“Out-of-the-Box” Power BI for Dynamics 365 Business Central at Tribu

“Often companies have a tough time to get the right Business insights
after a Microsoft Dynamics NAV/Business Central ERP implementation.”

Exclusive, modern outdoor furniture: this is the field of distinction of Belgian design house Tribù. In the early nineties, Tribù was a pioneer of the philosophy that the terrace and garden should be extensions of the house.

“Out-of-the-Box” Power BI for Dynamics 365 Business Central at Tribu

Strengthened by its years of experience, this family-run design house has grown to become an internationally acclaimed brand. Luxury outdoor furniture from Tribù is now distributed in more than 60 countries and belongs to the best in the industry.

Tribu (www.tribu.com) has revenues of about 30 million € and directly employs about 30 people.

Customer Challenges

To improve business performance Tribù decided to implement a new ERP system and chose to go for a Microsoft Dynamics BC/NAV based Enterprise Resource Planning.

Next to a new ERP system, Tribù also implemented Salesforce as a CRM solution. With the Navision implementation all the financial and operational data was centralized in one database and with Salesforce all the CRM data was centralized in another database.

Having now access to a new and rich amount of data, Tribù desired to have a 360-degree view on their ERP and CRM data to further drive growth and ROI. They wanted to step away from dumping the data into Microsoft Excel, manually transforming this data and finally creating reports on this data, all in Excel.

Reporting via Excel spreadsheets can lead to a plethora of disconnected reports that cannot be easily shared among users. Tribù aspired a solution that allowed for interactive reporting and visual dashboarding and could be easily shared among users, both via pc and mobile.

Solution

To gather insights on their ERP and CRM data, Tribù selected –after a thorough market research of possible solutions– the Dynamics Business Central / NAV “Out-of-the-Box” BI solution from element61.

The Business Central / NAV BI “Out-of-the-Box” solution is a pre-packaged Business Intelligence solution –based on Navision / Business Central as a source– providing dozens of viewpoints on business data. The solution is fully open for extension, so a 360-degree view on all data was achieved by integrating the Salesforce CRM data.

The pre-packaged data warehouse of the solution was set up using standard Microsoft technology. Microsoft’s own ETL (extract, transform and load) tool SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) was used to load data from source to staging and from staging to data warehouse. In a first phase only financial data from Navision was loaded into the data warehouse.

As a reporting and dashboarding tool Power BI was chosen. Microsoft Power BI offers interactive visualizations, a simple user interface making it easy for users to create their own reports, and allows easy sharing of reports via the cloud.

“Out-of-the-Box” Power BI for Dynamics 365 Business Central at Tribu

To create an environment in which users can easily create their own reports, the solution features a semantic layer between the data warehouse and the Power BI reporting environment. This semantic layer is built in Microsoft Analysis Services, using the Tabular model feature. This model holds all the calculations and business logic and ensures fast & performant analysis and reporting.

Because Tribù opted for the Dynamics BC/NAV “Out-of-the-Box” BI solution the data warehouse and standard financial reports were delivered in only 3 working days. In less then a week between decision and delivery, Tribù could go live with the Business Intelligence project.

After successfully implementing the Finance domain and convinced by the power of the element61 Dynamics Business Central / NAV BI “Out-of-the-Box” approach, Tribù decided to integrate Salesforce data and to deploy the following additional modules of the solution: Inventory, Sales and Purchase.

The data warehouse was extended with the new domains and Salesforce giving Tribù the ability to report on ERP and CRM data from a single source of truth. This ensures that everyone within the company bases business decisions on the same data. “One single version of the truth” delivered !

Technology

The solution was built using the Microsoft Business Intelligence stack.

Microsoft SQL Server Standard is used as backend:
• Microsoft SQL Server for database engine
• Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services for ETL
• Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services Tabular as semantic layer technology

In the front-end, Power BI was used to create interactive reports and dashboards. The Tabular model can also be accessed through Microsoft Excel and Reporting Services.

Role of element61

element61 was responsible for the following activities:“Out-of-the-Box” Power BI for Dynamics 365 Business Central at Tribu

  • Installation and configuration of all standard components of the Dynamics Business Central / NAV BI “Out-of-the-Box”, delivered in 3 working days by module
  • Integration of Salesforce data within the existing predefined Data Warehouse
  • Building the Tabular model for analysis
  • Creating first set of reports and dashboards in Power BI and power user training

element61 is a Gold Microsoft Partner in Data Analytics, Data Platform and Cloud Platform.

Conclusion

The delivered BI platform now delivers Tribù insights in ERP data as well as CRM data. It helps Tribù to exploit the full potential of their data, allowing quicker and more effective decision making. 

The intuitiveness and user-friendliness of Power BI enables users to use the reports and gain better insights, and so they are no longer reliant on IT for creating reports. Having all the data in a single repository ensures that business decisions are based on the same data.

About the Dynamics Business Central / NAV Business Intelligence “Out-of-the-Box” solution

The “Out-of-the-Box” Microsoft (Power) BI solution for Microsoft Dynamics BC/NAV can cover reporting, analysis & dashboarding needs after you implemented Microsoft Dynamics Navision/Business Central. Data will become available through Microsoft Power BI, Excel and Reporting Services. Our pre-packaged ETL, a pre-packaged data warehouse layer, pre-defined Tabular model, and predefined dashboards and reports give you a head start versus developing all of this yourself.

Our open Data Warehouse layer is superior to an approach where you directly connect a reporting tool (like Jet Reports or Exsion) to the source data or have to rely on a “black box” data warehouse-layer where you cannot change code to load your customizations and/or connect and combine your NAV/BC data with other non-Microsoft based operational systems like CRM, PSA, SCM or WMS/TMS data.

The solution seamlessly brings together all data from different legal entities and companies in one single Business Intelligence analysis. We also support data from all versions of Navision, starting with NAV 5 to Business Central in the Cloud. We can also combine historical data from an old Navision system and new data from a new implementation, so you have perfect data continuity. The solution is also often used to prepare for a new Microsoft Dynamics Navision/Business Central implementation to provide the new version with correct master data & historical data.

The “Business Intelligence Out of the Box” - solution is currently available for the following domains:

  • CRM
  • Jobs
  • Sales
  • Finance
  • Production
  • Service
  • Inventory
  • Purchase
  • Timesheets

Want to find out how our "Out of the Box" Power BI solution for NAV/Business Central can also be of benefit to you ? Do not hesitate and contact us today for more information !

“Out-of-the-Box” Power BI for Dynamics 365 Business Central at Tribu

“Learn what is available and how our customers have been successful
and delivered agile BI with this approach in 3 days per module !”