Top 5 things you need to know about Jet Analytics
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Thank you for attending everybody – just before we start a few housekeeping rules. So all attendees are going to remain on mute for the whole webinar. But if you do want to ask a question, please use the question box. So if anything relates to the subject or if there’s anything to do with the presenters, so if you can’t hear or we’re going too fast, just let us know through that. And please note that a link to view the webinar recording will be sent out after the demo.
So this is a twenty third in our series of monthly webinars on key areas of NAV and Business Central. You can sign up for as many as you like from the website, and I’ll show you a list of the upcoming webinars at the end of this session. We do also send out regular emails to register for the next one.
My name is Karen. I’m an account manager here at TVision and I’ll be facilitating the webinar today, and Rob Jackson is a technical account manager at Jet Global and he’ll be doing the demo.
So just to introduce the subject today, many of you use Jet Basics or Express, as it used to be called, or Jet Professional, which is now known as Jet Reports. And as you’ve been using these solutions for some time, you might be wondering what the next level of reporting is with Jet, and how this compares for the like of Microsoft Power BI or any other type of BI reporting tools and data warehouses. So to answer these questions, Rob will be taking you through the webinar today over the following areas:
So first he’s going to give you an intro to Jet Global and the solutions, then he’ll talk about Jet Analytics and the differences between Jet Reports or Jet Professionals, as it used to be known, and Jet Analytics. Then I’m going to a demo of it showing you the top five things that you need to know about the solution, and then finally after the demo you can submit questions to him. So I’ll now hand you over to Rob.
Okay, thank you Karen. Can I just confirm that you can see my screen Karen? Yes, I can. Perfect. Thank you very much. Okay, welcome everyone. So I, as Karen said, am technical account manager for, for Jet Global, and just as a brief introduction to the products that we have which are specific to the Microsoft Dynamics suite of ERPs. We have Jet Reports, which I think a lot of the users on the call utilise.
So this is when you are reporting in a tool which is built into Microsoft Excel and your drawing data directly from your live transactional NAV or Business Central database. So this is suited for, in particular, financial reporting and the financial close process because for example, if you make a transaction in your Source system, and then run the report you can see immediate results.
Today we are going to be focussing on Jet Analytics, which is a business warehouse automation product. And also in our suite of products we have Jet Budgets and also the Jet Hub, which is like a web-based portal for storing and distributing reports.
So if we just start with our top five things to know if you like, about Jet Analytics, first of all what Jet Analytics is? So it is a data warehouse/automation and business intelligence solution, which can be implemented in a short space of time and also at an affordable price. So what we have inside the solution is a prebuilt business intelligence project that is specific for NAV or Business Central and instead of for example, building a BI solution from, from scratch which can take several weeks, if not months.
Then this makes it quite affordable. And in addition, we have a suite of standard reports which you can which you can use against, against the cubes and I’ll show you a couple of examples of that.
So the pre-built project basically eliminates a lot of cost. Secondly, and I think there’s a misconception in you know, what is Jet Analytics versus Power BI, so we’ll basically explain that in more detail. But it basically means that you can use Power BI with Jet Analytics. That’s really what it’s built for and, and it means that business users can effectively deal with the data models which are in a much easier format for business users to understand building dashboards and reports without technical expertise.
Again, the cubes are much easier for business users to follow, so you don’t need to understand for example, the complex way in which the data is organised inside the ERP. And the cubes that we have as standard are based around specific business areas. So we have a finance cube, one for sales, procurement, receivables, payables and inventory. It’s possible as well to consolidate and report over multiple data sources.
It’s very common that a business will have not just their ERP as a source of transactional data. So it’s possible to blend data from multiple data sources.
And in addition, you know, if companies are upgrading from, for example, doesn’t have to be, but NAV 2009 to Business Central. It might be that you want to re-implement instead of taking across your historical transactions. But from a reporting point of view, you may want to, let’s say, join those two together and all of our reports and dashboards are built to work against the standard cube, so you can basically take those reports with you. So let’s move on, and just to distinguish again, you know, the difference between documents, reports, and business intelligence because they are, because one is not really a replacement for the other, they are used in in conjunction with each other.
