Planning, budgeting, and forecasting are an essential part of every business. As discussed in our last post (link), since COVID 19, predictive planning and forecasting have become much more critical than ever before.
Many organizations still rely on old tested tools like Excel and other planning tools such as Hyperion, SAP BPC, Workday Adaptive, etc., that have been around for decades.But in recent times, Microsoft Power BI and its extensive ecosystem of add-ons have become a popular alternative for planning and forecasting.
If you are thinking of buying Power BI or have already purchased Power BI, you would want to extract the most out of your investment. Businesses often make the mistake of assuming that Power BI is useful for specific use cases and business units or that it’s just a reporting tool.
Indeed Power BI is a fantastic data visualization tool, but it can also be utilized for creating, managing, and collaborating on your planning, budgeting, and forecasting processes. It does everything that you would normally do in Excel or a specialized planning tool. That’s why a growing number of organizations are leveraging Power BI for planning use cases in finance, FP&A, and across the organization.
Utilizing Write-Back in Power BI
Power BI’s write-back capabilities enable users to enter, edit, or update numbers, text, and even data models via Power BI and see the immediate impact of these changes. It allows you to add notes or adjust drivers for a specific metric directly on the visual, giving user all the capabilities and flexibility of their legacy tools and processes, along with Power BI’s rich experience.
For example, when analyzing a P&L report, the budget holders make quick scenario-based modifications to the data by typing right into the visual. The visual will then write it back to the on-premise or cloud Power BI server, reflecting new data in the Power BI report almost immediately. And all this done while maintaining a single version of truth.
With Power BI’s write-back capability, your team can:
- Immediately interact and hypothesize on different drivers and variables (i.e., pricing, expenses, sales).
- Rapidly budget & forecast at any level of granularity by scenario and examine the results reflected across the department or the entire organization.
- Effectively communicate and collaborate the financial or operational impact of critical business decisions to executives in real-time.
Efficient Planning Workflows & Approvals with Power Automate
Once you understand Power BI’s analytics and planning capabilities, other applications in the Power Platform stable are worth trying out, such as Power Automate.
Power Automate is a low code smart robotic process automation middleware with conditional logic through a dynamic user interface. It can be used to build any type of business process or checks and balances within the Power BI environment.
Power Automate enables you to put automated business processes and intelligent workflows into action across your Power BI-based planning system. Interactions, such as workflows and approvals, are mapped out in an automated fashion in both qualitative and quantitative terms.
For example, using the many pre-built connectors, you can connect Power Automate with your CRMs. The tool automatically notices whenever a deal gets closed and generates an account for that client in your ERP or accounting system. Furthermore, once Power Automate detects that billable hours have been used up for a deal, it automatically issues an invoice ready for approval.
Approvals for documents and processes can also be set from within the workflow by having approvers or executives respond to requests through email or Power BI collaboration to approve work orders, forecasts, or sales quotas.
Power BI and its powerful tools help you extend and integrate all your business processes in the Microsoft Data ecosystem, thus facilitate any organizational use case and providing an end-to-end business solution.
Microsoft Power BI is the most popular and fastest-growing business intelligence tool with endless capabilities. We at Siyana Info Solutions design, build and deploy Power BI, making it a feature-packed tool for your business needs that delivers value for your teams from the first day itself. We are the top power bi consulting company in the US. Our Power BI integration service gives you access to disparate data sources, enhancing data exploration and uncovering insights hidden in your data. Contact us today to power your analytics and reporting capabilities with minimal upfront costs.