[GUEST BLOG] In this guest blog post, we are excited to share some proven Business Central reporting best practices from our amazing partners at Velosio! You will learn about some of the challenges that their Business Central cloud customers face when it comes to reporting and BI, and why one of their clients chose to embrace cloud reporting with Cosmos.
Most organizations are aware of the benefits of cloud computing by now: it’s the ticket to high organizational flexibility, security, and cost-effectiveness. Not to mention reliability and uptime. But why move to the cloud and upgrade your data reporting at the same time?
Your ERP system is designed to collect data, not analyze it. That’s why most companies invest in a third-party reporting and analytics solution right off the bat to simplify report creation, run advanced queries, and track performance metrics. Like other business applications, you can purchase reporting and BI software built in the cloud for the cloud.
Cloud reporting is a modern deployment model for financial and operational reporting, where your report authoring tools and data sources are hosted in the cloud and accessed via a web browser. While you typically have control over your permissions and data model, a cloud service provider like Microsoft Azure is responsible for managing the network and servers – keeping all software and security always updated. With cloud reporting, you pay for what you use, and you can easily scale your services and functionality when business increases without worrying about crashes or unmaintainable server activity on site.
Understanding the Limitations of Business Central Reporting
There is nothing wrong with Business Central reporting, it’s just too complicated for the typical business user. Business Central comes with two primary, built-in reporting features. The embedded, standard RDLC reports delivered out-of-the-box, and the recently updated ‘Account Schedules’ functionality, now called Financial Reporting. RDLC layouts are based on client report definition layout files (.rdl or .rdlc file types). The design concepts for RDLC layouts are similar to other layout types in that the layout determines what fields to show and how they’re arranged. However, designing RDLC layouts is more advanced than Word and Excel layouts. A salesperson might be able to create or modify a basic report in Word and Excel, but they wouldn’t be able to take advantage of RDLC report layouts, as they need to be familiar with using SQL Server Report Builder or Microsoft RDLC Report Designer.
To get the most out of your Business Central data, reporting should be something easily accessible and achievable to any member of your company. Unfortunately, reporting inside of Business Central is not built for everyday users – it’s meant for skilled developers and technical experts. Ultimately, this means that unless you plan to hire a developer with this niche skillset, you will likely end up paying for and relying on costly external developers and consultants to create and modify all your financial and operational reports in Business Central.
Need Better Reporting? Here are 4 Reporting Options for Business Central
One of the best parts about Business Central is the fact that as a Microsoft cloud platform, it seamlessly connects with other third-party reporting and analytics solutions. These are your
four options for reporting after you implement Business Central:
- Business Central: Set of basic financial and operational reports delivered standard with Business Central.
- Power BI: Interactive data visualization software across any data source offered from Microsoft.
- Cosmos: Lightning-fast reporting and analytics in Excel, built for Business Central Cloud.
- Build Your Own: Do-it-yourself approach to custom reporting and analytics.
At Velosio, we often recommend our clients go with option 3: Cosmos. Cosmos offers next-generation Business Central reporting that eliminates the usual bottlenecks and performance issues many on-premises third-party reporting tools suffer from. With Cosmos, users can quickly create reports or Power BI dashboards using optimized Business Central data, all in one place, providing a seamless, user-friendly experience.
Choosing Cosmos: Inside Freedom Tree Farms’ Decision for a New Reporting Solution
The switch from your current systems to a modern cloud reporting option with Cosmos and Business Central can offer immense savings, near-real-time reports, and enhanced features from your former system’s capabilities. Like many Velosio clients, Freedom Tree Farms relied heavily on a myriad of spreadsheets to track and manage inventory. As one of the largest American-owned and operated wholesale nurseries, Freedom Tree Farms implemented cloud-based Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central to improve operational visibility, streamline processes, and maximize profitability.
After installing Business Central, they decided that the reporting tool could not provide the strategic insights they needed to make improvements and grow their business. That’s when Velosio showed them an easy-to-use reporting tool built specifically for Microsoft Dynamics 365 BC Online, Cosmos.
Cosmos allows Freedom Tree Farms to easily drag and drop in customer sales information to build sophisticated reports. The company also uses Cosmos for data warehousing and builds Power BI reports for further analysis. “I now have a system that tells me if I want to grow by 30%, how much land I need to buy, and how many people I need, it’s a win-win,” says Freedom Tree CEO Matias Reyna.
Velosio & Cosmos: A Partnership Elevating Business Central Cloud Reporting
Velosio, recently named Microsoft’s 2023 Dynamics 365 Business Central Partner of the Year for the US and Worldwide, has partnered with Cosmos to enhance its repertoire of reporting solutions for Microsoft Business Central users like Freedom Tree Farms.
The new partnership between Cosmos and Velosio significantly transforms the Business Central reporting ecosystem, leveraging their combined technological expertise and strengths. Chief Revenue Officer of Cosmos, Anthony Bonaduce, commented on the partnership:
“We’re thrilled to partner with Velosio, a leader in the Microsoft Dynamics ecosystem. This collaboration allows us to offer an innovative, cutting-edge reporting solution to Microsoft Dynamics Business Central users, filling a gap in today’s market. By combining a real cloud reporting solution with Velosio’s delivery and support, customers will gain access to all their data in a central place, driving better business outcomes for everyone. It’s why we built this product, and we’re excited to share it.”
Without Cosmos, many Velosio clients have ended up spending an extensive amount time and money customizing report templates or building new reports from scratch to fit their reporting requirements due to the lack of flexibility and formatting capabilities in Business Central. Or they take matters into their own hands by exporting the report into Excel and manipulating the data to get the format they want. This approach not only takes up valuable time from your employees, but it can also lead to more complications concerning data validation and accuracy down the road.
To learn more about Velosio and what this partnership means to Business Central cloud customers, click here.