As companies grow, the planning and forecasting processes inevitably become more complicated. Although widely used across organizations, Microsoft Excel can no longer effectively satisfy the growing need for analytics. This is where Power BI comes in.
Often, analysts use Excel for large-scale planning tasks, including collaboration, version control, different access rights, management and consolidation. However, Excel was not really designed for these task. That is why, a number of problems arise.
Where Excel falls short
A lot of manually entered spreadsheets in Excel have errors that subsequently result in incorrect reporting. On top of that consider merging several spreadsheets. This can easily break formulas, causing more mistakes and further manual re-entry of data. All of this means extra time spent and unnecessary work done.
As the number of data increases, Excel becomes slower, especially when worksheets contain formulas. This happens due to the software’s limited calculation power. Simply put, it was not designed to work with big data.
Excel cannot update information in real-time, as changes to data are happening. By the time an analyst finishes work, a report is already the old news.
As companies grow larger, they rely on the collaboration of multiple departments to complete a forecast report. In this case, each analyst either works on their own version of report or the work is divided between a team. In both cases, someone needs put together all the data into one report. When doing so, there are risks of missing parts of the report, duplicating or accidentally overwriting other parts.
Lastly, when it comes to security Excel also has one significant drawback. A user can, of course, protect a spreadsheet with a password. However, this would be a single password for everyone using that document. As the number of people using the document grows, the security of that password reduces.
Although it may be overwhelming to switch from Excel to a new product, the advantages are far greater in the long run. This is where Power BI comes into the picture.
This software brings advanced analytics, visualzation, and reporting capabilities when using big data. Finance professionals involved in modeling, budget planning and forecasting will benefits from Power BI.
Power BI can easily store, view and analyze massive quantities of data that would be very hard to open in Excel. With Power BI, users no longer need to create numerous smaller spreadsheets and try to combine them later into one report. Instead, this can be done effortlessly in one file.
Advantages of Power BI
Power BI has an incredibly flexible data transformation and editing tool, Power Query. At the heart of this is the M code language. Using M, analysits can quickly filter, delete or merge data, transpose tables, and link datasets together. Power Query automatically remembers these steps and users do not have to repeat the process manually again in the future.
Sharing data with Power BI has become an easy and straightforward process. Once analysts finish a report, they publish it on the Power BI cloud service. All published reports will be available on the Power BI portal. Everyone who has access rights can see the reports in real-time. This means no more uploading files on Google Drive and sharing links, all the reports are now available in one secure location.
Each Power BI user within a team has a separate account. Since the accounts can be set up with different access rights, users can contribute and see only the data that is relevant to their respective departments. For example, a company’s UK analysts can have access only to a UK sales report without seeing the sales in Mexico. This provides additional usability and security, keeps data of different departments separated, if needed.
Overall, Power BI is a great tool, which besides flexible data transformation capabilities, excellent collaborative functionality and security, offers in-depth analytics and reporting options. With an instant visualization capability, statistical functions and calculations across different sets of data, Power BI can provide strategic insights about an organization’s performance in real time.
Naturally, it may seem daunting to launch a large-scale technological change within an organization. Choosing a right partner is an important success factor. Here at Centida, our experts with over 15-years of experience in finance and management will provide you with a full guidance all the way from the initial stage, throughout the implementation phase and eventually take you through an organizational change.