Data is the new currency, and organizations are brimming with it as data comes from multiple sources. Your ERP system is also a comprehensive source of data.
Consider a scenario where you need to extract information from different tables in your ERP and present a unified view of information related to customers, products, product pricing, supplier information, and sales transactions. Although it sounds simple, it isn't, as preparing and extracting data from your ERP is a time-consuming and expensive process.
While 88% of organizations credit their success to ERP implementation, only a meager 5% can use ERP effectively to create and extend high-quality data for analytics and insights. According to an ERP statistics report, 51% of users need to extract data from their ERP systems manually. This is a challenge all ERP users face, irrespective of the platform.
At To-Increase, we offer Data Modeling Studio (DMS), an end-to-end enabler to solve the most common and pressing challenges that Microsoft Dynamics 365 users face today—data selection, preparation, modeling, transformation, and extraction. And in this blog, we will highlight the top seven features of DMS that simplify and enable data extraction and master data validation in Dynamics 365 Finance & Supply Chain Management (F&SCM).
Before we dive into Data Modeling Studio, let’s look at what goes into data preparation and extraction and the common challenges you could face when working on these two processes within Dynamics 365.
What is involved in data preparation & extraction?
Data preparation is the first step in the analytics value chain. It involves collecting, cleaning, and transforming raw data into sensible data that can be used for analysis.
Data extraction is the process of gathering and retrieving this data for various use cases such as analytics and downstream.
The process of preparing and extracting data within Microsoft Dynamics 365 has changed dramatically today. The production environment is closed and managed by Microsoft, making it even more difficult to access enterprise data with ease. Moreover, you are required to use their data extraction framework with data entities, which requires developer input.
What are the data preparation and extraction challenges in Dynamics 365?
Based on the discussions with our customers and partners, here are some of the common concerns we’ve identified:
- Extracting data via data entities is a complex process that needs developer input. Microsoft recommends this data preparation method.
- Getting data out of Dynamics 365 is a time-consuming process as it needs a variety of skilled resources – from Dynamics functional experts, business analysts, and Business Intelligence experts, to name a few. Coordinating and liaising across all these functions to extract the right information can be resource-intensive, and time-consuming.
- Despite the technological enhancements, data preparation continues to be a time-taking process. A report by Datanami shows that data scientists still spend about 45% of their time on this activity, making time to market for analytics longer. Simple preparation tasks such as adding metadata, label, enumeration values, etc., can take lots of effort in the standard Dynamics 365 F&SCM ecosystem.
- An increase in demand for self-service, real-time data to enable businesses to make well-informed and timely decisions.
Keeping in mind these key challenges that our customers and partners face around preparing and extracting data, we built a data modeling tool—the Data Modeling Studio (DMS)—to simplify and enable the ‘entire preparation and extraction’ process for them. Are you ready to start getting analytics-ready data? Let’s find out how DMS helps you with it.
What is Data Modeling Studio (DMS)?
Data Modeling Studio is a configurable design tool that offers a zero-programming data export and monitoring experience. It is embedded inside Dynamics 365 F&SCM and hence works seamlessly with standard Microsoft capabilities.
Top 7 Data Modeling Studio features
1. Data export
This feature offers a configurable, user-friendly data experience that optimizes your data extraction process. Depending on your business needs, it also allows you to schedule data export daily or weekly.
Moreover, before you push the data out of Dynamics 365 F&SCM, you can categorize it into logical groups, such as finance, sales, HR, etc., and transform data within the F&SCM environment.
Our export feature enables you to extract data along with the metadata, labels, and enumerations. This ensures that the data you’re getting out is not just any backup data but is more structured, user-friendly, and meaningful. It also gives you complete visibility into the data export process to help you track deviations or failures and take corrective measures promptly.
2. Built-in Master Data Validation
Before you begin exporting, it is essential to ensure your data quality is right. And that’s exactly what the Master Data Validation feature helps you with. It lets you establish and implement the right business rules that are completely configurable to your system before pushing the data out for downstream analytics. Therefore, it ensures you prepare and extract quality data, in line with the business standards, out of D365 F&SCM.
3. Zero-programming setup
This feature minimizes your dependency on a developer to prepare and extract data. Our point-and-click solutions enable you to export data between domains or companies according to your specific business needs.
4. Configurable data transformation options
DMS allows you to design transformations using a wide variety of methods easily. You can do everything from range filtering, sorting, table joins, pre-processing and post-processing scripts via SQL, etc. Downstream activities to realize analytics become much simpler as you have done the heavy-lifting here.
5. Compatible with existing data entities and Dynamics 365 F&SCM
Microsoft data entities have been around for quite some time, and you too may have some pre-created in your system. DMS is compatible with data entities, which allows you to continue using them if you wish so.
6. High-performance analytics
DMS ensures to cover all the basics, such as making sure your data is conducive to high-performance analytics. Tables as large as 172 million records are transported seamlessly with the tool.
7. Extensive logging and monitoring insights
In addition to exporting data at high speeds, it's also possible to keep tabs on export logs, performance metrics, and error details in a simple view.
Fast-track your data-to-value lifecycle with Data Modeling Studio
Data Modeling Studio is a comprehensive data preparation and extraction solution that empowers and accelerates your data-to-value lifecycle with data transformation, cleansing, governance, encryption, modeling, and extraction—all embedded within Dynamics 365 F&SCM.
In a short survey conducted during our webinar on the Data Modeling Studio, a whopping 67% said they spent most of their time in the data export and cleansing stage. Clearly, data export is one of the key processes in the entire data-to-value lifecycle. And with the Data Modeling Studio, which is specifically built for high-speed exports and simpler and superior data extraction, it can ultimately help accelerate your data-to-value chain.