Microsoft Dynamics GP is powerful, familiar, and functional, but there are many places it can be improved. One of these areas, reporting, has long been a point of contention for users, with multiple options available, loyalists to each solution, and a continued evolution of business needs and products to satisfy them.
The Fall of Management Reporter Leaves Businesses Needing More
Microsoft attempted to address some of these reporting needs using FRx and Management Reporter, but the former was sunset in the early 2010s and latter was never embraced as expected.
Although MR did offer some flexibility and usefulness, it was a much different user experience and failed to compel many users to move away from FRx. Added to this, Management Reporter just didn’t offer as much to users as they had hoped and in 2016, Microsoft announced that they would back away from MR, no longer offering major updates despite supporting it until 2026.
Your Options: Multiple Reporting Options Available to See the Big Picture
With tens of thousands of businesses using GP and many of these businesses using this platform for years or even decades, numerous options and best practices for generating reports have come into play over the years—Crystal Reports, SSRS, Excel, Jet Reports, Power BI, and more.
Crystal Reports: Legacy Reports for Highly Experienced Users
Crystal Reports has long been known as a reporting tool for accounting software, Crystal Reports has been around for nearly three decades and is now known as SAP Crystal. While the solution is viable and does offer a range of reports (especially for legacy applications), Crystal Reports has faded in use over the years due to added costs of designing a report and the learning curve that exists to use the software.
SQL Server Reporting Services (SRSS)
Found under the name reporting services in GP, SSRS is a service that runs on the SQL database side that allows users to create, modify, and design reports in the SQL structure. Usable for businesses well versed in SQL and who have SQL standard or higher, SSRS is a viable way to refresh data directly from GP, access it from within or outside the platform and vies reports as you see fit.
SSRS offers reporting options ranging from simple to complex by leveraging other applications that use SQL. Add to this the drill down functionality, ease of scheduling, customization, and easy filtering once a report is created, and SSRS offers a decent option for GP users.
Excel Refreshable Reports
Likely the most familiar of the reporting options, Excel Refreshable Reports is a tool to use Microsoft Excel as a way to complete reporting with data available from GP Tables. As with SSRS, Excel also relies on SQL with additional security features such as allowing you to send non-editable reports to external user.
With an extremely familiar interface, the learning curve is not steep, but the process is slower than SSRS, as Excel needs to bring in all the data before applying filters, while SSRS applies filters up front.
Leveraging and providing the familiarity of Excel, Jet Reports is an Excel add-in for report creation and design. With standard reports and available custom reporting options and views, Jet Reports is extremely intuitive, removing steps, adding visibility, and giving additional user-friendliness to the Excel functionality. Considered the ideal reporting for FRx users seeking a replacement, this solution offers three levels and numerous report options. Added to this, reports can be as broad as you need; many businesses have used this to generate income statements.
The latest addition to the Microsoft reporting world, Power BI can take data from a wide range of sources, make the information available from anywhere, and present data in modern dashboard and KPI format. This low-cost business intelligence tool comes with content packs designed for Dynamics GP, presenting data in an extremely user-friendly format for drilling down, filtering data, and navigating.
Many Steps to Creating Useful Reports
From the requirement and design definitions to decision and planning all the way to going live with the reports, businesses need a reporting strategy that is flexible yet focused.
In a recent webinar by Wipfli, we looked at the many options you have available for extending the reach of your Microsoft Dynamics GP application with reporting software that is flexible, powerful, and intuitive. We looked at the options available, the strategies to create impactful reports, and some examples of the different reports you can create.
The webinar, aptly titled Reporting Tools for Dynamics GP, offered an eight step format for strategizing and planning your reporting process and explored in detail the options we discussed above.
Available for download here, watch the webinar to hear experts in Dynamics GP Barbara Bell and John Kirsch discuss the options you have available. Ready to learn more? Get in contact with us to discuss your options to unlock the power of your data.