For anyone who's seen a Jet Enterprise Demo, you've probably seen something like this screenshot above. It's Excel. Pivot tables and charts connected to slicers which will -- as if by magic -- tell you what your Profitability was across XYZ set of dimensions.
Yes. Ultimately that's what we're going to get you to. But for your Tech Support team, DBA's or analysts responsible for implementation, there's more to it than Excel.
Excel, Pivot Tables and / or Jet Essentials are really just the Reporting Tools (it's what we use to get the data out!)
Jet Enterprise is the Business Intelligence offering from Jet Reports. Once implemented you'll have a SQL DataWarehouse and Cube that are optimized for reporting (as opposed to your transactional ERP - Dynamics NAV, GP, etc.) which is optimized for recording the daily transactions in your company.
While the concept of BI is nothing new, Jet Enterprise's value proposition is two fold.
The Jet Data Manager (JDM) application is effectively a no-code GUI which leverages the MS SQL stack to create a SQL Database and Cube in SQL Analysis Services. It does all the Extraction, Transformation, and Loading (ETL)!
The real advantage of the software is that it allows BI professionals to focus on what they do best - model and design the best Data Warehouse and Cube solution without having to worry about writing perfect SQL code. In fact entire cubes can be developed from start to finish with virtually no code!
In short, the JDM product can be condensed down to two words: Speed and Flexibility.
Instead of extended periods of development where the DBA's have little to no interaction with end-users and stakeholders because they're busy coding your latest set of requirements, you could have same day results where minor or even major changes to the structure of your Data Warehouse and Cubes can be reviewed.
Actually, depending on the project, my preferred way of delivering BI customizations on smaller projects is with you right there with me on the phone, giving me the feedback I need to make sure you get the results you're looking for!
The second piece of Jet Reports' BI offering is the Cube Store - a repository of prebuilt projects which when pointed at your ERP will produce a Data Warehouse and set of Cubes specific to AR, AP, Sales, Inventory etc.
Having considered all the Enterprise customers I've worked with, depending on your degree of customization, I'd estimate that roughly 75 to 90% of your analysis needs can be met with Jet Enterprise installed off-the shelf.
A typical Jet Enterprise install takes 2 to 4 hours. During that process we'll install the Jet Data Manager Application, download the Cubestore project that matches your ERP and then hit "Deploy and Execute". Half an hour later -- depending on how much data you have -- you'll have a finished cube ready for analysis in the front end tool of your choice: Jet Essentials, Pivot Tables, SSRS etc.
If you were to recreate one of our projects from scratch without the JDM ... let's just say it could take hundreds of hours and would probably require a team of people with multiple specializations because
1) you need someone who knows your ERP's data structure inside and out
2) you need a specialized DBA who can build a Staging Database and Data Warehouse as well as write all the SSIS packages to perform all the ETL from start to finish
3) you need a resource who can build a cubes incl. measures, dimensions, and hierarchies
With Jet Enterprise you still need 3 people, but the needs are vastly different.
1) we need someone who knows the business questions you're trying to answer
2) we need someone who understands how measures (like CoGS, or DSO, or Profit Margin) are calculated
3) you need Onyx Reporting to either provide training to your DBAs on how to use the JDM product, or (arguably the most expeditious use of your time) engage Onyx Reporting to do the customizations for you.
I hope you have a better understanding of what the Jet Enterprise is all about. If you purchased it but haven't installed it yet send me a message!
I will do your install at a discounted hourly rate of 40GBP per hour +VAT if you mention this blog post.