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Top 5 reasons Fortune 500 Companies choose Power BI for Planning

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insightsoftware is a global provider of reporting, analytics, and performance management solutions, empowering organizations to unlock business data and transform the way finance and data teams operate.

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Planning in a Rut?

Corporate Planning and the tools supporting it, is just one of many business processes that have stagnated over time. Today many organizations are still using outdated 3rd party tools, manual processes, spreadsheets, or the “back of a cocktail napkin” to accomplish the Planning process. Why? Because real planning is hard , takes many iterations, and often ends up in a different direction than originally planned. Planning isn’t as easy as looking into the crystal ball to ‘plan’ what the future will bring. That’s reality.

Organizations have invested in ERP solutions that are good at tracking activity, and supporting Business Intelligence (BI) solutions that can tell “what happened”. The need to plan in a more agile manner has increased due to the exponentially faster pace of business today, and has many asking “Is there a more modern way to do planning?

Modern Planning in your BI solution: Microsoft Power BI with Visual Planning

Over the last few years many leading companies have started to actually plan in their enterprise BI platforms. Yes, you read that right; Plan, inside their BI platform. Power ON has seen a new trend where many Fortune 500 companies not only moved to Power BI as their standard Business Intelligence platform, but then added Planning and Forecasting processes directly inside of Power BI, aligning all data collection, planning & reporting on one platform. Some of these converts have saved hundreds of hours and millions from their current planning process.

Who Benefits with Planning in BI?

What types of companies have benefited from moving to Planning in Power BI? Here are just a few we know of personally.

  • 4 Largest Oil & Gas Companies
  • Largest Semiconductor Chip Maker
  • Largest Computer Hardware Manufacturer
  • Largest Beverage Company
  • Space Launch Company with eyes on Mars

You can read more BI Thought-leadership and Customer Success Stories here.

Why Plan in Power BI?

Here are the Top 5 reasons we’ve found that organizations chose to Plan in Power BI:

  • Unified Platform for Visual Analytics and Planning
  • Holistic Business Rules and Security Roles
  • Collaboration and simplicity of one User Interface (UI)
  • Benefit from Microsoft’s Investment and Innovation in Power BI and Azure
  • Secure Hosting in Private Cloud Tenant

Learn from their takeaways and motivations

Below we will dig deeper into the rationale Fortune 500 companies put into moving Planning and Forecasting processes into Power BI. Whether you are a small firm, medium size, or closing in on the big guys, we are providing these tips to help your organization succeed with Planning in Power BI. You will learn from years of experience, best practices, and thoughts on Power BI from these large companies.

1. Unified Platform for Visual Analytics and Planning

A few years ago, I was doing consulting for American Express. They were evaluating a new BI tool. One day the VP of Investment Portfolios confronted me and asked: “Why can’t I create a version of this data out in time, edit data and assumptions while performing analytics in this awesome tool with scenario management?” As you probably now, the answer was “All BI tools are read only. It is just the way it is.” Or used to be.

When we launched Power ON Visual Planner to the market in 2015, it was with American Express in mind; Planning in a BI tool. It had never been done before. Since then, a large amount of Power BI companies has come to Power ON with similar requests. The benefits of planning in Power BI are obvious:

  • When users discover opportunities or reveal problems with products, markets, projects, inventory, or profitability, they can develop a scenario, and test it directly in Power BI. Save it. Share it!
    • Traditionally they would have to develop a new model in Excel.
  • Power BI has more than 400 visuals to help discover challenges in the dataset, and simple plugins to start editing and commenting on them. All visuals are also interactive and cross filters.
    • Legacy planning systems cannot visualize data in the same way, and users are forced into using multiple systems with different data and user-interfaces.
  • Power ON’s Visual Planner provides Built-in Workflow, Collaboration and Audit Trail functionality directly in Power BI
    • Excel and many other planning solutions has none or are lacking these features completely.
Top 5 reasons 1

2. Holistic Business Rules and Security Roles

Since the dawn of IT systems, it has been a goal to have “One version of the truth”. The same calculation of all metrics in all systems to all users. Companies implementing Power BI are closer to this than ever, due to all data being in the same Power BI Data Model or even Certified Data Models.

Another important aspect Power BI provides, besides holistic calculations, is a unified Security Model. When Access Rights have been applied on a Power BI Dataset, there is no need to have an additional Security Model for Planning users(!).

