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FRx Row Linking: How to Replicate Reports in MS Management Reporter


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Replicate FRx Row Linking Reports in MS Management Reporter

The FRx row linking feature allowed users to create reports with assorted row layouts at different levels of a reporting tree. Microsoft FRx users took advantage of this functionality to create powerful reports within Excel. These Excel workbooks combined report data in various ways across multiple tabs.

Because Microsoft's Management Reporter has not replicated this feature, many Microsoft Dynamics ERP customers using this functionality have delayed an upgrade in order to remain on Microsoft FRx. However, support for FRx is coming to an end, and these customers are now challenged with re-writing their reports.

The great news? There are options.

The downside of the FRx functionality is that it created a “plate of spaghetti” that was difficult to manage.  Something as simple as adding an account could require updating multiple row layouts. It required thorough testing, as well, because the impact of changing a single lower level layout rippled throughout the entire reporting tree. It was very easy to make a mistake – or spend hours testing changes.

As FRx phases out, you should consider the following options:

Rethink your reports.

I know. You like your reports as they are and it’s too much work to change them. But – Management Reporter has capabilities for report distribution that FRx simply didn't.  There are generally two driving reasons for these types of report layouts:

  1. Give lower-level managers the detail that they need while providing upper level executives a more summarized view (while making details readily available to them)
  2. Reduce the effort required in the Finance Department to produce a consolidated report package

MS Management Reporter addresses the first category with report security and greater control over detail drill-down. It addresses the second category with the Report Viewer and with Report Groups.  You may find that you can consolidate the reports and still give users as much (or as little) detail as they need.

 

MS Management Reporter screenshot report group

Recreate the reports...

The Report Groups provide a way to consolidate multiple report layouts into one group.  These reports can be easily accessed using the Web Client or the Report Viewer.  The entire group can also be downloaded into one Excel workbook.  Report Groups provide a way to produce the same end result using a different methodology.

Each layout is a separate report that pulls data from the General Ledger, so it may be updated independently.  You can download the full group into Excel for your executives – multiple tabs with multiple layouts exactly as they are accustomed to receiving.

Excel workbook multi-tab report MS Management Reporter

 

…with some extra functionality

Security controls which reports each manager can access.  If you're using a reporting tree, the security is integrated into the tree so that you can produce one report and still control the data that individuals can access.  Instead of cutting and pasting specific pages for lower-level managers, you can grant them access to the reports directly and still control what data they can see – departmental managers see their departments; divisional managers see multiple departments.

MS Management Reporter Reporting Tree security screenshot

 

I've assisted several clients with reworking FRx row linking reports – going both routes.  So far, they've found that the reduction in report maintenance and distribution time has been well worth the one-time investment to recreate the reports.  I encourage you to think about which option is best for your organization. For more information, you may contact us at info@interdynartis.com or by calling (704) 846-6750. InterDyn Artis is a Microsoft Gold certified ERP partner serving Charlotte, the Carolinas, and beyond. We hold MS Management Reporter training classes at our Charlotte headquarters once a quarter.

By Lisa Suggs, Senior Implementation Consultant at InterDyn Artis

 

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