Write-back is the ability to update source systems, such as databases, to maintain systems of record while staying within the context of a BI application. This is essential to the concept of embedded BI.
With support for database write-backs and the ability to initiate backend processes from within the analytic content, end-users can update source systems directly in the same context as their analysis. A good BI application will enable these data updates in a secure and managed way.
Why is write-back important?
Write-back enables you to perform data enrichment actions based on your insights, such as adjusting budgets, forecasting scenarios, updating plans, adding comments, or correcting errors. You can also create workflows that trigger actions in other systems, such as sending emails, creating tasks, or generating invoices.
Write-back can help you streamline your business processes, improve data quality, and enhance collaboration. You can also save time and resources by avoiding manual data entry and switching between applications.
How does write-back work?
Write-back works by sending commands from the BI application to the data source through an API or a connector. The commands can be SQL statements, stored procedures, web services, or custom scripts. The data source then executes the commands and updates the data accordingly.
Write-back can be implemented in different ways depending on the BI application and the data source. Some BI applications provide built-in write-back capabilities for certain data sources, such as Excel or SQL Server. Others require custom development or integration with third-party tools (e.g., Logi Symphony, Process Runner, Power ON).
Write-back can also be configured to support different levels of security, validation, and auditing. For example, you can restrict write-back access to certain users or roles, require approval before updating data, or track changes in a log file.
What if IT is concerned about write-back to our source data?
Write-back is always an opt-in system where the database owner must first enable the ability to write back via security settings. Applications with write-back capabilities can only write back to your source system if you explicitly allow them access.
If IT blocks write-back at the data level, are there still ways I can write back and save information?
If your IT team does not allow write-back to the database, instead look for products (like Logi Symphony) that offer a built-in data input feature for storing data entered by end-users within the application’s own data storage area. This alternative storage location will preserve the source database’s current state while also enabling the augmentation of the source data with user-stored insights and information.
Users may also store insights as notes which allow them to add and reply to comments tagged to data points directly on a dashboard or report.
What are some use cases for write-back?
Write-back can be used for various purposes across different industries and functions. Here are some examples:
You can use write-back to adjust budget allocations, forecast revenue and expenses, capture comments to enable collaboration, run what-if scenarios, or fix reconciliation issues.
You can use write-back to update sales quotas, create sales forecasts, or make bulk updates to customer data.
You can use write-back to update campaign details, allocate marketing funds, or track leads and conversions.
You can use write-back to update inventory levels, manage orders and shipments, or optimize production schedules.
- Human Resources
You can use write-back to update employee records, plan staffing levels, or conduct performance reviews.
How can insightsoftware help you with write-back?
insightsoftware extends the capabilities of Power BI and Excel with write-back functionality. While maintaining security and control, you can write back to your data sources, such as ERP systems (e.g., SAP, Microsoft Dynamics), databases, spreadsheets, and cloud applications.
Request a demo today to learn more about how insightsoftware can help you with write-back.