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Customized Dashboards in Microsoft Dynamics NAV

Korcomptenz - Total Transformation Blog

Posted on April 13, 2018

How to Deploy Tailored NAV Dashboard Solutions to Your Organization's Unique Goals

Business Intelligence

Dashboards have been one of the highest priorities in the Business Intelligence (BI) marketplace since Gartner's 2013 Financial Executive International CFO Technology Study. Today's fast-paced business demands require decision-making to be user friendly and accessible for all levels of the company. Dashboards, scorecards, and similar tols make company performance analysis straightforward. More specifically, dashboards are business intelligence visualizations of company data. They utilize key performance indicators (KPIs) to demonstrate your organization's trends, successes, and challenges – either collectively, departmentally, or focused on a project.

BI dashboards get their name from the automotive industry, where clusters of instruments (or actually virtual instruments in the modern world) allow drivers to make educated, real-time decisions based on the speed, temperature, and RPMs. In a similar way, BI dashboards empower corporate decision-makers to understand the overall health of the company at a glance. Moreover, dashboards in the BI world are crafted for interaction, adjustment, and interpretation, inviting drill-to and drill-down capabilities, allowing you to adequately understand the data from Dynamics NAV to make the best decisions about the future of your company.

Let's look at some technology and understand before investing in a functionality upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

Primarily, dashboard solutions can pull their information from disparate sources. You can produce dashboards live from Dynamics NAV, analyzing real-time data. This option empowers users to know how the company is presently performing. The ability to analyze data in real-time from NAV is optimal when managers, CFOs, or accountants must have real-time reports. They are also helpful to smaller organizations that might not have the time and money needed to manage a BI database, like an online analytical processing (OLAP) cube or a data warehouse.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV

On the other hand, larger corporations probably need something a little faster and more stable than just integrating live from Dynamics NAV. An OLAP cube or data warehouse integration allows larger teams to generate dashboards without the sometimes slow data queries from NAV for real-time analysis. The data storage source integration is perfect for high performance BI. However, replicating data from NAV to the OLAP cube or data warehouse is a requisite. Pulling from a stable BI data storage source ensures that the Dynamics NAV server does not have to slow down.

At the same time, you can also consider the hybrid solutions that offer both methods. There are several solutions that empower users with the ability to produce dashboards live from NAV and/or pull from a static data source. Real-time analyses are usually utilized for important operational data reporting, as in inventory or sales analysis where department heads may require up-to-the-minute information. Other data visualizations only require periodical updates because they are focused on routine analysis (weekly, monthly, quarterly), so utilizing an OLAP cube or Data Warehouse integration is sufficient.

There are additional aspects that you should consider when implementing the right product.

Microsoft Dynamics NAV

Data visualization solutions work on different technology platforms, and it is essential to comprehend the differences. Some third-party dashboards run on a proprietary server. These all rely on a vendor-specific interface, resulting in a potentially big learning curve for those that are used to Excel. Some products wow with their graphical capabilities but require an education on unique formatting and functionalities. Excel and Dynamics NAV come equipped with their own dashboard options but are organically restricted in their abilities because dashboards are not the focus of either product. There are add-in products that also function within Excel.

Nirmal Ephraim

ERP Functional Consultant

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