Is Microsoft even further ahead than given credit for in 2021 BI Magic Quadrant?
The Gartner Magic Quadrant is a valuable and much anticipated read whether you are a professional developing a Business Intelligence solution or an end-user. Especially if you are in the Microsoft Power BI and Azure camp. For 13 years running Gartner presented Microsoft Power BI as a leader; most recently in the 2021 Business Intelligence Magic Quadrant(MQ). Since its publication last week, the BI MQ has been published and shared widely across professional and social channels.
When I read the Gartner 2021 Report in more detail, a few of statements around unified analytics, planning, what-if, and augmented analytics caught my attention. Why? Because in a few cases it appeared 2 other non-leader quadrant vendors were given credit for capabilities around Planning and Analysis (FP&A) and Microsoft Power BI was not. And yet, as 1000s of Microsoft Power BI users can attest, they have utilized and benefited from integrated planning capabilities for many years. More on that later.
In the recent BI MQ Gartner states that Board and SAP Hana stand out from competition as they incorporate Planning and FP&A in their Business Intelligence offerings and appear more complete.
What Gartner said about Board: “…Unified analytics, BI, and financial planning and analysis (FP&A): Board is one of only two vendors in this Magic Quadrant to offer a modern ABI platform with integrated FP&A functionality. As such, Board is highly differentiated for buyers looking to close the gap between BI and processes such as those involved in planning, budgeting and financial consolidation…
What Gartner said about SAP Hana: “…differentiated augmented, closed-loop capability: SAP Analytics Cloud’s integrated functionality for planning, analysis and prediction differentiates it from almost all competing platforms. Its ability to conduct “what if?”…..
Don’t get me wrong; I don’t disagree that SAP Hana and Board support FP&A. What I do not 100% agree with are the statements that…
- Board “…is one of only two vendors in the Magic Quadrant to offer a modern ABI platform with integrated FP&A functionality”
- and “SAP Analytics Cloud’s integrated functionality for planning, analysis and prediction differentiates it from almost all competing platforms”
Gartner takes the stance in the MQs that it is important for buyers to be aware of the completeness of options and capabilities they have available to them. In order to educate readers and complement the offering of each platform,
I would like to state that I believe there is at least one more contender that provides completeness of planning features: Microsoft.
Hey, Microsoft Power BI has Planning too!
Gartner readers, as well as Microsoft customers I’m sure would be interested in the fact that for over 5 years, Microsoft Power BI has had Planning, Write-back, FP&A, Forecasting and Financial Report Writing, along with What-if, Goal-Seek ability to run ‘R’ with ML and AI.
Really? Yes really. And, all of these capabilities accessible from inside Microsoft Power BI.
How; you ask? Combining Business Intelligence with Planning and Analysis has in fact been taking place across Fortune 500, Global 2000 companies, large, and mid-market organizations, leveraging their Power BI tenet. Leveraging their existing Microsoft investments in SQL, Azure, and Power BI, they have added writeback features to their Power BI experience with a small but oh so powerful customer visualization and service with PowerON. Companies including the world’s biggest chip maker, two of the largest makers of computers, the two biggest oil companies, Covid-19 vaccine makers, and tech companies’ stock exchange, have all moved into the world of planning and analysis, using Power BI and PowerON. Avanade and Accenture even offer PowerON’s planning solution to their client base.
The new World of Integrated Planning
Gartner reported on new major trend and shared Innovation Insight for xP&A in 2020 which discusses integrated business planning solutions but also includes offerings for deep analytics, statistical prediction, ML and AI. Their first whitepaper came out February 2020 where Gartner introduced the topic, with an update published in Oct 2020. There will most likely be an xP&A MQ in 2022. Which advanced FP&A vendors will be included, Board, SAP Hana? Probably; yes. Microsoft? It should be. Time will tell, but we are very excited who will be in the xP&A quadrant.
One could argue that Power ON is just a niche player and a Microsoft Partner. But that doesn’t weaken the fact that 1000s of users are already leveraging it with Power BI to roll out cost-effective Planning Solutions for their entire organization Those customers who are saving countless hours and leveraging their existing investment in and skill set around Power BI would, I’m guessing, agree. Microsoft Power BI does, today, fully support connected Planning, Forecasting, and Analysis capabilities.
The Power of Planning in Microsoft Power BI
The Microsoft Partner community has been an integral part to Microsoft success for years. With over 1200 partners on the Microsoft Power BI website and 1000s more that offer services to the Microsoft BI stack, organizations can find the help the need to transform their BI, Analytics, and Data strategy to meet the demands of the modern business world. Microsoft strategically built Power BI with an open architecture that allows customers and the Partner Community to collaboratively enhance and expand the capabilities of Power BI. Microsoft enabled Custom Visuals in Power BI and there are now more than 400 visuals made by partners that Power BI users can easily enable for use in their tenet and on their data.
With PowerON, Power BI customers can plan, forecast, do what-if scenario analysis, and have ability to write-back and save values to any source db, all from within the Power BI Dashboard. (Important Note; Actuals are not overwritten; versioning, and integrated security preserve the integrity of source actuals). Power ON’s complete offering includes a financial modeling, Visual Modeler, 7 visuals and a write-back engine that enables FP&A, Spreading, Allocations, Text Comments, Project Planning, and writeback to 200+ Data Sources directly from within Power BI.
While you are waiting for Gartner’s 2022 BI Magic Quadrant, and the xP&A MQ we invite you to take a quick look at PowerON for yourself. Discover all that you can do with Microsoft Power BI and Power ON.
Until next time…