My Rant on FRX and Dynamics GP –
Microsoft today anounced that they will retire PerformancePoint as a product. I first saw this in the Blog by Peter Koller http://peterkol.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!68755AEAC31F9A6C!992.entry – I wasn’t really surprised because I have not been able to get any clear answers from Microsoft on what the upgrade path is for Forecaster, FRX and webport.
I was in the beta testing on Performance Point and it is impressive but it is complicated to use for staff and the licensing was too expensive.
We are currently using FRX Forecaster for budgets, Webport to post the financials for staff viewing and FRX for financial Reporting. The software is all old and too complicated for an average staff person to use. I have helped several associations with modifying or creating reports in FRX because they don’t have the inhouse resources. FRX is very old and not user friendly many people that I talk to don’t like the product but use it because it comes with Dynamics GP.
Forecaster has never been fully adopted by my staff because it isn’t Excel and they only want to use Excel for their budgeting. I set up the budgets in Forecaster and then copy the worksheets into Excel for the staff to enter. Then we manually enter the numbers back into forecaster to roll up and import into Dynamics GP – I use Crystal to pull the data into a spreadsheet and then use the budget integration tool to pull the budgets back into Dynamics GP. Great Job security since I am the only one who knows how to do this but this should all be seamless.
The staff should be able to enter everything – including details and notes into Excel and have it automatically tie into Dynamics GP in a temp budget file that with workflow would be able to be approved and moved to the final budget. They should be able to view the data and run different scenarios easily. They should also be able to compare to prior years budgets and actuals with just drag and drop functionality.
The financial statements should also be easy to modify and change views. You should be able to publish the financial statements to Sharepoint site with alerts and you should be able to print to adobe and email directly to staff from FRX.
I have talked to other associations that are using other products but we have invested in Microsoft and are looking for them to add this functionality to their product.
Forecaster 7.0 has some functionality closer to Excel but it is still complicated to set up which leaves me as the only one who can maintain the product.
I have heard that Webport is no longer being supported but Microsoft has not given me an alternative yet for it. They did say that it moved to FRX reports but I am not licensed for that part of FRX so I don’t know if they will give me license for this other product. They should have made the drill down viewer free so I could send the financials to staff and they could use the drill down viewer (Microsoft had talked about having a viewer like Adobe for FRX reports when they purchased FRX)
I have been waiting for Microsoft to come out with an amazing budgeting, forecasting and reporting product to go with Dynamics GP and had High hopes that Performance point would be that product. Looks like they have given up on trying to use it and everyone was right that told me Microsoft was just buying proclarity to get rid of it as a competitor.
I am looking forward to Convergence in New Orleans this year because I hope they are going to have some direction for the products that I have invested so much in.
We have invested in MOSS 2007 so I am fine with them moving everything over to SharePoint. I just want to know that they have a plan…