Why Microsoft Power BI and Solver BI360 are a Powerful Pair

Are you attempting to decide what business intelligence, dashboarding, and reporting tool fits your business? Are you concerned that FRx or Management Reporter might not be meeting your needs or will not in the near future? Do you need to integrate data from several, disparate systems to accurately complete your reporting? Here’s how the combination of Solver’s BI360 and Microsoft’s Power BI measures up.

BI360 is an Excel add-in that incorporates the SQL Server in order to enhance your ability to forecast, budget, report, and consolidate data and warehousing activities.

For those more familiar with Microsoft “out-of-box” reporting tools, BI360 has the ability to do everything that FRx and MR do within Financial Statements, plus:

  • Use of all fields (such as Account Category) in the GL within reports
  • Dynamic rows and columns (e.g. an account range can produce multiple rows in a P&L) equals faster report design with less maintenance
  • Better formatting (because of it being Excel-based)
  • Pre-configured and enhanced for Financial Reporting and Budgeting
  • And, there’s more…
    • Web, Excel, and mobile interface for end users
    • Ad-hoc report options
    • Reporting on sub-ledgers
    • Control at Cell-level (FRx/MR requires rows or columns to “win”)

Solver’s BI360: Excel on Steroids

BI360 contains several different modules:

BI360 Planning – The BI360 Planning module is a date entry tool that is Excel-based. It is a pre-configured SQL Server database. Planning can be utilized to automate budgeting and forecasting. In addition, other business processes that require data entry and a database can be automated. Think of BI360 Planning as the most efficient way to save any information from Excel into a structured SQL database.

BI 360 Reporting – BI360 Reporting is excel-based, writing reports that can connect directly to Dynamics ERP or CRM systems. This is a user-friendly report writer that delivers finance professionals powerful financial and operational reporting capabilities in a multitude of layout and presentation formats. Users have the ability to drag and drop to generate complete financial statements and operational reports. There is no need to learn proprietary report writers and complex formulas. The end result is professional reports that are presented in Excel, web and mobile devices.

BI 360 Dashboard – The BI360 Dashboard module is for dashboarding and for visualization of data. Also available is the ability to calculate and store both metrics and KPI’s which are frequently done in Excel.

BI360 Data Warehouse – The BI360 Data Warehouse provides a self-configuring data warehouse option. It automatically produces a SQL Server database that is optimized for producing reports more easily; and, this can be extended to encompass data from other sources.

Add the Strength of Power BI

Are you spinning your wheels in spreadsheets that leave you feeling flooded with information that does not matter to you? Does your team struggle with pooling data from a variety of sources, messaging it and then taking days (if not longer) to produce reports? If you are nodding in agreement, then you might find that Microsoft Power BI is an option for you. Power BI provides data visualization and dashboard reporting tools that enable you stay current with information that means something to you.

Power BI is Microsoft’s latest entry into Business Intelligence. With its release in July 2015, it has quickly been updated to be extremely competitive among a few of the more well-known options in BI, like Tableau, QlikView, and MicroStrategy. It is an exceptionally powerful analysis and dashboard solution, that also comes with pre-configured connectors to literally dozens of Microsoft and non-Microsoft applications.

Whether you have data coming from a variety of cloud-based or on-premises information sources or from a simple Excel spreadsheet, Power BI allows you to connect easily to your data sources, and allows you to picture, share and work together on actionable information. With Power BI, dashboards helps you better understand trends, search your data, and link to multiple datasets in order to gather all relevant information in one place.

Making your data easily analyzable can be a time-consuming process. Power BI Desktop provides data shaping and modeling capabilities that transform and clean up data, giving you back hours of your day. This part of Power BI is a complete solution for building analytics due to the fact that the Desktop has all functionalities for you to quickly connect, visualize and then share reports needed to be in the hands of the decision makers whenever and wherever it’s needed.

To assist in making the leap to Power BI easier, your users can begin generating dashboards using Excel. The Power X add-ins (Power Query, Power Pivot, Power View) are the precursors to Power BI Desktop. In fact, pretty much anything you build in Excel, with the Power x add-ins, can then be converted to Power BI Desktop with just a click – simply because they use the exact same engines and languages! One more click and you can Publish to PowerBI.com, allowing your users to simply connect to their dashboards within any browser, or from any device.

It is not always a question of BI360 or Power BI. Many of our customers use Power BI for dashboards and visualizations to complement or incorporate financial reporting, planning and budgeting data from BI360.

BI360 is focused primarily on budgeting and forecasting, on financial reporting and on consolidations, It typically appeals to the office of finance. Power BI is focused more on any people in your company that need to do analysis, create reports or access dashboards. The great news is that Power BI has a pre-built connector so you can use BI360 within your Power BI dashboards.

Watch the webcast in our Microsoft Dynamics Deep Dive Series: Power BI and Solver BI360 – Discover a Dynamic Duo to see this dynamic duo in action.

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