  • Power BI provides a powerful engine with holistic calculations. Power ON can optimize and Goal Seek these calculations.
    • If companies use other planning solutions or Excel, they introduce the element of erroneous or uncertain calculations. If users or management stop trusting in the answers, the process is a waste of time.
  • Once security is defined, there is no need to define it in any other solution. Set it and forget it.
    • As for calculations, a modern planning solution should only have one set of security settings to secure one version of the truth.
Top 5 Reasons 2

3. Collaboration, and Simplicity of One User Interface (UI)

Over the last 20 years, corporations have migrated from thick client solutions like Excel, ERP, Project Management to thin client web applications. Power BI is thin client, but it also supports flexible integrations and one similar UI for all use cases. This saves expenses on training and increases productivity as users are always in one familiar environment whether they are analyzing, collaborating, or developing a new Corporate Plan. Power ON’s Visual Planning enables these features:

  • You can choose between Excel or Power BI, but it is still the same data in a solid data model.
    • Some users still prefer Excel for flexibility, but they don’t have to develop their own data model as with legacy solutions. They write via Power ON to Power BI
  • Take advantage Power BI Mobile.
    • Power BI already has a Mobile solution. Salespeople and mobile users can enter data while on the go.
  • Planning users are dependent on great collaboration through teams.
    • With Excel or legacy planning solutions, collaboration feature set is lacking.
  • Commenting in Power BI with variance reporting and Task Based Planning. Users can add comments to datapoints and display them anywhere in Power BI.
    • Transferring or sharing comments from Excel or planning solutions is not supported.
Top 5 Reasons 3

4. Benefit From Microsoft’s Investment and Innovation in Power BI and Azure

When developing Power ON, we made a strategic decision to build on top of the investments that Microsoft were putting into Power BI and Azure. It has proven to be the right decision. All the innovations that Microsoft add to Power BI and Azure, Power ON can immediately provide as added features and performance enhancements to our end-users:

  • Performance enhancements from Composite Models. This enables companies to host unlimited data with detailed granularity for Historical info, and combining this with smaller, agile planning models.
    • Power BI is the only platform that supports composite models. Some industry analysists called it a “Game Changer” when Microsoft announced this in 2020.
  • Collaboration in Teams. There is no need to build another collaboration platform, when the entire company already uses teams.
    • Power BI has the tightest integration with teams of any software. Power ON Planning users benefit greatly from this.
  • Dataflow for data transformation to Data Lakes. Power ON can read data directly from Azure Data Lakes integrated with Dynamics or Power BI.
    • Traditional planning software don’t support data lakes integration.
  • Speed enhancements for Power BI Data Models Gen 2. When Microsoft launched Gen 2 of their data models, all of Power ON’s users reaped the same benefits.
    • No other planning solution uses similar technology, and thus users to not reap these benefits.
  • Supporting Premium per User (PPU). For companies that don’t want to invest in Power BI Premium, PPU is a great way to get access to these additional features. PPU enables data collection and planning to Power BI in just a few minutes.
    • No other planning solution uses similar technology, and thus users to not reap these benefits.
  • Writeback to Azure Synapse. This is speed and agility. “There ain’t no data big enough to plan on with Power ON Visual Planning”
    • Excel or legacy planning solutions can’t take advantage of number crushers like Synapse.
Top 5 Reasons 4

5. Secure Hosting in Their Own Environment

Lastly; Security! Corporations are taking security seriously, as recent cases have proven that the bad PR companies get after a hack can really impact subscription revenue and customer loyalty. Keeping Operational and Financial Planning data is no different.

  • Fortune 500 companies comes to Power ON because they want to take advantage of the “Fortress of Security” they have built around Power BI and Azure. Planning and Forecasting of Operational & Financial data get the same SOC II compliance and ISO 27000 treatment as all other data as Power ON Visual Planning is installed in their tenant. No data leaves their environment for any reason.
    • All planning solutions request Planning and Performance data to be uploaded to the vendor’s tenant. These SaaS planning providers do not have anything close to the certifications or security checks and balances in place to match what the Fortune 500 companies have implemented themselves. It is a BIG security concern. Read: Google Earnings tank 10% due to leaked data.
Top 5 Reasons 5

Fun Fact

We at Power ON are enjoying all we do, and thus provide a 100% Money Back Guarantee if any of our customers don’t like our software. To further encourage you and your company to try us out, we are sharing some additional features and facts from our implementations.

Customers are looking for enhanced Commentary Functionality

Our now largest Enterprise Deployment at a medical device company, started their journey with Power ON for Text Commenting. 3 years ago, an employee of said company of said company, visited our booth at a Microsoft conference. She was introduced to text commenting on data points with Power ON Visual Planning, and she burst out: “I need that. NOW!”. It was implemented a week later, and now in 2021, they have 1,000’s of users planning with Billions of Dollars in Sales, Inventory, Services, Employees, Supply Chain, Bonuses, and Project Management. You should try.

Power ON supports writeback to 200 different data sources.

If your corporation has implemented Snowflake, HANA, Oracle, Databricks, Dynamics, SalesForce, we write to that as well. We enable write-back to 200+ different databases directly from Microsoft Power BI. We are looking forward to learning about your Power BI Story and potentially extending the reach of Power BI in your organization.

Contact us today for a demo