Thursday, December 16, 2010

Management Reporter Feature Pack 1 (FP1) Stocking Stuffer!

Microsoft was just in time for Christmas with the release of FP1 for Management Reporter. 

This feature pack technically applies to the previously released Service Pack 1 (SP1) release.

The notable new features in this release are:
  • Currency Translations
  • Integration to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009
There are, of course, a number of bug fixes.

I am hopeful that the promised Forecaster integration will be released in January 2011.  Lets wait and see!

Wishing you all happy holidays this year!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Management Reporter: 7 Reasons to Upgrade

This blog is the condensed material to be presented in a webinar tomorrow:
  • Familiar User Interface (MR is both like MS Office and FRx)
  • Simplified Reporting Tools (i.e. Undo, Associations, Hide/Unhide, Exporting/Importing Selected Building Blocks, etc..)
  • Powerful Analysis & Personalization Capabilities (Logos, Custom Page Numbering, Custom Page Breaks, Complex Filtering, etc...)
  • Superior Performance & Security (SQL based solution, Enhanced Security, Server-side processing, Supports 64 bit, Windows Authentication, etc...)
  • Migrating from FRx to MR is Easy! (Well.. for the most part!)
  • MR is the Future! (MS has made a significant investment in MR as the CPM platform for Dynamics GP)
  • You Want to! (MR is only compatible with GP2010 and higher.  FRx SP11 is also compatible with GP2010.)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Management Reporter Building Block Import Features: Never Lose Sleep Again!

Another really nice new feature in MR (vs FRx) is the ability to import specific building blocks versus the entire exported building block group backup file.

The screen shots below show that even while I am not importing the catalogue, I can still import one of the building blocks (i.e. the row) associated with it.

Catalogue Not Seleted

Row Definition Selected

This is a great convenience for heavy report designers who like to make a full backup of their building blocks by exporting them prior to an all day (or more likely all night) report design session!

It is also a great feature for consultants to make use of when creating a reporting package solution or to troubleshoot report design.

Sleep well!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Management Reporter: The Devil is in the Details!

Jan Harrigan's post on transaction level drill-down in FRx (here) inspired me to draft this post on how to achieve transaction level drill-down in MR.

The basics and tips that Jan covered in her post apply to MR.  The main difference is found in the column design.  In MR, you do this by selecting ‘ATTR’ as the column type, then selecting an Attribute Category. The screen shot below shows what this looks like. As a reminder, you need to have a ‘Periodic’ vs ‘YTD’ FD column type in the column for the transaction level drill-down to work AND ensure that the Report itself is set to display Financial, Account & Transaction level information.

Finally, the full list of all 19 transaction level 'categories' currently available for display on drill-down in MR are:

Audit Trail Code
Batch ID
Currency ID

Distribution Reference
Exchange Rate
Journal Entry
Originating Audit Trail Code
Originating Document Number
Originating Master Record ID
Originating Master Record Name
Originating Transaction Type
Reporting Ledger
Source Document
Transaction Date

Have fun exploring the transaction level details! 
Note: Drill-down to Dynamics GP is currently not available in MR, but is expected to be included in Feature Pack 2, which is anticipated to be released in the spring/summer of 2011.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Management Reporter: The MR Dimension

One of my favourite new features in Management Reporter is how it supports Financial Dimensions.  Actually, there are two 'dimensions' to what I appreciate:

1) In addition to building your MR account structure on simply your Dynamics GP Chart of Accounts and your Analytical Accounting dimensions (which you could do with FRx), you can also include the Account Category or any of the GL Account Maintenance user defined fields.

2) The flexibility of the Financial Dimensions leaves FRx's structured rules behind and simplifies the report design process.  An example is that you can code a particlar line in a row format to include a single segment from your Chart of Accounts, while another line in the same row may actually reference multiple segments.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Migrating to Management Reporter (MR) from FRx when Upgrading to GP2010

Most of FRx’s core functionality is already built into Management Reporter (MR), including multi-company consolidation, multi-currency and AA integration. As such, many organizations using FRx could migrate to MR today along with GP2010 upgrade. 

Note:  Organizations do not have to migrate to MR with a GP2010 upgrade; however, an upgrade to GP2010 is required to use MR.

Having said that, a review of FRx functionality currently being used to ensure there are no surprise functionality gaps that may pose an issue upon migration is a good idea!

While this information is constantly changing, a current snap-shot of functionality gaps is outlined below:

'Not Yet' in MR:

Feature Pack 1 (FP/SP1), which is scheduled for fall 2010, is expected to have the following functionality:

• Translations (based off GP translations enhancement which is not yet in GP2010)

• Forecaster integration that will be more advanced that FRx’s

Feature Pack 2 (FP/SP2) which has a 'distribution' theme, scheduled for spring/summer 2011, is expected to have the following functionality:

• Sharepoint integration

• Email

• Drill down to GP (inquiry screen and possibly SRS reports)

'Not Currently Planned' for MR:

I believe the only ‘real’ deal breaker here is ‘row linking’ which is used in a small percentage of advanced FRx design environments.  However, a few other items, such as 'report manager' and 'effective dates' are also currently not planned to be incorporated into MR.  That may be somewhat misleading though, as MR may incorporate different more advanced functionality that would handle the same type of situations and much more.

'Different' or 'Improved' in MR:

Many features in MR are improved or different.  A few of these items are listed below:

• Translations (SP1)

• Forecaster integration (SP1)

• No Webport – Report Library (Current) or Sharepoint (SP2)

This is not a complete list.  I hope to blog about these features in the future, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Introducing Management Reporter

Management Reporter (MR) is Microsoft's Corporate Performance Management (CPM) platform for its Dynamics ERP solutions. It has been available for Dynamics GP2010 for about a month (See Microsoft's official Press Release).

CPM is a Business Intelligence (BI) capability area covering:
  • financial reporting,
  • consolidations,
  • planning,
  • budgeting and
  • forecasting
In short, MR is FRx on steroids! In fact, MR is much more than that. It is more than a new graphical user interface, the entire product has been rebuilt from the back end (how it accesses data) to the front end (the user interface). It is the foundation upon which the future of Microsoft's CPM solutions will be built and that is very exciting!
MR effectively replaces FRx for users on Dynamics GP2010 and above. However, some advanced FRx reporting design capabilities are slated to be delivered in the fall of 2010, so not every FRx installation can migrate to MR today. Remember, patience is a virtue!
If you're worried about migrating from FRx to MR, don't be, because Microsoft has built a migration path/tool. Of course, each situation is unique and some manual updating of reports may be requried in some circumstances.
In case you are wondering, MR is currently slated to encompass the planning, budgeting and forecasting capabilties of Microsoft Forecaster by 2011, thus effectively replacing that product as well. As with FRx, a migration path will be available. So, your current investment is safe!
A final word of praise for FRx... FRx has been the industry leading financial reporting package for nearly 20 years. I think we all agree that it is a great product, but it is based on old technology and I think we can also agree that it needs more than just a facelift to carry it into the future. That, together with Microsoft's vision to build the industry leading CPM solution on a common platform, is essentially the raison d'ĂȘtre for Management Reporter.
Warning: Management Reporter may cause financial report designers to renew their excitement for creating financial reports.