Advanced Reporting in MS Dynamics AX/365: Power BI and EDI

BI and EDI reporting
Category: News Post Date: 07.12.2020

In our most recent article, we reviewed SSRS and Excel reporting in MS Dynamics ERP system. These methods have been commonly used by enterprises in their daily workflows for years. However, in recent years, analytics specialists have started using BI systems, which introduce the next stage of paper-like reports. Power BI is the most popular and affordable of all BI tools. Let’s discuss BI and EDI solutions, assessing their pros and cons.

Power BI Reporting

Power BI is Microsoft’s advanced business reporting tool. It can be used to create not only reports but also dashboards (up to 6 pieces) and KPIs. It is a set of Microsoft software services with the ability to synchronize data. In this case, data sources can be databases, Excel files, cloud sources, the Internet, text files, and so on. Power BI is designed for creating customized company reports, as well as company presentations and business plans. Power BI can be represented as a Power BI Desktop app, an online Power BI SaaS service, and a mobile app. The scope of Power BI use depends on the needs of your company. For example, you can use Power BI to automatically create interactive, open-access financial reports for company leaders only. The list of the main Power BI opportunities:

  • data collecting from different data sources (Google Docs, Excel, CSV, folders, documents, Internet, API);
  • the received data processing and transforming it to a single form and standard;
  • formulas, metrics, indicators, and KPIs development, needed for control and analyzing the important parameters of business management;
  • interactive visualization of all metrics, KPIs, tables in a graphical view;
  • reports and dashboards presentation over the Internet through the Online Power BI Service or the Power BI Mobile app;
  • providing different access politics;
  • using the Microsoft cloud server power to automatically process any data amount;
  • automatic update of all data hosted in the Power BI cloud;
  • automatic notification of the required employees.

Is Power BI worth using?

Power BI is no more complicated than Excel. In particular, absolutely every user can manage the reports and analytics development. Power BI is a full-fledged analytical environment that makes it possible to easily connect to any data received from different sources, combine and bring this data into a single standardized data model. With its help, you can also calculate the necessary parameters and KPIs, as well as build graphs, reports, and dashboards. All this is fully automated, auto-updateable, and available online from any device (PCs, tablets, smartphones), and you can even set individual access policies for different users.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Reporting

Electronic data interchange (EDI) is a software solution that allows business partners to exchange data in standard, structured electronic messages. The main task of EDI is to standardize the exchange of transactional digital information, as well as to provide programmatic interaction between the computer systems of various organizations. EDI messages accompany business processes in supply chains in retail and wholesale trade, logistics, finance, mechanical engineering, metallurgy, energy, and telecommunications. There is a separate type of EDI messages for each process. They can be implemented at the enterprise both in a complex manner and separately. At the same time, electronic data interchange does not depend on the work of staff and third-party company employees. Sending and receiving messages is instant. EDI helps improve supply control and accelerate the flow of funds. EDI Features:

  • complete security, safety, and confidentiality of transmitted information, its archiving and recording;
  • compliance with internal and external standards and requirements for the electronic exchange of confidential data;
  • high speed of work;
  • guaranteed message delivery and delivery notification;
  • reliability of transmitted information and accuracy of document conversion;
  • absolute transparency of the EDI flow for all participants in the workflow thanks to reliable reporting and monitoring tools;
  • integration with ERP systems or corporate portals (plug-ins and adapters for SAP, that allow you to concentrate all EDI tasks in a single environment);
  • the ability to build a clear and understandable branched contact network with customizable partner profiles;
  • taking into account industry specifics;
  • support for a large number of EDI formats;
  • the ability to customize the EDI system as a web service;
  • compatibility and integration with various SAP management systems.

Is EDI worth using?

EDI provides benefits such as complete data control across the entire supply chain, human risk mitigation, and process transparency. On the downside, EDI is usually expensive, both in terms of implementation and the need to train employees. Also, sometimes such systems limit your trading partners.


From our experience, SSRS, BI, and EDI reporting are still widely used by MS Dynamics users. Each of these approaches has its specifics, pros & cons to consider to make the best choice for your requirements.

In case you are looking for MS Dynamics developers to customize your ERP system, contact i-Neti to get professional consultation and project estimate. We’d be happy to help.

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