Right at the beginning of this year, there seemed to be a lot of buzz around Management Reporter (MR) – both on the web and in conversation, in the Microsoft Dynamics community. It appears to have sparked when Mark Polino, the Fastpath Director of Client Services and more significantly, a 9-time Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) Award recipient, published an article about MR at the start of the year – and he wrote about his disappointment in the product and the frustration that users were feeling. The piece he wrote for MSDynamicsWorld.com has definitely hit a nerve with Dynamics users as it gave voice to a lot of issues, and this current conversation has been brought up to us at DP Technology more than once. We’d like to join this discussion to pose a basic question: is MR for Microsoft Dynamics an impactful part of Business Intelligence (BI) plan?
A lot of people are saying no. Not even in a meek way, but a resounding no. MR was slated to be the newer, better replacement and a true upgrade to FRx, which was a trusted, yet mature product. Both were low cost offerings, sometimes utilized for free even, from Microsoft for financial reporting processes, albeit exclusively general ledger (GL) data. However, in spite of all the service packs and cumulative updates, MR has basically crashed and burned in the eyes of a lot of users. If you look at the timeline for FRx and MR, the former was officially retired on January 1, 2011, and the torch was passed to MR, which launched the same day. We read that one Microsoft Partner even hosted a retirement party for FRx. Microsoft went about promoting MR as the upgrade to the now quite old, but trusted FRx reporting tool – and the reseller community embraced the transition, but since then, there’s been a change in the perception of how MR actually performs and delivers for Microsoft Dynamics users.
To upgrade from what users experienced with FRx, Microsoft equipped MR with SQL Server as a back end data mart. Unfortunately, compared to FRx, the errors that users are dodging with MR have been less than consistent, whether that is related to the number of cumulative updates or just flimsy technology. The new data mart, which was positioned as the big selling feature, is getting a lot of flak as the main element that is creating the most problems for customers. There were also plans for Management Reporter to incorporate budgeting functionality into the product, absorbing both FRx and the budgeting tool, Forecaster, but this plan has been abandoned. For our customers DP Technology, this has left companies with a toolbox of older, glitch Microsoft tool – and there was so much promise in the MR arrival.
To continue learning more about the buzz surrounding Management Reporter for Microsoft Dynamics users, read the rest of this article here.