Corporate Strategy & Business Intelligence

Business intelligence has been around in various guises since the 1950s. In fact, back in 1958 an article entitled ‘A Business intelligence System’ appeared in an IBM research journal and the BI concept was born.

In a nutshell, business intelligence evolved over the years from the early Decision Support Systems (DSS) and Executive Information Systems (EIS) that would albeit primitively, present a series of facts as part of a process towards achieving the desired goal. As its decision-making benefits became an increasingly integral part of operational processes, a new leap was made and data collection and rationalisation were usurped.  Data-driven analytics now took centre stage in the corporate strategy’s secret weapon armoury.

Despite the BI plaudits that have amassed alongside its evolutionary journey, it’s an often-cited fact that many business intelligence projects fail. Which is obviously frustrating when you factor in the cost, time and resource burdens associated with the implementation. Ultimately, when you consider the cost of not doing BI effectively, that may well be a harder corporate cross to bear. Implementing a proven, robust business analytics solution that’ll help you see your data in new ways and enable you to share it across your organisation is the only way to bring your data – and your operational efficacy to life.

Introducing Microsoft Power BI

When it comes to secret weapons in the field of business intelligence, Microsoft’s Power BI will give you everything you need to take you from data to actionable insights in minutes with the accelerated decision-making your organisation depends on.

It’s a suite of business analytics tools that are designed to deliver the insights you need to make a winning difference in your corporate strategy. Microsoft Power BI will connect to a multitude of data sources, simplify your data prep and drive ad hoc analysis in a way that suits you in just one view – whenever and wherever you need to see it.

You’ll have access to a range of stunning reports that can be generated within just a few minutes and published for everyone to see on the web and across their mobile devices. BI Tools including personalised, highly interactive dashboards that offer a 360-degree view of the business and which can be scaled across your operation are backed by the governance and security you’d expect from the Microsoft family of products.

Key to its appeal, however, is the way this unique technology-driven process integrates with Microsoft Dynamics NAV. Dynamics NAV is a hugely flexible platform that serves the needs of small and medium-sized businesses, giving them total control over their financial and business data. Implement Microsoft Power BI to work alongside Dynamics NAV and the ability to collaborate seamlessly and make informed decisions in an instant offers an undeniable edge to forward-thinking CEOs and CFOs.

A suite of Power BI tools for effortless strategic decision-making

power bi devicesAt its heart, Microsoft Power BI enables users to make informed decisions, fast. BI reporting capabilities are unparalleled with next-generation visualised reports that enable users to see their data in radically new formats. Reports are created by data that’s accessed wherever it’s stored and are ready to be explored with interactive visualisations that deliver actionable results at a glance. Reports and dashboards are easy to publish and share inside and outside an organisation and, all the time, collaboration with team members ensures strategic decision-making becomes an effortless process.

The business intelligence product suite is loaded with features and tools that integrate naturally with other platforms and Microsoft Power BI apps that offer easy access to insights from the desktop to mobile to tablet – all fully optimised and ready to embed into other apps and websites.

Power BI Desktop

Power BI Desktop is the BI reporting solution for organisations that want to create rich, interactive reports with visual analytics that tell the data story. It boasts a drag-and-drop canvas, more than 85 modern data visuals and a vast range of themes, formats and layout tools. Data is accessed from hundreds of on-premise and cloud-based sources, including Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.

Data is ingested, transformed, integrated and enriched in a fraction of the time taken using traditional reporting processes thanks to Power BI’s self-service Power Query. BI tools such as quick measures, grouping, forecasting and clustering mean businesses can delve deeper into their data and locate patterns that would otherwise be invisible.

Power BI Pro

Power BI Pro is designed to create a data culture that’s built on collaboration, direct connectivity to data and integration with Microsoft solutions, such as Dynamics NAV and Dynamics 365 that get users creating visualised reports in minutes.

Every user in every role can build reports, share insights and ask questions in a natural language with predictive visualisations that appear as you type. Hundreds of custom and community-sourced data visuals are supported by the powerful Quick Insights feature that uncovers hidden patterns, associations and trends with ease.

