Excel and Power BI expert Tony De Jonker often visits companies that want to stop using Excel. “From now on we will do everything in Power BI,” he hears. Of course De Jonker is happy to be part of such a progressive company. “But”, he asks with a smile, “how are you going to get the numbers in Power BI?” There are certain steps before that.
Use the right tools
Excel is ideally suited to set up all kinds of calculation models, including financial forecasts that are compared with the actual figures. Scenario analyzes, financial arithmetic calculations and bottleneck calculations can also be solved with Excel. De Jonker: “Recurring tasks can also be automated in Excel using macros and VBA, although this is not for everyone. Transformation processes can now be easily automated with Power Query, a tool also built into Power BI. If you are dealing with multiple files that need to be linked, the Data Model and Power Pivot can also be used. This option is also part of the Power BI. Power BI is again stronger in visualizing the figures and sharing them after publication. You can more easily grant the rights to users, so that they only see their own information. The display on tablets and smartphones also looks sublime. One does not exclude the other. Excel and Power BI are actually “happy together”. ”
Calculation and big data
Just like Henk Vlootman, Tony De Jonker thinks that Power BI is a wonderful program: “But the switch may well take a while. It is important that people can work with it. Finance people, planning and control people, are thinkers. They think carefully and often also have to calculate things. There is little point in haphazardly creating some dashboards in Power BI. If you use big data, you have all kinds of ideas, but you can calculate that much better in Excel. People are also used to that program. You cannot expect everyone to switch at once. Just think of a financial forecast. You consider what turnover and costs you will have in the coming weeks, months and quarters. That depends on all kinds of variables. You also need to know how the business processes are and how to identify the associated KPIs. Where are you going to build that? In Power BI? Show me how you’re going to do that. No, you start small, in Excel. Only when you have reports in order and you can start reading things do you switch to Power BI. The switch to Power BI can easily take place because you already use the built-in Power Tools in Excel, namely Power Query and Power Pivot. ”