Reporting is a term which is frequently too wide to do justice to the different complexities of different report categories within a company. And this leads to an important question which we are faced, which is the best product PowerBi or Jet Reports. The best is not the appropriate term, as both tools have very different scopes.
Both of them are extremely good within their areas, which may explain why it can be so hard to choose between the two. As a starting point, we wanted to discuss the common features followed by their key differences.
Both software read directly from Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central system, thus ensuring that the data being extracted is from the original source of data. Having said that, both tools require a report/data refresh when reviewing them as this would enable the system to read the latest data rather than retaining the previously extracted transaction data. This is a very important feature as the end-user may put their mind at rest that the data being analysed is based upon the latest set of transactional data.
Both PowerBI and Jet Reports are allowed to read data from multiple companies at one go, thus being equally useful both to firms having one single legal entity as well those having multiple entities. Business Central is often criticised that getting information from multiple companies can be very difficult. The only option from a Business Central perspective is to consolidate the different entities, an exercise which doesn't take place that often as it can be quite cumbersome and time-consuming, Having a reporting tool which allows the user to extract key information from different entities at one go would give a level of information within the company which is hard to achieve by analysing the entities separately.
One very interesting point is the fact that the reports will retain the setups and configuration as defined by the users. This means that even though the report will not be a report in the traditional sense, where the number of columns and at times even the rows are fixed, yet all the calculations, the designs, the general feel of the report and even the parameters which the user may define at report level will be retained. Opposite to most systems-default reports which are exported to excel, the reports in both Jet Reports and PowerBi will be reported and refreshed using the same design.
Both tools make extensive use of parameters thus allowing the user to get insight on different entities/customers/vendors/dates or whatever the parameter set whilst reading within the same set of data. This would extensively extend the use of the report and the use which would be in line to the role of the user. Moreover, extensive savings can be made as one design would serve a larger group of individuals.
Ease of Use
Though both systems require less technical know-how then what was required when developing reports internally within Business Centra/NAV, yet Jet Reports is deemed to be more user-friendly. Jet Reports reside within standard Excel, and through a simple add-on, the user would be able to interact directly to Business Central/NAV. Thus by combining the power of the add-on and maximising the features provided by Excel, a tool which is highly used within the finance departments. PowerBi on the other hand is pretty much an alien system to the user within the Finance department. This means that albeit being very flexible and easy to refresh, yet when designing a report, Jet Reports is easier to handle.
More importantly, modifying a report is even all the easier, as the users find it pretty easy to understand what has been set up beforehand and follow it up.
This is probably the key difference between the two. Jet Reports is extremely useful within the Management Reports. The fact that we can create financial reporting which is strictly in line to actual published reports within the company reports. This is a crucial point not just for the published accounts but equally important for the management and decision-makers within the company. Through the use of Jet Reports tangible time savings are achieved, usually extending to a number of days per month, depending upon the complexity achieved.
Once again Jet Reports has a clear advantage over PowrBi, as even though the Reports may be sent out, yet distributing Jet Reports is very easy. Directly from Excel or else through Jet Hub, the user can define to whom the report can be distributed and which parameters are to be put in place. Needless to say, this can produce a great time saving and peace of mind especially when dealing with reports which are repetitive. One important aspect to this is that a user receiving the report in a static format does not need to hold any kind of license and will instead receive the report as either excel or pdf. Once again this would exponentially increase the value for money in relation to the investment and the returns achieved.
An essential feature which is limited to only Jet Reports is the setting up of data cubes. Jet Reports, or better Jet Analytics, which is the higher-tier level of Jet Reports, would allow the user to create data cubes thus facilitating, even more, the data extraction at the user level. A very interesting aspect to this is the pre-defined data cubes specifically built for Business Central. This means that the Return on Investment is immediate and the value for money for the said investment is even higher as the project doesn't require long hours of resource work before actually starting to enjoy the results.
Should your company is interested to implement Jet Reports or PowerBI, contact us for a free software demo and consultation.