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Thursday, October 18, 2012

The value of a BI Product outside of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

With the a lot of focus this week around Business Intelligence, including being my entire session load, I keep getting asked the same question.: "Why are there so many BI products in the expo hall?" Another flavor of this is "Which BI Products are good candidates to look deeper into."

Before I give my public answer to this, let me first start with this. When you purchase and invest into Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 you are also getting a BI Solution. It true then, when I state that BI is no longer a separate product or project. With the focus around the BI Semantic model, you can achieve Personal, Team & Organisational BI artifact creation without having any other tool.

You can create compelling executive dashboards, as well as other role tailored user experiences, enabled via SharePoint, Office & SQL Server technologies. This can be viewed without having to access the Rich Client of AX 2012 as well. So having a statement that a "CEO never uses AX" is not valid. Just because they don't make use of the rich client, to enter transactions, does not mean they do not use AX. In fact Role Centers should be front and center for the User Experience modeling for you AX investment.

With that said, there still is a valid reason for adding another BI enabling product to your total solution. First thing we have to focus on is the value such a product brings. If it brings relevant, pre-built, focused artifacts that fit into your business model and needs - then that is functional value. Further, just as important as the functional value, is the fact that whatever product this may be - it should never compete with the Microsoft Dynamics AX BI solution.

This means it should compliment the stack of SQL Server+SharePoint+Office. The artifacts it generates should be easily adding as web parts, so that the targeted Role Tailored user experiences are enabled - not replaced.

Microsoft is committed to the continued development and improvement of having this focus, Role Tailored User Experiences - as part of the out-of-the-box offering. So to answer in short: If the product compliments the stack that represent Dynamics AX, and add value for your company, then it's a possible good candidate for adding to your overall BI story your creating for your company.

That's all for this post. Make sure to join me at 4:00 PM Today, in room 604 for the round table discussion on "Understanding What is Available in Standard AX to Meet your BI and Reporting Needs." This will be an open discussion format, meant to engage the audience and have the audience guide and create the conversation.

Make sure to check back soon and often! Till Next Time!
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