So documents are effectively static documents that you would produce generally speaking from your direct from your ERP system. So order confirmations, invoices…
Yeah, those types of documents. Jet Reports is used for operator reporting, and that’s more where you’re triggering a report, ask a specific question of the ERP, and then it goes off and fetches the results that the report calls for. And analytics is more way that you are putting together a much larger data model, which is optimised for for speed, and it is suited for looking at data over a much longer length of time for example to see trends. So this is really you know, so we start let’s say on the left hand side with our database. Any ERP data base is quite a complex data model made up of lots of different tables, fields and that can be quite confusing for business users to understand. So moving to the middle box.
We take the relevant data out of the database and, and we basically organise that by topic and or subject if you like, and we just take the relevant data that we require for reporting. And we also calculate some fields that that you may need from a reporting perspective that you don’t have inside the ERP directly. And then from the data warehouse, we we produce our cubes, and then customers for example might have some additional requirements in terms of including fields that are maybe custom, or that type of thing.
But you know, sometimes it’s still, you’ve got the ability, let’s say, to add to the standard project that we have. This slide basically depicts the flow of the data. So starting in the let’s say top left hand corner with your Source database or databases. Okay, and the Jet data manager, we don’t show this today that this is the tool that basically manages the process of extracting, transforming the data from your source systems.
First into a staging database that you just see here, and then on from that into a data warehouse, so by the time the data gets into the data warehouse, the data is let’s say cleaned, prepared and it’s put into a structure where you can blend data from multiple data sources, and then from here, we can build the cubes and then in terms of delivery to the end users. You can choose your front end tool.
So for example, we can look at these cubes with Excel or for example Power BI, and I’ll show you examples of both. And this shows you, it’s just a visual graphic that basically shows you how you can link together data from your old ERP with your new implemented ERP, and have a single data warehouse. So you don’t lose the historical transactions for reporting purposes. Okay.
So, so what I’m going to do is just move on to a demo of the product, so you can just understand and see more about it. What I have here is one of the standard templates, which we make available for download from our website, so you can use this against the, against the standard cubes. So this is an income statement overview which basically is a consolidation of two different companies here. So right now I’m looking at the data from both companies, but for example, I can filter that down very very quickly.
And then just choose like a specific date, quarter, and just make some selections like this. And in a more detailed sheet, I’ve got the same the same kind of arrangement here where I can just make, make selections here. For example, 2017, you know, for the UK.
So we’ve got a range of different templates that you can use straight out of the box, but I think the thing to note here, is that really as soon as you make selections, I’m now no longer going to the source system to retrieve the results. I’ve already got a very very large data model built and optimized, if you like, for this type of reporting. Which is why we’re getting results, you know, pretty quickly when we make these selections. Now if I wanted to do ad hoc reporting against the same data model inside Excel, I can do that really easily.
So on the Jet tool bar, we then make available this pivot table option and I can choose the finance cube, which is what the previous Power BI template is based on, and here for example, I can just choose the fields that I want. So we’re we’re kind of in a standard Excel data model here. But if I want to look at the chart of accounts over a period of time, but then includes some some slices so I’ve got the same kind of interaction.
And I might want to just choose some of the selections here. Just bear with me.
Just such, I’ve got the ability to, to filter by some of these things. So if I want to have a look, for example, for revenue transactions, which are regular entries not closing ones, because I’ve got closing entries here for the UK and 2017. Then I can expand this out and I can see all of my transactions here, for example, for retail sales – and that should hopefully match let’s say with what I’ve got here.
So I’ve got 17 603. So I think one of the important things is to note that what I’m doing here is effectively reporting against the same the same cube of data, which I’m showing in Power BI, so I can be sure that that my numbers basically add up. But the reason that I might want to look at this in Excel is because I might want to split this information for example, by my Global Dimension code.
So I’ve got flexibility to choose whichever Dimension code that I want and we can also introduce into this.
