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Does a tangled web of data and systems restrict your teams from making timely and accurate data-driven decisions? You’re not alone. As industry dynamics change, there is immense pressure to trim operational expenditures while enhancing profitability to stay relevant. With mounting competition in every industry, there is an urgent need to adopt analytics in order to stay ahead in the race. Although Dynamics AX enables business growth, the lack of integration between Dynamics AX and Office and email tools can hamper business operations. Let’s look at some common roadblocks that may be restricting you from achieving greater insights into analytics:

Integrating Office Email Systems With AX

Extensive Usage of Offline Spreadsheets
Although there are several modern tools available in the market today, the wide usage of offline spreadsheets to carry out business reporting and analysis is a major roadblock. Employees sometimes have to heavily rely on technical staff, because they lack access to the right tools or don’t have the right skillset to complete even the simplest of analysis. Using spreadsheets as short term solutions to resolve long term business problems can hinder organizational performance.

Integrating Office Email Systems with AX 2

Too Much Paper
Paper documents are all over the place; stacked on your desk, piled in your drawer, or hoarded in file cabinets. As orders, payments, and invoices from customers, suppliers, and partners are primarily sent and received through emails, employees use time-consuming, labor-intensive processing methods that tend to have high error probability and low credibility. Bills are received late, documents are misplaced in transit and when content from emails and faxes has to be entered into an ERP system manually, the order-to-cash cycle time is lengthened, hampering day-to-day operations.

Integrating Office Email Systems with AX 3

The Fallout: Delayed Decision Making
A vast majority of organizations today have made significant investments in critical enterprise systems like Dynamics AX to improve their business productivity. However, non-technical users that create and manage complex spreadsheets often do not have access to these systems. Moreover, an overwhelming amount of paperwork requires users to spend substantial amount of time and energy to collect and collate data from these enterprise systems. This postpones the entire decision making process, that in turn affects the timeliness of critical metrics like sales, payments, and delivery. Besides, the use of incorrect information can result in wrong decisions being made, which only leads to mayhem. Not having the right information available at the right time can mean lost revenue. Let’s look at some problems that you can face in the absence of an integrated system:

  • Operational Risk: Manual entry, management, and recovery of data pose inherent risk to any critical enterprise function. Since data is at the core of all business operations, and is the only foundation of effective decision making, the profusion of manual processes involved in creating, maintaining, and updating spreadsheets are susceptible to operational risk. Such manual calculations can lead to enormous errors with overwhelming consequences for your business.
  • Erroneous Facts: Any alterations made to spreadsheets, particularly those with numerous formulas, are prone to many unnoticed errors that have a long-term consequence on data. When data is entered manually, certain characteristics of the data are lost, making it challenging to trace back to the original source. When additional calculations are added or removed, quality control further becomes threatened. It is also almost impossible to work around human errors, which are widespread with offline spreadsheets.
  • Tedious and Unproductive: When emails and faxes are stowed in file cabinets and are managed manually, tracking and processing orders becomes clumsy and burdensome. With offline spreadsheets, your staff has to manually collect and authenticate input data, formulas, charts and graphs, then share the output with colleagues and partners. And imagine, after spending hours and hours entering data, if they later discover bad data or an error in the formula?
  • Duplicate Data: It is not rare for different departments to generate very similar or sometimes identical spreadsheets for different units to file and process the same orders separately. Duplication of data is a waste of time and resources, often resulting in substantial losses in the long run.
  • Poor Visibility: A fundamental issue with manual processing of fax and email orders is that the order management team generally has no visibility of the process until orders are entered into the ERP system. This makes it very difficult for them to identify what orders have come in, which ones have been processed and which ones have not.
  • Lackluster Customer Service: No matter how skillfully you manage fax and email orders, your efforts can always fall short
    in meeting customer expectations. In the age of the demanding customer, speedy customer service is a top priority. Unanticipated human errors eventually delay customer response and drive up costs. This results in low customer satisfaction and in several cases, lost customers.

BI to the Rescue
The challenges and risks accompanying the use of manual spreadsheets and isolated email systems highlight the need for embracing state-of-the-art technologies. Using BI systems, you can automate your Dynamics platform and cater to the most vital problems and challenges by creating consolidated views of data. By removing data silos, you can minimize enterprise risk, increase time to market, and improve overall business performance and profitability. Dynamics AX integration allows elimination of paperwork, improvement to accuracy and credibility of data, an increased visibility into operations, and enhancements to productivity.

BI Integrating Tools MS Dynamics

Modern BI tools also offer many alternatives to legacy systems; by integrating your Office and email applications with Dynamics AX, you can eliminate manual processes and create automation by retrieving and displaying data directly from the source. This way, team members can be in a better position to access emails and documents, and manipulate and analyze data through easy-to-use dashboards and interactive interfaces.
Business users can focus on the requirements driven by their roles, accountabilities, and everyday responsibilities to regulate processes, proficiently manage risk and security, and augment operational effectiveness.


Manoj Nair
About the Author – Manoj Nair

Manoj Nair is a seasoned IT professional with over 12 years of experience in Software Consultancy, ERP Implementation, Testing, ISV Development & Client Management. He is a Senior Project Manager at Indusa and is responsible of managing various software programs through cross functional coordination.


Contributing Writer: Neha Kumar