Jason Chance, Senior Programmer/Analyst at Seventh Generation and Business Intelligence and Reporting Track Leader for NAVUG Forum, guest blogs today on what the BI and Reporting Track has to offer end users at NAVUG Forum, the annual NAV end-user conference held in Seattle, October 15-18 2012.
Without fail, whenever I lead a NAV roundtable discussion or training class, people talk about the reporting. I’ve only met a handful of people who are completely happy with their business reporting and most of them have spent significant resources developing reporting solutions outside of NAV. But before you throw in the towel on reporting in NAV, and spend a lot of time and money, you owe it yourself and your organization to understand what’s available in NAV. This is where NAVUG Forum 2012 comes in.
NAVUG Forum is an excellent event led by NAV users and professionals. It’s not a sales pitch. It’s not a glossy brochure full of fluff. It’s real NAV users sharing their experience and insight gained through years working with NAV. In the reporting and BI track we’ll focus how you can get the most out of the existing tools in NAV. With sessions like Reporting 101 and Reporting 102, you’ll learn how to create and modify NAV reports. Sessions on the Role Tailored Client will show you how to use the RTC to customize the data that you see in NAV. The Analysis Views and Jet Reports session will highlight two often under utilized reporting tools in NAV. The NAV 2013 sessions will give you a preview of what to expect in the newest version of NAV.
If you have issues and concerns with your reporting capabilities, chances are someone else has the same concerns, who knows, maybe they’ve already solved their problems. Come to NAVUG Forum, learn from your peers, build a network of colleagues that can help you get the most out of NAV.
See you in Seattle.
If you’re a Microsoft Dynamics NAV user, like I am, there are a whole ton of choices to make regarding financial reporting.
- Account Schedules, the native financial reporting package that reports on general ledger transactions.
- Analysis Reports, also a native NAV reporting option, that extends reporting to item ledger entries from the sales and purchasing tables.
- Object Designer, the native C/SIDE development tool used for the NAV application, which includes a report writer.
- SSRS (SQL Server Reporting Services), a Microsoft reporting tool package that uses the SQL programming language.
- PowerPivot, the free Microsoft Excel add-on that became available with Microsoft Office 2010, allowing data to load from NAV (and other data sources) through a direct connection to Excel.
- JET Express, a former ISV (Independent Software Vendor) reporting solution, released for NAV 2009 in September 2011 as available for NAV users, and included with the Microsoft BREP (Business Ready Enhancement Plan), instead of as a separately purchased add-on solution.
- Management Reporter, recently released by Microsoft on March 31, 2012 as a free add-on for all Microsoft Dynamics ERPs with the caveat that, for NAV users, it is only available if you already had the licensing for FRx.
- Any large number of additional ISV solutions, sold as separately purchased add-ons to NAV.
As the Controller for my company, it’s my job to stay informed on what’s available and determine which choices are the best possible given the available skills sets of the employees who use them and the overall cost. It’s also my job to make sure I know what the future direction of the ERP software is, so I can advise on decisions we make as a company with that knowledge in hand.
Take note, that from the list above, two major options have been launched in the last seven months. My feeling, as a NAV end-user, is that Microsoft has not delivered a clear direction for their financial reporting strategy for the NAV product, and has left the onus of choice on the user.
I have to admit, I’m the kind of person who likes choices, and I’ve sampled every single option on the list above in one way or another. The reporting strategy for my company is based on three principles: 1) the report must balance to the general ledger, 2) it must be consistently replicated in future periods, 3) it must be able to be maintained by someone in the company with the right skill set.
So yeah, we’ve got a lot to talk about.
I’ve used account schedules as my primary financial reporting solution, at two different companies, since 2004. I have the opportunity to teach about this reporting tool through NAVUG, doing webinars throughout the year, speaking at the annual conference, and even teaching classes for NAVUG Academy. For a while, I’m going to talk about account schedules here, but you’ll occasionally come across other topics as we learn more about the NAV financial reporting landscape, and where it will take us next.