Data is accessed via Cortana and operated on data stored in Azure Data Lake Storage while Azure Data Services ensure advanced analytics and AI is fully enabled. All data is safeguarded to meet the most stringent industry compliance standards and certifications and access are controlled by the user with role-specific insights and row-level security.

Power BI Premium

Business intelligence goes full-throttle with Power BI Premium. In addition to a raft of tools and associated apps, Premium gives users an even more consistent performance alongside support for large data volumes. This is a unified self-service and enterprise BI platform that gives unrivalled business intelligence flexibility for everyone within the organisation.

There’s no requirement for individual licences for each recipient, regardless of whether they’re inside or outside the business. Microsoft Power BI Premium is a modern, unified BI solution in which every reporting type, distribution format and embedding option is based on a single platform with central governance, security and management. The reporting possibilities with Power BI Premium are endless.

Power BI Mobile

With native mobile BI apps for Windows, iOS and Android, users can stay connected to their data wherever they are. The ability to access, view and share live Power BI dashboards and reports means everyone can keep on top of KPIs and insights securely. Power BI Mobile gives a 360-degree view of all data garnered from across the entire operation on the go.

Power BI Embedded

Power BI Embedded is designed to make it easy for users to set up their own analytics environment, embed analytics and publish production in an environment where capacity can be purchased to fit the precise needs of any organisation.

Power BI Report Server

Power BI Report Server is an on-premise solution with the flexibility to move to the cloud when the time is right. Included with Power BI Premium, Report Server gives access to rich, interactive reports and the enterprise reporting capabilities of SQL Server Reporting Services. Microsoft Power BI Report Server is based on a proven, enterprise-grade platform with all the dedicated capacity and enhanced performance you’ll ever need.

What can you expect from a Microsoft Power BI implementation?

The good news is that you can implement Power BI fast and at a low cost because it integrates so easily with your existing Microsoft solutions – none more so than with Dynamics NAV. Regardless of the number of users, an effective Power BI implementation offers the peace of mind that comes with a predictable cost and the undeniable ROI opportunities afforded by high calibre analysis and actionable insights.

Partnering with a Microsoft Gold Partner, such as TVision, will give you the assurance and support of a credible supplier with a commitment to the Microsoft brand. You’ll also have the confidence that the Power BI product you’re adopting will be a perfect fit for your ERP platform and that the deployment will set you in good stead for the transformative change ahead.

Press ahead with an uninformed business intelligence implementation and you’ll likely find yourself in the domain of those whose business intelligence projects have failed – often catastrophically so. Pre-implementation, your task is to steer clear of the key BI investment perils:

  • Data silos, insufficient governance of ownership and fettered access to critical data – understanding and resolving data inconsistencies is critical to a successful BI deployment.
  • Poorly supported business involvement and lack of buy-in – no full agreement of objectives and benefits to be derived will render your BI implementation haphazard at best and certainly not fit for purpose.
  • Substandard operational performance that’s based on overly complex CRM/ERP solutions that, themselves, haven’t delivered what was promised. This is not the base on which to deploy your BI project.
  • An unrealistic scope of deliverables – plan, plan, plan or your deployment will be fraught with insurmountable challenges and the potential for failure.

With risks such as these at play, your choice of Power BI implementation partner is critical. The harmonisation to be achieved when deploying Power BI with Microsoft Dynamics NAV cannot be underestimated – a Power BI/Dynamics NAV implementation consultant who speaks your language and has experience in your market sector and business model will ensure the common pitfalls are avoided from the off.

Once a definitive business case for Microsoft Power BI has been established, your implementation partner will take a hand-in-hand approach to ensure everyone understands their role in the deployment process and that expectations are managed and met. Your partner will work with you, the program users and stakeholders as you set project plans, timescales and objectives and identify key milestones for sign-off points.

This is a trusted, pragmatic methodology and it’s key to business intelligence implementation success. If you want to find out more about implementing Microsoft Power BI and how it complements Dynamics NAV, contact us and we’ll arrange a free demonstration to give you the bigger picture.