Take Advantage of this Dynamic Duo: Microsoft Power BI and Solver BI360

Are you trying to decide the right business intelligence, reporting, and dashboarding tool for your business? Do you find that you are concerned that FRx or Management Reporter are not currently meeting your needs, or certainly will not be in the future? Does your company need to incorporate data from a variety of disparate systems to properly complete reporting? Read on, then, to see just how Solver’s BI360 and Microsoft’s Power BI compare.

BI360 is an add-in within Excel that integrates with SQL Server allowing for enhanced reporting, forecasting, consolidating, budgeting, and data warehousing activities.

If you are familiar with Microsoft’s out-of-box reporting tools, BI360 allows you to do everything that FRx and MR do for Financial Statements, plus:

  • Utilize all of the fields (such as Account Category) in the GL in reports
  • Dynamic rows and columns (e.g. an account range can produce many rows in a P&L) means faster report design with far less maintenance
  • Enhanced formatting (since it is Excel-based)
  • Already configured and augmented for Financial Reporting and Budgeting
  • But there is more…
    • Web, mobile and Excel interface for your end-users
    • Ad hoc reporting
    • Report from info on sub ledgers
    • Cell level ability (FRx/MR requires either a row or a column to “win”)


BI360 Turbo-charges Excel

BI360 contains several different modules:

BI360 Planning – The BI360 Planning module is Excel-based and allows data entry with a pre-configured SQL Server database. Planning is used to automate budgeting and forecasting in addition to other business processes that need data entry and a database. You can think of BI360 Planning as an automated method of saving any data from Excel into a structured SQL database.

BI 360 Reporting – BI360 Reporting, an excel-based report writer, can connect directly with your Dynamics ERP or CRM system. It’s a simple to use report writer that provides finance professionals powerful financial and operational reporting options in a variety of presentation and layout formats. You can drag and drop to create financial statements/operational reports without the need to learn proprietary report writers or convoluted formulas. The result, a professional looking report that is presented within Excel, web and mobile devices.

BI 360 Dashboard – The BI360 Dashboard module can be used for dashboarding and for visualization of data. It can also calculate and store metrics and KPI’s that are often done in Excel.

BI360 Data Warehouse – The BI360 Data Warehouse is a solution that offers self-configuring data warehousing. It automatically produces a SQL Server database that is optimized for making reporting so much easier; and, it can be extended to incorporate data from additional sources.

Power BI Turbo-Charges Business Intelligence

Do you feel as though you are living in spreadsheets that leave you inundated with information that really does not matter to you? Do you or your team struggle with gathering together data from multiple sources, messaging it on and then taking days (if not longer) to generate reports? If you are thinking yes, then Microsoft Power BI would be a great option for you. Power BI is a data visualization and dashboarding tool that allows you to stay up to date with information that means the most to you.

Power BI is Microsoft’s latest entry into the Business Intelligence arena. Released in July 2015, Power BI has rapidly been updated to be competitive with several of the more popular names in BI, like Tableau, MicroStrategy, QlikView, and others. It’s an extremely powerful analysis and dashboard solution, and it also comes with pre-configured connectors to many Microsoft and non-Microsoft applications.

Whether you find data is coming from a plethora of cloud-based or on-premises data sources or from a simple Excel spreadsheet, Power BI allows you to connect seamlessly to those data sources, and then visualize and collaborate on actionable material. With Power BI, dashboards give you the ability to understand trends, to evaluate your data, and then to connect to multiple datasets in order to bring all relevant information together in one place.


Formulating your data so that it can be analyzed tends to be a time-consuming process. Power BI Desktop has the capabilities for data shaping and modeling that can transform and clean data, saving you valuable time. This feature of Power BI is a complete solution of building analytics due to the fact that the Desktop has all of the functionalities that let you connect, visualize and share reports necessary to get them in the hands of decision makers when and where they need it.

To help make the transition to Power BI easier, your users can create dashboards using Excel. The Power X add-ins (Power Query, Power View, Power Pivot) are the precursors to Power BI Desktop. Anything you build within Excel, with the Power x add-ins, can then be converted into Power BI Desktop with a simple click because they use exactly the same engines and languages! And then, it’s one more click to Publish to PowerBI.com so your users can easily connect to their dashboards from any browser, or from any device.

It is not always an “either” question with BI360 and Power BI. Many of our customers use Power BI for dashboards and for visualizations, which not only complements but also incorporates your financial reporting, planning and budgeting data that comes from BI360.

BI360 is focused on budgeting and forecasting, financial reporting and consolidations, and typically appeals to the office of finance whereas; Power BI is focused on anyone in your company that needs to do analysis, create reports and access dashboards. And great news, Power BI has a pre-built connector so that you can use BI360 in your Power BI dashboards.

Watch Part 6 of our Microsoft Dynamics Deep Dive Series: Power BI and Solver BI360 – Discover a Dynamic Duo to see this amazing pairing in action.

By | 2019-09-03T14:44:05+00:00 June 8th, 2017|Business Intelligence (BI)|0 Comments
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Contributor: AKA Enterprise Solutions

AKA is comprised of professionals with deep experience in business, technology, and their respective industries. Our team members regularly share their knowledge and expertise through blog articles. We hope you find them helpful, and we welcome your comments.

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