Upcoming Power BI Content packs and reports

Taking a quick glance at the roadmap for Dynamics 365 you can see hat there are a lot of focus on improving BI. Currently there are 6 new content packages on the drawing board and an improved Power BI analysis of Cash flow. The current Power BI Content packages and reports on the drawing board are:

Asset management Power BI content
Giving a high level and detailed insight to enable CFO and operational workers to do key decisions on handling assets like choosing depreciation models, retirement, future investments and more.

Cost Accounting Power BI reports
cost-accounting-power-bi-reportsThe roadmap shows us a detailed view of some gauges and the data structure already created. The new Cost accounting features will be accompanied with great insights.

The roadmap sais this is tailored for C-level managers to be able to build rich visualizations to highlight performance from multiple companies in a common currency.

Credit management Power BI content
As a key part of the business, collecting money and keeping track of customer payments is undoubtably one of the most important aspect to have a healthy business and lower risk. The content pack will give you insights to pick up on customer patterns, discover hidden sources of cash, point out what direction to go in when it comes to customer focus and much more. A great detailed description is available on the roadmap website.

Expense management Power BI content
Get insights into the vast amount of data collected through the expense management features to be able to better budget and predict trends. Also keep up to date on statuses, discover bottlenecks and more.

Purchasing analysis Power BI content
Get the power to better engage with vendors with this important set of data at your finger tips. Track vendor performance and future purchasing requirements to get better deals and find large payments to decide on negotiating for early settlement bonuses +++. Read the full description on the roadmap website.

Warehousing Power BI reports
Doesn’t say much on the roadmap website, so I would assume that this is in the early stages. Warehouse operations produce a vast amount of data that can be eligible for interpretation and give you great insights in to making good decisions to improve efficiency and lower cost.

All in all the content packages are of extremely high value as they virtually require no effort to implement and gains entirely new insights in just minutes. Looking forward to see the results of the content packages currently in development and what areas they will decide to tackle next.




Presenting relative budget reports

A quick idea on how to present sales targets to your sellers or any type of budgeted data.

As a sales representative in my early career I always dreaded the first sales report I got each month. The issue was that I was presented with a report showing my current monthly sales according to the monthly budget. It looked like this:



It was discouraging because it looked like a MASSIVE effort to reach that goal. I just hated the look of this graph, so I made a small amendment to the report to better inform myself:


Suddenly a very negative report is turned into a positive one. I was ahead! I’m on track! Great!

It is pretty simple…
Just find the number of days for the budget interval and find out how many days into the period you currently are. Then create two columns of the budget with elapsed and remaining budget based on that. Take a look at the spreadsheet I’ve made as an example.


How To Present A Budget.xslx

Make it perfect:
If you only do monthly budgets you could divide the number of days in the month as is done in this spreadsheet. Doing it right, you could would look for open days in your Calendars in AX and use that as your base for progression and quantity. The difference is that the chart would jump over the weekend by cycling through two additional days giving you a worse status on Monday then on the Friday.

Power BI:
Now I have no example of this in Power BI yet, but I know you can create this with not that much effort and I’ll amend this post when I’ve done one with a more detailed guide.

General take-away:
Try building as much context into a report without making it messy and make that data as correct and full-featured as possible.

Gamify the work. GAME ON!

KPIs are well and good. Competing with ones goals are one thing, but wouldn’t it be awesome if a social thing got your sellers to think their every work day was great fun? I have had such an experience myself. #STORYMODE


In my early years (before my ERP consulting days) I worked as a sales person in a store that sold telecommunication equipment. It was a very small store (Kiosk) and we did work pretty much on our own all day long. There were several stores in the area and we did compete together on sales. There were no common ERP solution used, so statistics where something that came once every x interval. I talked to the owner and we though up a way to report more directly and we hired someone to do the development of an intranett. I was kind of the architect behind it and came up with some cool stuff that really boosted the sales and had an amazing impact on the focus of each individual.

The idea was to create a webpage where we could report sales of different types of focus products. I thought that once authentication and the data was in place a chat would be pretty easy to implement as well, so we did that. As we all worked separately we suddenly had a place to talk in public to each other… Today that is pretty common. However the smart thing we did was that we also posted an update to the chat when some sales was done. It was a GREAT success… Sales multiplied by an order of magnitude and the boss mann could easily swap focus by changing game products and rules.

The experience I gained from this was that a social setting with healthy competitive statistics that is fairly compensated can be a massive motivator. With AX this could be really simple and have a great impact, but make sure that you keep it healthy and that maybe the bottom staff gets heavy hearted. One way to remove a negative focus is to only show the topp x sellers and show a personal ranking if anyone is below. In any case it will incentivise some of the sellers while others might not reach this goal.

Some ideas to make this work:

  1. Keep it localized
    If your company is spread across multiple locations you would like to have the competition within a local area to focus the competition. You can have a country wide selling competition, but then also get focus on a sales person vs. sales person, store vs. store and branch vs. branch going within a limited area if you have a lot of participants… Best would be if the participants of an area could meet socially without traveling too far.
  2. Weighting
    Try giving a weighted scoring if you have a big variation in results or create leagues.
  3. Scoring
    You can score different products to gain and adjust focus.
  4. Socialize it
    Automate updates to a feed that is easily accessible to the users. Chatting apps like HipChat or Slack are great, but a feed directly in AX or a SharePoint site would also be good.
  5. Incentivise
    Money talks… Getting paid is great, but achievements are also good. 🙂 Create a badge solution where the persons are awarded e-badges that are associated with their profile. It does require some more development, but might be a nice incentive.
  6. Surprise elements
    Some goals could be to sell a specific product first or be the closest to the “magic sum” for an invoice. Like a lottery… The though is to involve everyone.



How easy is it to create such a dashboard? Almost too easy, so it is probably time you got started. Here are some metrics you might want to consider. (Yes… They are pretty standard and some might need more data then standard)

  1. Sales organization
    1. Most sales of focus products
    2. Best revenue
    3. Best growth pr. period
    4. Fastest closing time (Quote to Order)
    5. Highest success ratio (Quote vs. Order)
  2. Warehouse organization
    1. Most picks
    2. Fastest picks
    3. Best quality
    4. Longest hours
  3. Manufacturing organization
    1. Best product quality
    2. Fastest production time
    3. Closest to estimates
    4. Longest hours
  4. Project organization
    1. Best times
    2. Best estimator/budgeting
    3. Fewest complaints
    4. Best satisfaction

What do you think? Any good measures to compete with? Leave a comment or respond on Twitter.