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It Is Time to Rethink Management Reporter for Microsoft Dynamics ERP

by Mark Polino
Director of Client Services, Fastpath, Integrated Business Group

I never thought I would see the day when people would long for the return of FRx, but that's where we are at the start of 2016. FRx 6.7 was buggy, old, and finicky, but it was pretty consistently buggy, old and finicky. It was also set in stone after 12 service packs, so when it broke, it tended to break in known ways. When Management Reporter (MR) was announced, the Dynamics community breathed a collective sigh of relief. Maybe now the Dynamics ERPs would get a modern financial reporting application we thought.

There were big plans to build Management Reporter into a true Corporate Performance Management (CPM) solution with both reporting and budgeting components. The use of SQL as a back end and the addition of a data mart promised improved reliability and performance. For a while there was a roadmap with a coherent direction for MR as well. Somewhere along the way Management Reporter got lost, or Microsoft got bored with it, or an executive realized that, while necessary, it doesn't make them any money.

Management Reporter 2012 was released in March of 2012 and was supposed to fix the initial release's shortcomings. Now, almost four years later, there are 14 cumulative updates, the rough equivalent of service packs, and users are still feeling pain. That's two more than FRx 6.7 for the accountants in the room.

The data mart continues to be buggy, and not in consistent ways, yet Microsoft actively discourages the direct connection option. The budgeting component was delayed repeatedly and then mercifully scrapped. This leaves Forecaster, another product in hospice care, as the official budgeting option for those with more than modest budgeting needs. The roadmap has disappeared.  The last one I can find online gets us to 2012.  Finally, Management Report seems to have ...

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About Mark Polino

Mark Polino is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a former Microsoft MVP (2007-2018) for Business Solutions. He is the author or coauthor of 5 books related to Microsoft Dynamics GP.  Mark also maintains the Dynamics GP focused website DynamicAccounting.net. He speaks and writes regularly about ERP related topics. Mark has been a controller and CFO for a division of a publicly traded company and he has  worked as a consultant implementing ERP solutions. Mark holds additional certifications including Certified Information Technology Professional (CITP), Certified in Financial Forensics (CFF) , Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA). Dynamics Credentialed Professional for Dynamics GP 2015 (Core Install and Core Financials), Xero Certified. He holds a bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Central Florida and an MBA from Rollins College. Mark lives with his family in Florida.

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Jeff
Submitted by Jeff Petersen on Tue, 01/05/2016 - 08:12 Permalink

Just use AFA and everything will be A-OK

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Les
Submitted by LesWrightCMA on Tue, 01/05/2016 - 09:06 Permalink

Thanks Mark. To quote an old Tiffany song, "It could have been so beautiful"! A true client-server, SQL based Dynamics CPM solution that was to replace not just FRx, but MS Forecaster, as well as, Microsoft's Enterprise Reporting solution. I find that many of our clients' CPM needs continue to be too far ahead of MR; and even though unlimited users now come free, more and more are forced to invest in alternative solutions that work. You can find more of my thoughts on MR online in the following places: Personal Blog: http://dynamicscpmblogger.blogspot.ca BDO Solutions BA Blog: http://www.bdosolutions.com/ca/insights/category/software/bi/ LinkedIn: http://ca.linkedin.com/in/leswrightcma If you're looking for an alternative, my personal blog is a good place to review for background information. Feel free to reach out! Sincerely, Les

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Ed
Submitted by edodesu1 on Tue, 01/05/2016 - 09:59 Permalink

The truth is spoken. I went with BI360. The learning curve was pretty severe, but once the 'light went on' I couldn't be more pleased with the results.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Jan
Submitted by jharrigan on Tue, 01/05/2016 - 14:48 Permalink

I'll echo Victoria's AMEN!! I've been telling people for years to look at options, to not to accept MR just because it's the official offering. "Management Reporter is not good enough." Couldn't have said it better myself. Thank you Mark! Jan Lenoir Harrigan http://FRxBuzz.com

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Tom
Submitted by volleydad on Wed, 01/06/2016 - 09:12 Permalink

This is a great start to the list of problems with Management Reporter and yes I do work for a firm that one of the alternatives to MR and Forecaster. The other problem that Microsoft has never addressed is to get the "Management Reporting" into MR! By that I mean reporting from Payables, Receivables, Inventory, Purchase Orders, etc. Give users the ability to Cost Accounting with Inventory data, detailed Cash Requirements with Payable and Receivable due dates and many other reports with data from the modules of Dynamics not called General Ledger, or worse the General Ledger data in the Data Mart. Tom Franks Solver 310-691-5308

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Bradley
Submitted by bbertchie on Wed, 01/06/2016 - 10:36 Permalink

In my opinion - PerformancePoint should have been the go forward option.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Jeff
Submitted by jefflfrye on Thu, 01/07/2016 - 12:56 Permalink

I have been working under the assumption that the effect MR was having on my entire GP environment was an indication of something I or our server or SQL setup was causing. Since turning on that stupid data mart I have started receiving hate mail from GP users. My MR users generally do not use GP that much so they are happy with the move from FRx. My organization really does not do much of any intercompany reporting so the data mart does not make much sense. Jeff Frye Systems Analyst

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Heather
Submitted by heatherr on Thu, 01/07/2016 - 13:35 Permalink

I was our FRx expert for our company - now, I don't even know how to open MR. That probably reflects the fact that even though they have to pay for it, most of our sites - new and those who are upgrading - go for BI360.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)