image

New Year’s Resolution: Gain more from NAV in 2010 with analytics

Author: Steve Zangari, General Manager – UK, Zap

Get fit, cut down on drinking, quit smoking, drink less caffeine…. We’ve all been there, done that (possibly more than once). This New Year’s Eve, put your NAV hat on and resolve to do something positive in 2010 to gain even more value from Microsoft Dynamics NAV – with analytics.

Why? ERP is a major investment that improves operational efficiencies. It produces a huge number of transactional records – and if you can easily analyse these, you can literally breathe new life into your business and extend the value it provides. These are my top five reasons to add advanced analytics to NAV in 2010:

1. Understand what’s going on in your business
I talk to so many people who want better visibility into what’s going on in their business. To understand their costs, profitability, product lines, sales – whatever is relevant to optimising performance. They are frustrated because they know they need to stay on top of trends, issues, and opportunities, but it’s difficult to gain instant access to these insights. Even customers with hundreds of reports find this hard, because they don’t have time to trawl through reports to figure out what’s new and what’s changed.

2. Automate reporting cycles
Companies are often amazed when they look at how much time and cost goes into producing reports, especially when they factor in management reporting such as board reports. Reporting workflows that rely on technical resources to produce and update reports can be frustrating and expensive, particularly for departments such as finance that have high reporting needs. The use of analytics can streamline reporting workflows and automate routine tasks – and significantly reduce reporting overheads.

3. Start asking WHY?
Reports are good at telling you ‘what’ happened, but you need to be able to ask ‘why’ – to quickly find out the cause of changes in performance. If you can free your staff from manual reporting as well as equip them to run ad-hoc analysis, you are empowering them to contribute strategic advice and insight that can actually make a difference to performance. Companies that introduce analytics often comment that with more visibility often comes a cultural change, where employees at all levels have more frequent and open discussions about performance and strategies for improvement.

4. Prepare for economic recovery
As we’ve learnt the hard way in 2009, the climate in which we operate in can change at the drop of a hat. Companies must be agile to adapt to changing conditions, and 2010 will be no different. Even the most established companies must have constant visibility into changes in performance so they can make informed decisions about strategy. While 2009 might have been about clamping down on costs and working harder to achieve sales, 2010 should see us preparing for future growth. How easy is it for you to monitor changing patterns in profitability, sales, and product demand? 

5. Gain a competitive advantage

We’re always looking for an edge over the competition. But global competition, online business and other forces are making finding a competitive edge harder. To quote Davenport and Harris from the book Competing on Analytics: “Many of the previous bases for competition are no longer available…What’s left as a basis for competition is to execute your business with maximum efficiency and effectiveness, and to make the smartest business decisions possible. And analytical competitors wring every last drop of value from business processes and key decisions.”

Don’t just take it from me, read this article on ‘ERP and BI: A Match Made in Heaven, If You're in Data Hell’.

And if you want to see analytics in action, take a look at Zap’s Business Analytics for Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

See you next year!

About Zap

Zap is a global software company that creates out-of-the-box solutions for Microsoft Dynamics to provide users with advanced analytics – dashboards, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), scorecards and reports. Zap’s Business Analytics for Microsoft Dynamics solutions maximise an organization’s investment in their CRM and ERP business systems, and enable a rapid return on investment, even for heavily customised Microsoft Dynamics implementations. Zap was awarded the 2009 Microsoft ISV/Software Solutions Innovation Partner of the Year. For more information, go to www.zaptechnology.com