The shortcut Dimensions, as well such that you can look at those as effectively, we change the data such that you’ve got, you know more Dimension codes than you’ve actually got let’s say in the ERP.
So for those of you that understand the structure of NAV or Business Central on the general ledger entry table, you’ve just got two Dimension codes, and sometimes that’s quite restrictive because people have got a requirement to analyse that by, by more than that. Okay. So let’s just close this one down. And what I’ll do is just do this the other way round. I’ll start now with a report which is an excel-based report which we provide again as part of their standard report suite.
And again, this is a Jet Report, but it’s one that integrates with a cube, so this one in particular is an inventory base report. So it looks at you know, obviously my interview value over a period of time. But again, I’ve got multiple companies in here. So if I want to look at just information for 2018 versus 2019, for example, I can select multiple years – and if I want to look at just a certain warehouse value or that type of thing, then it’s quite easy to do.
Okay, but if I take this away, you might look at insights into your data. Whereas here for example in 2019 Q1. I’ve got this kind of spike in you know, in my inventory value. Now this particular report, okay, allows me to look at particular product groups, but it might be quite a hard to kind of tie down exactly where that spike in in data is coming from.
Okay, so what I will do now with Power BI, if I just close this one down, and I’ll just start a new Power BI.
We’ll just quickly build something from scratch that basically compares – but we’ll look at the same data that’s supporting this report in Excel, but will use Power BI to do it.
So if we just close this.
And I can just go to get data from analysis services.
Press OK, and then in here, these are my cubes and I’ll choose the inventory cube. So this is a description of everything that’s inside this particular data model. And then once I’m inside Power BI I could start to build some things on the fly. So for example, if I just have a KPI and here you’ll see that I’ve got all of my Fields.
So if I take cost on hand, for example, in the whole data model. I’ve got 18 million and I can just choose to format this just slightly differently so we can see some more detail. So we’ll put this to none, and then if I want to let’s say, look at the date I can take my year value.
And just have that available here so I can put a filter against this. So at a very basic level if I start to choose different years, then I’ll start to see the inventory value across different years. And then what I’ll do, I want to see how that inventory value is basically split down by category.
So if I look at my item cards – I can pick. Sorry, beg your pardon. It was called product group.
And I want to again look at the cost on hand. Right, so here now, you can see, that under this particular product group emblems and pins. So this is an example data, but I can basically see that I’ve got a like a high quantity of inventory in this particular category. So if I just copy this and just put this down here, so I’ll just duplicate this this pie chart, but this one at the bottom, rather than Product group.
We’ll put this one at item level. And then if I put on here like a filter and we’ll just put just emblems and pins.
Then I can see, I’m right down now to the individual product that make up the majority of what makes up my inventory, so I can basically sort this for example by cost on hand and then I’ve got my biggest ones here. So you know just despite our best forecasts, you know, Cherry Finished Crystal Awards didn’t appear to be the best-selling product. And that’s really where we’re at inventory was sitting you know for that for that period. But again, this amount here that we’ve got, I mean if I now choose emblems and pins, which is where this where this kind of inventory spike came from 4659.
Exactly equal the number that I’ve got here in Power BI. So I think hopefully that helps explain to you how you can use the data much faster without going to your source system every single time, and how the data that is effectively produced by Jet Analytics allows you to analyse your trends and your data over a period of time. But again, it’s to stress, it’s not a replacement for Jet Reports.
Because that is more use for financial reporting, ad hoc reporting, and where you’ve got let’s say a tight integration between that that financial reporting and your source system because you want results for Jet Reports that the update immediately as soon as you’ve posted a transaction in the ERP. This type of analysis is really where you’re looking at information over a much bigger period of time.
Okay, so hopefully that has helped explain. I’ll just show one final slide here that just shows again some of the key points of Jet Analytics. The tool Jet Data Manager can also help you achieve things, for example, to govern your master data management.
The tool itself, which of course if customers are interested we can we can help show you a demonstration of the actual Jet Data Manager, which is the tool that manages the extract and the transformation of the data. But it can help for example by maintaining the project in a very governed way, and it can automatically produce documentation on the project as well. So if companies have got, you know audit requirements for GDPR or that type of thing it can help with that type of area as well.
