This post will focus on options for delivering data from Dynamics GP into SharePoint, specifically in the form of reporting. It will consider the various options, their benefits and what would be required to configure them. The examples shown in the post apply to Dynamics GP2013 R2 with SharePoint 2013, the functionality available may vary with older versions of Dynamics GP and SharePoint.
This post will mention three different variants of SharePoint
- Foundation - The freely included version for simple collaboration, data storage and delivery which comes with Windows Server
- Server - The specifically licensed version of SharePoint for Enterprise deployments of Document Management, Workflow and Business Intelligence
- Office 365 - The Microsoft cloud service which includes Email, Messaging, Document Storage and Business Intelligence
These reports are stored in SharePoint Document Libraries, and secured like a SharePoint document. The reports are then accessible through the browser, externally if required and on mobile devices. The setup of such a solution has no specific requirements on SharePoint and could use SharePoint Foundation.
Dynamics GP come with a number of pre-configured Excel Reports, which shows data in a similar fashion to Smartlists.
One option for storing these reports is within SharePoint. Inside of Dynamics GP you can configure whether reports are deployed to Network Folders or SharePoint. The reports can be opened either from inside of Dynamics GP or from the SharePoint library.
SQL Server Reporting Services is common reporting tool for Dynamics GP, either using the out of the box reports or building custom ones. Reporting Services can be deployed in one of two modes, Native or SharePoint Integrated.
When SharePoint Integrated mode is used the Reporting Services Reports are stored inside of SharePoint Libraries and Folders. SharePoint security is used, and there is even a web part to display the reports in a SharePoint page. Dependent on the version of SQL being used, the administration of the SQL Reports moves into SharePoint Central Administration.
Data used in Power BI, can be stored locally inside of Excel or connect securely to a number of data sources (including Dynamics GP SQL data).
Reports can be accessed through a variety of web browsers or on mobile devices. These could be pre-designed reports, or users can generate reports themselves using natural language questions (eg top customer, top store).
The strength of the toolset is that it allows non-technical people to build and share reports rapidly. These reports can be presented in a variety of formats, including text, charts or even as maps.
What is great is that Microsoft have recently announced a significant price decrease in Power BI, which makes it very cost effective and powerful tool for reporting on Dynamics GP data.