Data analysis and reporting
Reporting and analytics involve many business areas across the company and it is important to ensure that all relevant employees have access to the data they need. For example, finance and accounting officers need accounting data from the general ledger; a warehouse manager, on the other hand, will need to use inventory-related data, while the head of the company will need specific information from data regarding the company's efforts and performance goals, also called KPIs, which provide information on the direction and speed of meeting the company's strategic objectives.
However, it is important that all data is easily accessible, quickly retrieved and that impacts on important business areas are highlighted. However, that data is made available to relevant employees is not enough alone, the data streams provided are only useful to the individual employee when presented in a way that highlights the information that ultimately influences their decisions.
Data analysis and reporting in Business Central
As a common part of daily business activities, companies today collects large amounts of data. This data can be extremely valuable to business decision makers and provide important information that provides insight into the business and its operations. Business Central has built-in functionality and useful tools that let you collect, analyze and share the important data og informations.
As mentioned, the company's various responsible executives have different needs for what data they must have presented. For example, the warehouse manager must be able to obtain information on inventory turnover, stock movement analysis and inventory value statistics, whereas sales managers must be able to regularly analyze sales, gross profit and other key figures on sales performance. In Business Central, it is possible to use analysis reports on an ongoing basis to create customized reports on the basis of items for book transactions, such as purchases, sales, inventory adjustments, etc. A customized report can combine, compare and display source information from a product record in different ways, thus conveying important and meaningful information.
You also have the option of creating a customized analysis report that focuses exclusively on the company's financial budget account (key accounts) within this month's net sales, both in allocated amount and quantity, gross profit and gross profit percentage. This way you can compare the figures with the results for the previous months or with the same month last year as well as make calculations for any deviations. This is done in Business Central in one view. Further down the page, you will be able to identify the cause of the problem areas you may have identified and access the information at each transaction level.
An analysis report is composed of the objects the user wants to analyze, for example, the seller or customer, which is represented by the analysis parameters and lines. This means that the way in which you want to analyze your items is shown by columns such as eriodic comparison of sales amount and sales volume, calculation of profit on sale of a product (profit), or of the actual and budgeted figures.
When analyzing data in Business Intelligence, dimensional functionality plays a significant role. In short, a dimension consists of data that can be added to a record as a kind of marker, so records with similar properties can be grouped and retrieved for analysis purposes easily and quickly. Dimensions are used, for example, when creating account forms for reporting or defining the individual analysis views and are used across Business Central for entries in drafts, documents and budgets. In each dimension, you can have an unlimited range of dimension values, which are sub-units for each dimension, for example, a dimension called Department, can have dimension values such as Administration, Sales, etc. as department names. Both dimensions and dimension values are user defined and unlimited, which means that the dimension functionality in Business Central can be used by all companies.
Reporting in Power BI
Both Business Central and Power BI are designed with integration in mind and therefore it is easy to gain insight into data from Business Central from Power BI. Data is retrieved from Power BI and then a dashboard is created as well as reports based on the retrieved data.
The advantage of an integrated Power BI solution for Business Central is that you get better and more advanced reporting functionality. Power BI is a free business intelligence application that easily and quickly enables you to generate credible and compelling reports or collect data from widely different data sources and create data models that can be shared as reports with your colleagues across the company.
Power BI can be used in the following areas:
- Connect to your data from Business Central
- Transform this data and create data models
- Create various visual elements that present your data, such as charts or graphs
- Collect the visual elements in reports, on one or more report pages
- Share your reports across the company through the Power BI service