Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement (D365 CE) provides many tools to report on your data. Dynamics 365 CE enables your team to easily manage their work from marketing leads to sales opportunities to customer service cases and all the activities in between. In addition to providing tons of ways to automate, coordinate and monitor these business processes, the software also has a lot of great options for data reporting and visualizations (like charts). In this blog, we will explore the various ways to collect and show Dynamics 365 CE data from views to charts to PowerBI reports. Find out the best approach to reporting based on your needs.
A view is the easiest to use and, in many ways, most powerful reporting tool within Dynamics 365 customer engagement. Custom views allow you to display the fields you want from a defined subset of your data through a powerful builder called Advanced Find. Advanced Find enables complex queries of any field on a record and its related records too. For example, you can display a list of accounts with recent won opportunities of over $150,000 in revenue. On that view, you can display their location and account manager for a nice list of field locations to visit. If you want to further format, summarize and distribute information from your view for a highly custom look, Excel export is only a few clicks away.
While a view is an excellent way to find and report on data, it lacks the beauty and summarizing power of a chart. A chart allows you to visualize your data as bar, column, pie, funnel, line, and area graphs by counting or aggregating your data. One of the great features of the chart is it allows the end user to interact with the chart to filter the data in their view and drilldown layer by layer into the underlying data. It is great for this kind of data exploration. For example, a chart summarizing expected revenue per month allows you to drill into a specific month to chart expected revenue by sales rep. Not only can you see the expected revenue, but also identify the sales rep responsible for closing the deal as well.
Excel is a popular application used within organizations for reporting on their data. With its powerful formulas, useful PivotTables, flexible graphs, Excel is a go-to reporting tool. Excel Templates allow you to create Excel files based on Dynamics 365 CE, like the Excel export described earlier, but takes it one step further. You can use the formulas of Excel in an Excel Template to perform complex calculations and summarizations of your data and use PivotTables and charts to display your data in an easy to read fashion. This functionality acts as a template which means you can use the same Excel file to report on data from any of your views. For example, an organization can create an Excel Template to export their weekly sales pipeline of opportunities including formulas for forecasting, breakdowns of specific data through PivotTables and filtering, and graphical representations.
All of the reporting capabilities discussed thus far serve us well but each one comes with data retrieving, summarizing and formatting limitations, which may prevent you from getting the precise analysis needed. A Dynamics 365 CE report has the potential to overcome those limitations. Dynamics 365 CE offers end users a reporting wizard to create basic reports. This wizard offers similar functionality to a view but also includes grouping and charts, but, again, in a limited fashion. The real powerhouse of reports is a custom report. Custom reports are written in SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) outside of Dynamics 365 CE but are run in D365 CE by the end user. Scripting the desired SSRS report requires a special skillset but provides a broad range of capabilities of the generated report. Dynamics 365 SSRS reports allow you to report on multiple record types at the same time, calculate data in a complex way, visualize data through charts, and format the output with various colors, fonts, and tables. You can even include your logo. For example, an SSRS report will allow you to report opportunities and quotes at the same time and even include the product details. If your reporting needs include reporting across multiple record types, then a Dynamics 365 SSRS report might be your best approach.
Another powerhouse in the reporting world and the last topic on our list is PowerBI. PowerBI is a tool from Microsoft that provides business intelligence capabilities and a really nice integration to Dynamics 365. Like the SSRS report, PowerBI allows you to filter, compute, and visualize data. While your data in a custom report is fairly static, your data in PowerBI is quite dynamic and provides the end user with the ability to adjust the fields and filters of the source data and immediately see the results. PowerBI can also combine Dynamics 365 CE information along with other data sources in one report. Best of all, PowerBI dashboards can be embedded into Dynamics 365 CE directly. For steps on connecting your Dynamics 365 environment to PowerBI, check out this blog. If you have any questions regarding the reporting capabilities of Dynamics365 CE, reach out to a Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Consultant today.
By Velosio, www.velosio.com
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