Microsoft give SME’s world class reporting

Business Intelligence for most small to medium companies today, is regarded as difficult to use, costly, inflexible, and fragmented, that’s if they use it at all. To many companies do not have confidence in their ability to get the information they need quickly and accurately – its their number one complaint about ERP systems.

Some have invested in tools to extract information from companies like Cognos and Business Objects. These have had five figure price tags and then needed almost as much consultancy as the ERP main system took to get anything sensible out.

For several years Technology Management have used the tools that came ‘free’ with SQL Server to provide analysis and reporting capabilities against Dynamics systems. Often front ended by Excel pivot tables they allowed customers to use flexible drag and drop reporting. SQL 2008 moved the game on because it allowed us to build KPI type dashboards and visualise data in much more comprehensible way. Its good but if we are honest using Excel as front end tool doesn’t make it as polished as we wanted so we’ve been looking for a better affordable solution.

Microsoft had much better product called Performance Point Server, great tool but the £20k server plus £120 per client cost has restricted it to enterprise companies.

The great news is that Microsoft have now discontinued Performance Point Server as a separate tool and bundled it into SharePoint, its going to be part of the Portal product from now on.

That means that Dynamics customers can obtain the Performance Point and SharePoint server tools for the cost of the Dynamics Client for Office (DCO) licences.

That’s means that you get £30k (Performance Point and SharePoint Servers)  worth of tools for just £99 (for Standard) or £198 (for Enterprise)per user. In addition there is a current offer of 3 licences for the cost of 1 which really makes it too good to miss.

Every Dynamics customer should buy into this. From where I’m sitting every customer will end up with it eventually, its just a question of when.  SharePoint 2007 is good but the 2010 version coming next year is awesome. 

SharePoint will become as common as Windows Server in the future, customers who have bought into it just find more and more uses for it. With these new tools included as well its going to be almost mandatory.

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