We’re often asked whether we can recommend reporting and analysis tools for Microsoft Dynamics NAV by people who probably already have the tools they need. I’m always amazed at the amount of money people spend on buying Business Intelligence (BI) ‘products’ which provide such a poor return over a number of years when compared to the value derived from the ‘raw’ ERP system which most Business Intelligence information comes from.

There are a number of reasons why this may be the case.

In no particular order these are:

  1. The demonstration of artistic and busy Dashboards by product vendors which convey the dream scenario of ever increasing revenue increases, profit enhancement and overflowing cash. ‘Dancing-Bear Ware’ is the phrase coined by Alan Cooper that applies to over-engineered interfaces; but like a visitor to the fun park, the dreaming end-user is seduced without ever understanding what it is they might want to measure in their business and how it might be presented
  2. The general belief that somehow in this world there is a Product which with minimal human intervention will ‘solve the problem’ whatever the problem is. “Surely we’re not the only company that does this?” I hear. Bad news! You are; and if the success of implementing an ERP lies in a company’s ability to work out what processes it makes sense to include in an ERP and which ones it should leave out, then the same is true many times over for Business Intelligence
  3. Having bought the BI product, let’s assume you do make a success of defining what you want and which the vendor’s consultants provide. Unhappily, 6 months down the line and you want to add to, change or remove some of the things you started with. Bad news! The only people who understand how to do it are the same vendor’s consultants (or worse the ones that have replaced the previous consultants who know the product but not your business). So get your Fast Payment service ready as you’ll need to spend a lot of money making the changes.
  4. Or not; so 6 months on your Business Intelligence system is already not doing the job you need it to which is tell you what’s going on in your business at a level which gives you a strategic view. And that situation can only continue to deteriorate until 2 or 3 years hence, no one is interested in watching the Dancing Bears anymore
  5. What is it you need to measure in your business? You know. But do your managers and the people they manage? And you know how things are performing without any Business Intelligence system.
  6. The amount of software which presents data in tables and charts on screen has never been greater. But very few people are actually taught or learn how to use that software to present relevant information quickly. So no matter how good the product, it’s never mastered.

So am I saying don’t bother with Business Intelligence? No, nothing could be further from the truth. But if you have Excel 2010 or greater; and your ERP running on some form of SQL database, then you’ve already got the tools to get started producing good Business Intelligence. At least at a level where you can ezxvaluate the information you can get from a Business Intelligence system which will allow you to produce a strategy going forward. And all without buying another product. Bad news for Dancing Bear-Ware Vendors!


Come on our Business Intelligence Introduction Day for NAV users and we’ll show you how to take your NAV data, run it through SQL Server and then use Excel 2010 and above to produce usable Business Intelligence to provide a strategic view of your business. Even if it’s not how you decide to go forward it’ll give you an idea of what you should be looking for and what needs to be done to deliver good Business Intelligence.

Dates for the BI day to be announced soon, we’re planning for August. If you would like to be emailed when the dates are announced, please contact us.