So just to summarise, if companies want to be able to report on data from multiple data sources, or if you want to join up data from an older system to a new system, if you want to get started with Power BI very quickly with a data model that the business understands very quickly and easily, then really that is where our products are based. Our products don’t also require any specific technical skills. Everything that I’ve shown you is just integrating with the product as we as we tend to use it. So there’s no reliance on IT or somebody with like a high level of technical skill that may not understand the business requirement too well.
Okay, so I think I finished a little early Karen, so I don’t know if I can pass things back to you and then of course if I don’t know whether you’ve had any questions so far that anybody has typed in. Not so far. But if anybody does have any questions, if you could type them into the question box now and Rob will hopefully be able to answer them. If there is an answer that requires a bit of a longer explanation than we will get back to you via email offline afterwards.
But yeah, if there are any questions if you wouldn’t mind submitting a couple of them now that be great. Thank you.
Just give you a couple of minutes for that. Okay, thank you.
Okay, I’ve got one here. So it says so a data cube could be built combining data from NAV and Dynamics CRM? Yep, correct, and that is a very common scenario. So we have connectors for over a hundred data sources from Jet Data Manager.
So we utilise, it’s actually an external company called See Data, but for example if you wanted to take data from CRM or it could be that we see companies using things like Google Analytics a lot or external data. It could even be that people want to match up there sales trends next to what the weather conditions were at the time, or if you’ve got external factors that might influence it but yeah, certainly, you can you can basically join the data together.
So inside the actual data warehouse you could have for example, just as you described, a kind of blend of data from both different data sources as well as multiple companies as well. So if you are running reports directly in the NAV or Business Central system, you can only report on the company that you’re logged in at that time. So what we do is kind of take those barriers away if you like.
And then you can report on consolidated data, and the same goes really for Jet Reports or Analytics. But I think the important part with Jet Analytics, is that people are dealing with a cube that’s got all of your logic inside of it already. It’s the only thing really you’re doing with the front-end tools is you’re just doing the visualization part.
So all of your business rules, all of that logic, and sits inside the calculations and then you’ve got let’s say a single version of the truth. And that’s why it’s so easy that all of the numbers kind of add up between the solutions. So whereas I’m showing you the Power BI versus the Excel based reporting you can be pretty sure that that the numbers between those two systems add up for the different business users that want to use different front-end tools for different purposes. Okay. Another question is, can we build Power BI reports and publish it to Jet Analytics?
Yeah, yeah, what Jet Analytics does is it generates like a of cube, which is your data model that’s ready for use with Power BI but yes, and you can basically publish those Power BI reports that is relying on the data that comes from Jet Analytics exactly that yeah. The point being, is you don’t have to, I mean within Power BI itself, you haven’t got to connect to the raw data in the in the ERP and then and then do let’s say all of your table joins and that type of thing because that’s where a lot of companies kind of get stuck a little bit because you know, the ERP structure of the data is very disparate. You’ve got data coming from lots of different tables. So what we do is basically join those together and make a data model that is much easier for the business users to understand. So I think that’s where people struggle a little bit with Power BI.
Because the source data is not really in a format that’s optimized for reporting, that’s really optimized for data input which is why you know, the data is spread across lots of different tables.
Okay. Okay, so we’ll probably finish there with the questions but feel free to use either the survey at the end or drop me an email at the end. If you do have any further questions and we’ll be able to reply those offline. Okay, that’s great. Thanks Rob.
So just to finish with just a few things, so we hope you found this webinar interesting and informative as mentioned previously. This is the 23rd in the series of webinars, and we will be sending out email soon. So take a look at what we’ve got coming up. And if you’re interested in any of those pop onto our website and feel free to register. So thank you for attending, once I close this session a survey will appear. It would be great if you could respond with some feedback, and if you do have any further questions either about Jet Analytics or just about the webinars in general and feel free to email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you very much.