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Retreat, Retrench, or Replace: What To Do With Management Reporter

by Mark Polino
Director of Client Services, Fastpath, Integrated Business Group
January 06 2016

In my last piece, I expressed my view that it was time to rethink Management Reporter (MR). Even if Microsoft decides to go that route, it is going to take a while to build a replacement. How should users deal with Management Reporter woes now?

Essentially, there are three strategies for Microsoft Dynamics ERP users to consider today: retreat, retrench, or replace. But be warned: none of them are perfect.


Companies that aren't yet using Management Reporter can stay on FRx. Microsoft won't tell you that, and in truth, it's not a great option, but it is an option. FRx is no longer supported. Many of the building blocks of FRx are starting to have problems running on newer operating systems and with newer ERP versions. To get it to run with GP 2015, for example, you need to hunt down and replace a specific DLL. But it does work and you don't have to migrate your reports; they just run. For companies already using MR or companies not previously licensed for FRx, this isn't a viable option. There's no way to get a new FRx license or reverse migrate MR reports to FRx.

Another option is to use the financial reporting built into some packages. The Dynamics GP option is just awful and I've been told that a similar offering in NAV isn't much better. The problem is that your reporting needs have to be pretty simplistic for this option to work. If they are that simple, you might be okay with MR.

Pros: No additional cost; Potentially no conversions

Cons: Unsupported; Maybe difficult or impossible to run with new ERP versions


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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 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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Submitted by LesWrightCMA on Wed, 01/06/2016 - 15:23 Permalink

Another problem with 'Retreat' is that existing clients have been unable to purchase new FRx licenses for some time (i.e more than a few years); and I believe that new clients are not shipped FRx keys. Also, along with the cost of 'Replacing' comes more choice, as there are many alternatives and organizations need to review their needs and requirements carefully. My two cents. Les

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Submitted by heatherr on Thu, 01/07/2016 - 13:42 Permalink

I think the key to this is also the comment with replace that the options are broader. Most of our sites choosing BI360 do so because the reporting is nicer, it is Excel based, it reports on sub-ledgers and you can link in all the pretty graphics etc that you want. You can then step your way up to full data warehouse reporting from multiple systems if and when you choose. The budgeting feature is definitely also popular. I think the biggest problem with MR (aside from all the functionality ones), is that is simply does what FRx did (albeit, nowhere near as well) and that is straight GL reporting. Most businesses - even small ones - want more than that.

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Submitted by MikeLupro on Thu, 01/14/2016 - 03:07 Permalink

The cost of BI360, and the investment you need to place in (transient) employees, makes this option one of the most expensive available. It looks cool but I've had two clients who have seriously underutilized this offering. One client spent $5000 to $8000 training a guy who left two weeks later. Then they spent another $5,000+ to train another employee who left after about six months. Unless a principal in the company takes ownership of knowing how to make BI360 do its tricks its an option I suggest avoiding. Mike Lupro - MCP
Submitted by svallarian on Fri, 01/08/2016 - 18:37 Permalink

We're managing about 50 MR installs right now, and MR "magically" doubling total lines on an income statement and balance sheet is about to drive me bonkers. Of course, completely rebuilding the datamart fixes it, but I need a way to be able to figure out when it's happening BEFORE the customer sees it.

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Submitted by MikeLupro on Thu, 01/14/2016 - 03:11 Permalink

Along with others, I agree that the DataMart is a terrible product. If you backup a database and restore it to a TEST company then the DataMart needs to be rebuilt. At least Microsoft should develop one of their FixIT apps that a regular person could run to drop the MR DB and repair/replace it with more ease than it currently takes. Mike Lupro - MCP
Submitted by RScully on Mon, 01/11/2016 - 09:25 Permalink

We've most recently (within the last year) migrated over from Accpac to AX. Financial reporting wise we migrated from what was once known as Lex2000 and then Cognos Finance. It was not a well known program in the Cognos suite of applications and product support ended in 2010. Throughout the years though Cognos Finance continued to chug along with very few issues and the reporting was simple, fast, and effective. Even at the time it came out in the 90's, they had an Excel interface capability that would return values in seconds. Really an amazing technology at the time. Anyway, as we were replacing our ERP we would be moving our financial reporting to another platform and Management Reporter we were told was the answer. From the time we saw it until the time we decided it would not be the answer, we were extremely unimpressed with the lack of functionality. Not that we had ultra-complex reports but we did include a key KPI of our industry as one of the columns in the report but the thing that made this a challenge was the fact the denominator in this KPI changed depending on what could essentially be termed our product line. Products were intermingled throughout the report meaning the denominator on row 99 might be different than on row 100 and then again different on row 101. This was far from the only issue for us but one of the biggest challenges from a support perspective nonetheless. We instead decided to use the SSAS cubes that come with AX. While the contents in the cube were quite expansive (over 100+ dimensions) we were able to hone in on what we were looking for. We had to make some changes dimensional additions to the cube to accommodate our financial reporting needs but we are now ...

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Submitted by globesoftware on Mon, 01/11/2016 - 18:45 Permalink

Atlas is being used by literally thousands of AX implementations worldwide with financial reporting extremely common. Atlas can report from every module of AX, including custom tables and has totally eliminated the need to key in figures into a spreadsheet, word document or powerpoint slide. This ensures you have accurate up to date results, directly from the source system, (Microsoft Dynamics AX) rather than a copy or external MR database. Make decisions on figures you can trust. Every figure presented by Atlas offers drill down to the source to see what is driving the numbers. If your data is within any of the following data sources, • Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, 2012 and AX7 • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011+ • OLAP cubes • Internal databases Atlas can integrate the data into any custom report. There's no limit to report building, as Atlas uses the familiar Office environment. For a free trial, navigate to

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Submitted by Scott W on Wed, 01/13/2016 - 09:32 Permalink

What are the other options out there for GP?

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Submitted by dkensmoe on Thu, 01/14/2016 - 09:32 Permalink

Anyone have a link to the magic fix for FRx. I have run into this issue before and am wondering what DLL you replace to keep FRx running on newer operating systems. It seems that as soon as you run the install for GP 2015 on a workstation then it breaks FRx. thanks

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Submitted by Steve Simon on Thu, 01/14/2016 - 20:13 Permalink

I read Mark's book (Excel Dashboards for GP 2013), applied what I learned to MR and developed the sexiest pivot tables and charts for a multilevel MR report. Using the Tree function in Analytical Accounting I created a 3-level tree that matched my client's Row Definition in MR. then I attached the GL accounts for each line of the row definition. Writing some cool SQL I created the tree. Then attached the Account Transactions View to the tree and got refreshable pivots and charts for the entire tree and separately for the many sections individually. Here's my blog on how I did it, including the SQL code.… That's also bunk that the numbers are wrong when using the Data Mart. Obviously, when you create a test company and overwrite it with the live data from another company, you will put MR into a spin. So turn it off while you do that and then rebuild the data mart. Steve Simon PDG Consultants

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