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Business Intelligence and ERP Software: Microsoft Dynamics NAV


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ERP solutions such as Microsoft Dynamics NAV help businesses increase efficiency and improve their processes. But any ERP solution as powerful as this uses and generates massive amounts of data.

Business Intelligence (BI) is all about collecting, collating, analysing, and presenting the right data in an understandable way. The release of Microsoft Dynamics NAV R2 includes advanced data visualisation, which shows data in graphical formats and helps users quickly and more fully comprehend information. All this helps organisations, and individuals within those organisations, to make well informed and therefore better business decisions.

Business intelligence enables users at all levels to find out, in real time, what’s happening within their areas of the business. Microsoft Dynamics NAV works across organisations so business intelligence derived from it can also include input and data from areas and processes that influence feed into or out of the users normal roles or departments. This means individuals, teams and organisations can respond to internal changes, effectively plan for the future and increase their overall competitiveness.

BI for Operational, Tactical, and Strategic Decision Making

To provide useful insight across an organisation, the business intelligence functionality within an ERP solution needs to fit in with the way people work, their job roles, and the way they make decisions. The business intelligence functionality within Microsoft Dynamics NAV can be categorised on three levels: Individual, Team, and Organisational. In this way it helps support the three key types of business decisions: Operational, Tactical, and Strategic.  Operational decisions are those day-to-day decisions made by almost everyone who works in a business. Tactical decisions are those usually made in teams, or at least by individuals consulting with other staff members, and tend to be used for shorter-term actions. Strategic decisions are those usually made at senior management and corporate level and influence the direction of the organisation in the mid to long-term.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV Individual Business Intelligence

A key feature of Microsoft Dynamics NAV is role-tailored functionality. This means that users generally only see the tools, features and functions of the product that their day-to-day job demands. Because Microsoft Dynamics NAV is tailored to the way individuals work, it gives each member of staff access to the information they need to make better day to day decisions required by their role. This focussed information helps individuals identify trends, check important facts and figures, and work more efficiently.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV Business Intelligence for Teams

Business intelligence information is often used by groups and teams of staff. As well as individual departments, such as finance, operations, or sales, it can also be used by teams working on particular projects or particular tasks. Microsoft Dynamics NAV is an accounting and ERP software solution which stores data centrally, and provides all team members access to up to date, accurate information. This can include team progress reports, budgets, targets, or goals. Using business intelligence among teams not only helps everyone involved prioritise tasks and make better decisions; it also helps people work together and build a good team environment.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV Organisational Business Intelligence

Microsoft Dynamics NAV delivers a single, centralised view of information across the business. This organisational level business intelligence is of course ideal for senior decision makers.  It’s also useful for staff at all levels who need to be informed of key performance indicators, company reports, progress, or plans.  In Microsoft Dynamics NAV, some of this functionality is available ‘out of the box’. Depending on what your business requires, this information and reporting may need configuring by business partners or your IT department. There are also some specialist add-on applications available to extend the BI capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics NAV. For advanced data visualisation and analysis, for example using data from Microsoft Dynamics NAV and other, multiple sources, organisational business intelligence can be enhanced by specialist tools such as Tableau software.

On a practical level, Microsoft Dynamics NAV has a wide range of tools and features for users to access the business intelligence it can deliver. The role-tailored functionality of Microsoft Dynamics NAV provides users with views and reports on the precise information they need. Analysis tools make it easy to find the details of a wide range of information, such as transactions, customer records and histories. A wide range of filters, views, configurable and built-in reports provide business intelligence throughout the organisation. There are also a number of add-on applications that can use the data from within the system if required. Microsoft Dynamics NAV has a wide range of standard reports and a wizard for easy creation of customised reports. And because it’s from Microsoft, it’s easy to export information to other applications such as Excel for further analysis.

By Concentrix Ltd – independent UK Microsoft Dynamics specialists

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