Five Ways to Turn Business Data into Business Insight
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Five Ways to Turn Business Data into Business Insight

posted in: Dynamics NAV, NAV, Power BI | 0

When you’re running a business that’s growing, it can be hard to have a complete view of your financial picture and overall performance. As you grow and add customers, suppliers and product lines, you need access to the information that matters most to your business. And every member of your team needs an accurate, timely look at what’s most important for their unique role.

In this blog, we’ll tackle the often-illusive topic of business intelligence (or BI), diving into the principles that will ensure both you and your team are armed with the information you need to manage and grow a better business.

Get Better, Not Bigger, Dashboards

Running a successful business depends on the ability to gain insight from business data and present information in a meaningful way. To be successful, your people need to transform data into actionable insight—no matter where they are located in the organisation. Microsoft Dynamics NAV helps them make informed decisions as a natural part of their everyday work experience by making the tools on their desktop even more effective, such as:

  • Role Based Reporting: Monitor current activity and compare it to historical performance and growth targets, giving your people access to specific reports related to their task or role.
  • Easy Access to Charts and KPIs: View business performance at a glance and drill into more detail when trends are spotted and you need additional information.
  • Ad-hoc Query and Analysis: Robust analysis capabilities, especially with a familiar tool like Microsoft Office Excel, enable your team to do ad-hoc queries on the fly without the help of IT. They can compare plans to actual, analyse that information, make the necessary adjustments, and then take action.

With business intelligence capabilities in Microsoft Dynamics NAV, you and your team can also be notified when key thresholds are hit, either through emails in your inbox or messages on your homepage. For example, establish the parameters that make the most sense for your business and get alerts when sales drop below expectations, inventory levels rise, or cash flow is a potential concern.

When you have the right insight and can take quick action, you can make the types of decisions that save and make real money.

Take The Burden Out of Business Intelligence With Self-service Reporting

If money were no object, you’d have a personal technology counsellor for every employee. That’s why balancing the cost of IT “overhead” with the powerful benefits of your IT team is so tricky for every business. Just imagine if all your employees could manage, obtain and act on data on their own. Your people would have all the info they need, and your thinly resourced IT teams could focus on the bigger technology picture of your entire business.

The reporting and analytics tools within Microsoft Dynamics NAV help you answer your specific business questions quickly through high-impact reports, charts and simple analysis designed to be easy, usable and adaptable for everyone. Put another way: you don’t have to be an analytics power user or software developer to get the reports you need.

Dynamics NAV has hundreds of out-of-the-box standard reports. Users have the ability to tweak and adapt these standard reports—changing fields, adapting terminology and adding inputs from other data sources. All without calls to the help desk. With a reporting, collaboration and distribution platform based on Microsoft SQL Server, Office and Power BI, you can take full advantage of your Microsoft investments and get the business insight you need. Again, without IT involvement.

Put the power of BI and reporting in your team’s hands, and you’ll watch their productivity (and IT’s) skyrocket.

Check out this video to see how better business insight can transform the way you work.

Get BI On The Fly

Making everything mobile is the mantra of nearly every business and certainly every IT department. And why not? When you give users the same flexibility and functionality in their business systems that they get in their personal lives, they’re happier, they’re more productive and your business reaps the benefits. And when it comes to business insight and reporting, you can put the information team members need in the palms of their hands, anytime they need it, wherever they are.

How does it work? A business solution from Microsoft uses Office and Microsoft SharePoint as a platform for collaboration and distribution and extends access to key information and reports users working from their phones or tablets. And with Microsoft SharePoint or OneDrive, users can securely save reports to the cloud, access them from their personal devices, and easily share them with other members of the team.

This safe and easy way to share data and insight will reward you with increased productivity and a level of service that will be the envy of your peers—and your competition. In our next entry, we’ll talk about what Big Data really means for small and mid-sized businesses and how to make it work for your company.

Transform Big Data Into Your Next Big Idea

Is there a hotter topic or bigger buzzword than Big Data? The amount of data and the mind-blowing pace at which it’s being created is unprecedented, but without the tools that can make sense of it all, Big Data is just a lot of ones and zeroes. So how do you enrich your data with advanced analytics to create real insight and ideas?

With a business intelligence platform based entirely on the Microsoft stack including SQL Server, Office and SharePoint, Microsoft Dynamics NAV gives every user the ability to analyse and manage a massive amount of data. This lets your team do real analysis on years of financial history, sales figures, cost structures, customer information, inventory levels and other business data and make sound projections about what you can expect in the weeks, months and years to come.

Taking analysis a step further, you can match your historical data with Bing’s maps and social search information, so you can take inventory price levels, for example, and match them against competitive prices, allowing you to analyse and plan more effectively. And with predictive analysis tools, you can identify your most profitable customers and products, allowing you to make valuable cross-sell and up-sell recommendations that improve both sales and customer satisfaction.

Your data is no good if it is lying dormant on a server somewhere. Microsoft Dynamics NAV lets you get at it and get into it, so you can create the big ideas that make Big Data such a big deal.

Make Information More Accessible With The Cloud

It’s been a race to the cloud with apps and tools for consumers and businesses. And while on-premise business intelligence (BI) systems that are all snuggled onto business-owned servers are still the norm, implementations of web-based and web-accessible BI tools are growing and soon will out-pace the traditional approach.

The cloud’s promises of accessibility for users and reduced IT workload are more than just marketing speak. They’re real benefits, even for small and mid-sized business. But you have to find the model that makes sense for the data security, storage and ROI needs of your business.

Microsoft’s cloud strategy is about choice. If you want to move your business intelligence, financial management and productivity tools to the cloud, great; if you prefer to use a hybrid approach and host only a portion of your solution, super; or if you’re ready to go all-in, AkiliAfrica offers on-premises, hosted or cloud-based options that meet your needs.

The reality here is that your approach to the cloud needs to match your business. AkiliAfrica can help determine what makes most sense today and what will set you up best for tomorrow.

Keeping tabs on the data that drives your business is an ongoing challenge for any growing company. This blog has covered how Microsoft Dynamics NAV gives you the tools to transform reams of data into useful insight and how easily accessible that insight can be to the people on your team.

Please contact us to learn more about how we can help you grow your business with AkiliFinance, AkiliTrade, and AkiliFlex.

Follow Paul Jackson:

IT Consultant

Based in Nairobi, Kenya

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