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Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central aims for ubiquitous BI across the app, Excel, Power BI

by Jason Gumpert
Microsoft's Brian Nielsen and Kenny Nybo Pontoppidan

Back in 2020, Microsoft product managers knew that out of the box reporting for Dynamics 365 Business Central was not where it should be. They had been allocating resources to support priorities like PDF exports, print events, paper check fonts, and email routines, which, while important, had also slowed the delivery of the newer digital self-service reporting that was rapidly becoming the norm in the industry.

“We saw that Business Central was a bit behind [at that time]. ‘Run a report and get a PDF’ was not a competitive approach,” Microsoft principal program manager Kenny Nybo Pontoppidan told the Directions EMEA 2023 audience in Lyon last week at a reporting roadmap presentation.

With those earlier requirements now out of the way, the BC team have since turned their attention to self-service reporting and analytics, Excel exports, Power BI, and more improvements in reporting areas that will define the future of BI and reporting for the product.

Progress on Excel reporting layouts

The Business Central team began releasing new Excel reporting layouts and templates eighteen months ago. They did hear about friction from users who wanted to export classic RDLC reports to Excel formats, which did not work well. But Microsoft plans to focus on a new generation of Excel-based reports.

“Our goal is not to cover all the reports we have today,” Pontoppidan told the audience. While there are more than 400 reports today, what users really want from Excel-based reporting is an analytical experience that allows for filtering, sorting, and other operations with ...

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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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