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Dynamics Introspective: Where should Microsoft Dynamics customers begin their BI journey?

by Jason Gumpert
April 25 2013

When the question of whether or not we are failing our software arises, one of the warning signs to ponder is whether individuals, teams, or executives can measure performance beyond the transactions captured by the systems. In other words, can the business use their ERP, CRM, and other solutions to answer strategic questions and help drive improved outcomes?

For Microsoft Dynamics ERP and CRM solution owners with zero business intelligence (BI) investment, today's options for getting started with business intelligence (BI) and reporting can seem daunting.  There are plenty of high quality BI and reporting solutions designed to integrate easily with Dynamics and the Microsoft stack and take advantage of the latest trends in Big Data, mobile, collaboration, and more. But without well defined, executive-sponsored goals and objectives, an investment in a state-of-the-art BI solution can go nowhere. 

So where should the BI newbie start in today's market? Experts at Microsoft and in the Dynamics partner channel tend to agree that first steps toward basic BI and reporting experience should begin with an effort to use the data reporting tools of the Microsoft stack, starting with SQL Server, SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), Excel, and SharePoint (for example, use the technology your organization already owns to try building a dashboard in Excel.) Even if you believe you are destined for a full-fledged BI solution down the road, understanding the fundamental capabilities and challenges of things like PowerView, cubes, and

About Jason Gumpert

As the editor of, Jason oversees all editorial content on the site and at our events, as well as providing site management and strategy. He can be reached at

Prior to co-founding, Jason was a Principal Software Consultant at Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC), where he implemented solutions, trained customers, managed software development, and spent some time in the pre-sales engineering organization. He has also held consulting positions at CSC Consulting and Monitor Group.

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