Why Dynamics 365 Insights are a Big Deal

This is part one of a four part series on the importance of Insights. These insights have a quantifiable impact on revenue, expenses and customer satisfaction.

As a cloud ERP system, Microsoft Dynamics 365 (both Business Central and Finance & Operations) has been ranked as being an excellent solution for most industries including: Manufacturing, Project-Based (e.g., Construction), Financial Services, Higher Education, Retail and Public Sector.

For years, it’s been about an application that enables the recording of information and posting to the General Ledger along with visibility to these transactions and summary information. It’s also been about having controls, workflow and other elements that ensure the proper oversight and process management.

From an information perspective, this has led to fantastic transparency across functional lines to quickly know “what has happened.” Dynamics 365 has had great visibility of information as well using tables, reports and visualizations using SQL Server Reporting Services, Financial Reporter and PowerBI. This information has surfaced outliers and the ability to drill back to the transaction level data have helped answer the “why has whatever happened… happened.”

Microsoft recognized that to Digitally transform companies required access and service availability to information that was internal and external. Analytics that distinguish causation versus correlation is important to predict “what will happen.” Better forecasting helps offset risk and takes advantage of new business models that improve both top and bottom lines. Finally, using simulations that consider risk tolerance, bottlenecks and other factors allow companies to decide, “what should we do.”

Enter Microsoft Dynamics 365 Insights.  The first examples are being seen in:

  • Sales/Customer Relationship Management/Customer Engagement
  • Financial Management
  • Workforce
  • Manufacturing/Supply Chain Management

Figure 1 – Analyzing Dependencies

Figure 2 – External Data (e.g., Weather or other curated data) Impact and Visibility

Key Takeaways:

  • You can’t manage what you can’t see
  • Disruptions come to light in visualizations (versus being buried in table data) when process links and dependencies are exposed
  • Resiliency has to do with Plan B (s) and simulations to balance cost and likelihood of scenarios
  • Identifying points of failure, bottlenecks and single/sole dependencies is critical to risk assessment
  • This is a continuous puzzle with moving and changing parts; the result is risk mitigation, new business model identification (and, taking advantage), and six sigma (continuous improvement) rolled together
  • Managing Supply (Suppliers), Demand (Customers), and External (Logistics, Weather, Parts futures and other curated news) is never static
  • Signals are everywhere – analytics to identify causation is important to improve forecasts and predictions

Business Impact

  • Proper sales forecasting involves not just predicting when the sales order will occur but also accuracy in Promise Dates
  • Delivering as promised (or, ahead of time) improves Customer Satisfaction and the likelihood of repeat orders and/or developing the relationship (meaning more $$ and/or improved margins)
  • Disruptions are expensive. Generally, additional non-value added time results when the disruption isn’t planned and accounted for. This drains profitability, stresses operations and upsets customers (and sometimes suppliers)
  • Visibility, anticipation, planning, options and execution also open up new business models where incremental revenues or improved margins can be attained. It’s almost like arbitrage when a disaster enables your company to deliver better than the rest of the industry and allow capitalism and economics drive the value of this work.

BrightPoint InfoTech understands this.  We are in the process of creating a new group that will be dedicated to Advanced Analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning and Application Solutions (e.g., IoT solutions).  We will be announcing more in the first quarter of 2022 but we are “all-in.”

Part 2 of this series will take a closer look at how Insights can and will impact Financial Management  performance and agility.

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