»BI FOR EVERYONE« This slogan has already made many users frustrated. “If something is for everyone, and it comes from Microsoft, than it is for me too.” Sadly, it is not true.
Great technology that is available and affordable
Microsoft is the biggest BI vendor because it sells technology, not solutions. SQL server, SharePoint and Excel are Microsoft’s BI products. The broad usage, availability, interoperability, affordability make these products the most attractive BI platform. But, sadly, the back-end part of BI has been forgotten or at least underserved.
Power Pivot: great product for very skilled users
It is not easy for an average user to connect to one of 1000 Microsoft Dynamics AX/NAV tables with Excel 2010 and create some basic data structure. Most of users do not know the ERP structure and are even not familiar with Pivot Table feature. Excel 2010 Power Pivot is an excellent product for an advanced Excel user that knows the underlying ERP structures.
BI for everyone
This slogan has already made many users frustrated. “If something is for everyone, and it comes from Microsoft, than it is for me too.” Sadly, it is not true. Microsoft is making technologies very accessible but Microsoft Dynamics user can not benefit from it directly.
BI inside Microsoft Dynamics
Remark: this is a short overview of BI concept inside Microsoft Dynamics AX/NAV, where we are focused on the back-end or structural part.
“Business value of this otherwise free OLAP cubes is basic.”
The idea about BI offering inside Microsoft Dynamics AX/NAV is that user will use a tool to create or extend predefined OLAP cubes. That is unlikely to happen in practice today as most users are new to BI concepts and would prefer a business ready solution. There is quite some work to fine tune the solution.
The solution comes as a free part of ERP. User’s first impression is that there are a lot of possibilities, but later find out that the real business value is basic.
What is the impact?
It is good that cubes are available for more reasons:
Selling Microsoft Dynamics ERP is easier as it includes BI. This is good for Microsoft.
Using free cubes that come as a part of ERP solution can help customers in basic analysis. This is good for the customer.
BI vendors have a reference to compare their back-end products to Microsoft’s. This is good for BI vendors.
“Product documentation explains how a measure is calculated. If a measure is not working properly, then this is a bug. If a measure is not working as expected, than this is a business issue.”