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Microsoft Dynamics vendors provide comparisons and opinions to professionals in the ERP/Accounting software selection process

 
 

Ken Jacobsen, The TM Group Inc.

Microsoft Dynamics BI and Financial Automation Software Builds a Strong Solution


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The place of business intelligence software in today's companies is completely necessary. Whether an enterprise is in manufacturing or occupies another industry position, the need for business solutions that bring insight into daily operations is strong. One area of a company's functions that ultimately depends on ERP software's capabilities is the financial department. For too long, many organizations have been hampered by spreadsheet-focused business intelligence solutions that are anything but efficient for providing complete insight into a company's performance. In many organizations, there are too many moving parts to effectively track and analyze their performance using a spreadsheet alone. Complexity breeds technological obsolescence, which is very apparent in today's data-driven business environment.

It's for this reason that many companies have turned to tools like Microsoft Dynamics ERP and Microsoft Dynamics BI solutions like BI360 to manage the financial figures important to understanding return on investment and similar things.

What's the problem with spreadsheets?
In an article for MSDynamicsWorld.com, writer Dan Edwards provided a very clear explanation of how companies can fall short when they use spreadsheets alone for analyzing and reporting their financial data.

One of the big reasons that spreadsheets can often fall short in terms of effectiveness is the fact that many people aren't totally trained on how to use them. For instance, a study from Ventana Research found that just 11 percent of Excel users consider themselves to be fully adept at using the program. At the same time, this application is extremely prevalent in most businesses, but it's not often being used to the best purposes. While it offers basic data analysis and visualization, there are limits to its utility. This is especially the case when a company experiences growth and their operations become more complex, whether due to new supply chains being integrated into workflows or the effects of globalization.

Collaboration is fairly difficult using spreadsheets as well. First of all, setting up a sheet for financial reporting and analysis requires a significant amount of work conducted largely by one person who is responsible for creating a tool that everyone will be able to understand. Meanwhile, it can be exceedingly difficult to trace accounting errors with any speed because a single mistake in entering data into a cell can throw off calculations by a large proportion. Similarly, it's very easy to create several copies of the same data, making it hard to trace back the information to a pure source. Finally, reporting functionality for a program like Excel requires a manual effort. In other words, if any information is updated and needs to be shared with others within the company, someone needs to do this by hand.

Business intelligence in action
There are alternatives for companies that want to ensure the integrity of their data and allow for a better user experience. A case study involving Service Systems Associates demonstrates how accounts payable automation empowered the business. One outstanding fact is that 7 in 10 companies still use paper-based procedures to process invoices, which is a big drain on performance and profitability. SSA provides service amenities to zoos, museums and aquariums in the U.S., and it decided to integrate Microsoft Dynamics ERP to automate its accounts payable activities. With paper-based processing, businesses can see expenses of nearly $500,000 annually because of labor, storage and shipping costs, among other overhead spending. SSA specifically managed 3,500 invoices on a monthly basis, and many of the manual aspects of this activity caused problems.

By introducing automation software into the organization's use of Microsoft Dynamics BI, SSA quickly saw positive results from accounts payable automation. For instance, it saved $14,000 annually by integrating the platform.

By The TM Group

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