Fostering Real-Time Collaboration Through Power BI
Power BI has been a powerhouse for many leading organizations since its introduction in 2014. Because of its capacity to pool siloed data from across multiple data sources and present key business data for ‘at-a-glance’ coherent analysis companies have transformed useful information into sophisticated visual dashboards.
However, beyond its robust visual analysis capabilities, there remains an aspect that companies have long wished to leverage within Power BI — collaboration of data-entry. By adding capabilities like Planning and Write-back, companies can further expand Power BI while fostering real-time collaborative decision making across departments — an essential condition in today’s business environment.
Understanding the Need for Real-Time Collaboration
Organizations today are feeling the brunt of poor collaboration across numerous business processes. With ever-changing market disruptions, employee turnover, and other modern-day challenges organizations may face, fostering real-time collaboration that supports informed and timely decision making across departments has become a top priority for leading CIOs and executives. And, in an era where data is one of the most valuable assets an organization has, it is critical to ensure that this data is not only able to be shared, but collaborated upon in a way that will enable all departments to use it effectively.
As an executive, you realize your company is probably suffering from siloed people and data which can lead to inefficient decision making; especially when it comes to planning and forecasting across your entire organization.
Power BI remedies part of this problem, by delivering a combined view of data that teams can collaboratively VISUALIZE and ANALYZE (actuals, plan, forecast, whatever type of critical business data you wish). But ANALYSIS is where collaboration in Power BI hits the proverbial wall.
When it comes to fostering collaboration, it’s critical to go beyond ANALYSIS and support the real-time collaborative interaction ON and WITH the data, to enable team member’s planning efforts in support of timely and informed decision-making.
It’s also important in today’s dynamic business world to have capabilities that support time sensitive decisions for processes like Supply Chain and Demand Planning, Sales Planning and Forecasting, and more in real-time. Through the power of add-ons, many businesses have found they can ‘supercharge’ their Power BI to do just that.
Fostering Real-Time Collaboration through Decision Support
By leveraging solution sets (aka add-ons) purpose-built for interaction with data in Power BI, members in your organization can collaborate on shared data in real-time. How? Through the addition of Planning and Write-back, of course!
Capabilities such as Planning and Write-back, Master Data Management, and Workflow Approvals, to name just a few, allow for crucial data transparency across departments. Furthermore, organization members can add individual comments to Power BI at the data-point level and follow conversation threads in real-time. With Planning and Write-back, teammates can operate on the same page, collaborate in real-time, and align on necessary goals to achieve their mission.
- For example: if your team is looking to conduct Demand Planning. With real-time collaborative planning in Power BI, organization members on the front lines can enter values manually or based on seasonality algorithms. Or they can modify inventory forecasts when a major world event turns the previous plan on its head. This can help more accurately drive revenue forecasts, peaks and troughs in customer demand, which can, in turn, help you maximize your profitability.
The same can also be said for Sales Planning. In the face of changing market conditions, organizations can evaluate sales opportunities, partake in contract and pricing adjustments, and ultimately take a collaborative data-interaction approach to raise their bottom line. By eliminating “spreadsheet gymnastics,” analysis and data-collection are now stored under one roof and are available for all frontline decision makers to collaborate and engage with.
Sarah Hippold of Gartner saliently notes…
Supply chain sales operations and planning is often a struggle, because it consists of so many component pieces and people — all of which must be aligned to work toward a common goal…
While basic scenarios can live in an Excel sheet, mature S&OP organizations deploy advanced analytics tools to calculate scenarios and their impact on the business in real time. If the database allows, analytics can even provide decision support and make recommendations.
Real-Time Collaborative Data Collection in Power BI
If you’re reading this blog, chances are you probably have Power BI. You recognize the value it brings to your organization and want to capitalize even further to enable interaction with data through Planning, Forecasting, or even Master Data Management. Now, through pre-built solutions sets (i.e. add-ons), you can turn those “read-only” Power BI dashboards into collaborative data collection dashboards too, that update in real-time and allow for open-ended communication amongst departments — thus enabling real-time collaboration and decision support in the process.
From initial analysis, team members can create models, add comments and notes, perform what-if scenarios, and begin crafting decisions before eventually taking action.
If this sounds of interest and you’d like to learn more about how you can streamline your Planning and Write-back in Power BI, check out Power ON Visual Planner and explore the realm of collaborative possibilities Power ON can provide.
Until next time…