Reporting And Business Intelligence Solution For Microsoft Dynamics AX Without A Data Warehouse?

Business Intelligence and Reporting Solutions for ERP systems like Dynamics AX or any other ERP system in the market should be powered by a true data warehouse and ETL tool which enables you to build OLAP cubes without technical expertise.

I know, ERP vendors and also BI (Business Intelligence) vendors tell you otherwise and proclaim they would give you self-service Business Intelligence without a data warehouse.

This could end in a costly and time-consuming exercise for you, as you need highly experienced technical consultants as soon you want to apply any changes or additions to these so-called “out of the box” solutions, which are directly linked to the ERP application. In many cases, it will cost you more to integrate an additional data source into your BI solution than the initial cost of the set-up of the out of box solution. It will end in a lot of frustration of your business end-users, because what they get “out of the box” is not what they really need.

There is a new trend in the Business Intelligence market, particularly for Microsoft based ERP and CRM applications: start with a front-end agnostic data warehouse and cube building tool and use Microsoft tools like Excel, Reporting Services and SharePoint to begin with your Business Intelligence Solution.

I hear you saying now, but it does cost a lot of money and takes a lot of time to build a data warehouse and OLAP cubes. That’s not true anymore. Data Warehouse solution providers, particularly some who work with Microsoft SQL-Server, are beginning to offer drag and drop user interfaces to build a data warehouse without writing any SQL code. Just make sure, that the product you choose also offers the option to programmatically build the OLAP cubes as well with no technical expertise necessary.

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There is little question that a functional business intelligence system can help your organization understand performance, identify trends and make strategic decisions to drive the organization forward. However, critical information is often isolated in a variety data sources, e.g. disparate spreadsheets, ERP system(s), POS, Planning and Forecast systems, HR systems and many more. The larger and more dispersed an organization and its information, the more analytics support it generally needs. But also smaller and mid size companies are facing similar challenges. Therefore, a data warehouse which combines data from various sources is the vital element for a successful business intelligence and reporting solution.