Blog > From data to insight with Business Central
From data to insight with

Business Central

This article demonstrates how Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and Power BI can help your finance and accounting team convert data into coherent, visually immersive, and interactive insights that enable faster and more informed decisions.

As business leaders, we  often want to understand causes, effects, lead metrics, tracking signals, when to act and  when not to act. We look for solutions that could help us make data-driven decisions as we continue to operate within a climate of uncertainty. But we also struggle to find the data we need due to data being scattered across multiple systems or buried in old school closed ERP systems.

Thankfully, Dynamics 365 Business Central disrupted the market and changed all of that. It has helped over 175,000 ERP customers in connecting their data to actionable insights that have impacted real, bottom-line performance.

What is Dynamics 365 Business Central?

Business Central is a rich, full featured ERP aimed at the SME market, and leverages the vast Microsoft technology stack which includes Power BI, Power Automate, and Excel (of course).  Additionally, intelligence services can be leveraged to enable the mining of vast amounts of financial and operational data to help drive decisions.

Here are a few examples where Business Central allows for user-centric analysis and beyond:

1, Beyond Reporting in Business Central

Traditional reporting in most business refers to financial reports and operational reports. Most modern enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems will have an abundance of these and of course Business Central does too. However, many business questions are ad-hoc, and the ability to analyse your data within the application and not having to even run reports at all is a key strength of D365 Business Central.

For example, by using dimensions and filters in various views (that can be saved), you can avoid the need for running a report. This is great if you have a question and know where the answer might be. In Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central, you can do this lightning quick and once you have the results, you can drill-down to the source transactions.

SOCO Microsoft Business Central

If you’re looking for more traditional reporting, these are all supported with options to print or export to Excel. For more structured reporting Dynamics 365 Business Central has great tools called Financial Reports and Inventory Analysis Reports that allows users to create custom row and column layouts. These layouts allow you to aggregate, perform calculations, pull in actuals & budgets just like traditional reporting but with the advantage being able to choose what you want to see and how it’s combined.

Microsoft Dynamics Business Central Demo

These analysis reports when run can be exported to Excel for further analysis or be printed or distributed as PDF documents. Since these reports can be setup by users, they have almost limitless possibilities.

They can also be shared using the KPI Webservice that allows the information you select to be shared with external reporting tools such as Power BI.

SOCO Microsoft Business Central Demo

Another area where Business Central provides the ability to analyse trends and compare actuals to budgets is the Analysis Views. Here we can slice and dice by the various reporting dimensions and drill down to the source records for further analysis.

All these methods are standard features and are within the user’s control to manage.

Microsoft Business Central Chart

2. Charts and the role centre

The Business Central role centre is designed to take common metrics that you need and present them using cues.

The purpose of these is to highlight and provide guidance on the items and actions that require attention.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central Chart roles

In addition to that Business Central includes in-built chart functionality on the role centre such as the Business Performance chart (pictured).

These charts also provide the ability to drill down to the source data if needed.

3. Power BI

Sometimes the analysis needs are more complex, and maybe the information is a combination of financial, operational, and even information from a different system. For these cases we have Power BI.

The Power BI platform makes it easy to connect, ingest, and model data from multiple sources with many pre-built connectors. It enables you to visualise in real-time, embed Power BI in MS Teams, or even embed Power BI in Business Central.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 business central integration with Power BI

Dynamic reporting, detailed visualisations, and multi-layered analytics are all features of Power BI. The combination of Microsoft’s ERP system, Business Central, and Power BI, along with other data sources, enables users to make full use of their data. The benefits of the combination are clear:

  • Time: Less time making reports and more time to make the decision you need
  • Ease of Use: Present complex data in meaningful ways for others to consume.
  • Consistency: One version of data truth for all, no more copies of spreadsheets
  • Performance: Boost operational effectiveness from better decisions

You can develop a deeper understanding of your business operations through Power BI, and with this insight you can make data-driven decisions, increase productivity, and improve business performance.

By bringing a powerful ERP solution and class-leading BI together, along with productivity tools in the familiar M365 suite – Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central is the ideal ERP to help you make better decisions, enhance productivity, and improve your bottom line.

Contact SOCO today to learn how you can turn your data into actionable insight.

Share this article

Let's talk