it starts deploying reports, the following error message is thrown:

The message is self-explanatory on what needs to be done to get rid of this message. To understand how to find WEB.CONFIG file, read Mohammad R. Daoud’s post; Dynamics GP 2010 R2 Business Intelligence Installation Error maxRequestLength.
Thanks Daoud. It was really helpful.
VAIDY

List of Attractive BI Technologies from Microsoft


This was my second session today at Tech-Ed 2011 Middle East. Very interesting and demos were extremely useful to understand all the BI Technologies listed.

Now what exactly are we talking about? The session was all about listing the most promising (some are already existing) BI Tools running on top of either OR all of the following: SQL Server 2008 R2, SharePoint 2010, Silverlight.

The following are the list:


  1. SharePoint Excel Services
  2. PowerPivot Galleries
  3. PerformancePoint (Dashboards, Scorecards & KPIs)
  4. PowerPivot for SharePoint
  5. Pivot Tool – based on Silverlight
  6. Bing Data Connector – To show geospatial data
  7. SQL Server 2008 R2 Reporting Services (Report Builder)


Each of them will take it’s own time to allow user to understand the basics. I let my readers to BING or GOOGLE these terminologies and learn it.

But, the above list is what Microsoft concentrates more on currently to let users create the most attractive BI for them.

Enjoy.

VAIDY

Top 10 Challenges on Delivering BI to the Masses at Microsoft


This was my first session today at Tech-Ed 2011 Middle East. The session titled “Delivering BI to the masses at Microsoft using Consolidated Business Intelligence (CBI) – Top 10 Challenges“.

The approach taken by Microsoft is fairly unusual.


Leave the BI Design to End-Users (or designated Power End Users) and simultaneously build EDW (Enterprise Data Warehouse). Once the design & EDW is ready, use following tools to achieve this CBI Model:

Microsoft Office, SharePoint 2010, SQL Server 2008 R2, Silverlight Technology.

CBI basically means one Single Enterprise Report Catalog. It’s then delivered as a SharePoint based BI Portal. Microsoft IT hosts BI with Reporting Services, PPS, etc, BUT Power End Users design and publish Reports on to this Portal. There are certain restrictions in terms of how many users being allowed to publish these reports for their own Team/Department/Division.

Top 10 Questions which Microsoft asked themselves before CBI (and of course everyone of us to ask ourselves as well):

1. IT Cost too much to implement this BI Catalog. What to do first? EDW or BI Reporting Catalog?
1.1. Allow End Users to publish all their ideas on a Not-So-Clean EDW Data.
1.2. Clean EDW and keep EDW ready.

2. How do you get the First Sponsorship?
2.1. Push and Pull Approach
2.2. Create a Cool Demo

3. How do you architect with big Holistic Enterprise Vision?

4. How do we implement seamless security across layers?

5. Who should create BI and show we actually give control of the report catalog to business and enable self-serviced BI?

6. Can we implement ZERO footprint deployment for masses using SharePoint?

7. What about regional deployment and scalability?

8. What front end tools to BI publishers use and how do you integrate various tools?

9. How do you evangelize and achieve enterprise adoption?

10. How do you achieve high Customer Satisfaction?
10.1. Customer Empathy
10.2. Maintain Customer Relationship
10.3. Improve, Improve & just Improve

Until next post on Tech-Ed from me.

VAIDY