Microsoft Builds Envestnet Aggregation Into Enterprise Accounting Platform

Envestnet has announced that its industry-leading data aggregation and analytics technology -- formerly marketed separately as Yodlee -- is now available as a fully integrated component of Microsoft's business intelligence suite.

Envestnet | Yodlee data aggregation now allows Microsoft to pull users' account activity from third-party accounts into its newly unveiled Dynamics 365 for Financials app in real time, turning what was once a sophisticated but still relatively conventional accounting engine into something more revolutionary.

The core proposition of Dynamics 365 -- unveiled barely two months ago -- was always the way the separate apps that make up the platform work together to share data and give executives a true 360-degree view of how all aspects of the business work together.

Dynamics 365 for Financials is the piece that tracks the enterprise at every point that triggers a cash flow event, from inventory acquisition and drawdown through the sales and revenue recognition process. While it's available separately for small business, Microsoft evidently hopes to sell low-level customers more advanced systems to fit their needs.

Bringing Envestnet | Yodlee to the table allows the app to populate its screens with need-to-see transactions the minute they post to associated bank and other accounts, letting users track both costs and revenue on the go.

Better information of course means better intelligence and enables even a sprawling organization to move more nimbly to seize opportunities and roll with emergent challenges.

Naturally, this is similar to the premise that drove adoption of the aggregation approach in consumer markets over the past decade. Just as individuals recognize value in being able to view all their transactions across all major institutional relationships, Microsoft is clearly betting that similar logic applies in the enterprise.

Envestnet has been working hard behind the scenes to help the professionals who advise retail-level clients deliver the insights Yodlee provides, giving those advisors the famous "360-degree" or holistic view of the entire financial picture.

This is something even more disruptive. Like a lot of truly disruptive ideas, it's simple: why not apply the 360-degree view to enterprise environments?

Traditionally it took entire accounting departments to gather all the data and reconcile the books with institutional statements. Now, theoretically, Microsoft and Envestnet can do it with the refresh of a screen.

Of course there's still space for manual data entry, but with Yodlee's industry reach it's likely that most transactions will populate automatically. From there, it's just a matter of reconciliation and addressing open entries on an abbreviated cycle.

Microsoft had the intelligence but not the data. As Paul White, the company's general marketing manager in charge of Cloud + Enterprise solutions, noted in the announcement, access to real-time data is "pivotal."

Envestnet was obviously best known in the financial services vertical where various organizations act as net consumers of the company's technology or leverage its consumer-facing solutions as value adds, differentiators or behavioral prediction tools.

Jason O'Shaughnessy, senior vice president of international markets for Envestnet | Yodlee, points out that it's nice to work with Microsoft as well as bringing up-to-the-minute aggregation to the broader enterprise community.

This is a game changer. We'll see more moves like this in the very near future.



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