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Just Because It Says “Power BI” It Doesn’t Really Mean It Is…

I can’t help smiling when I see legacy BI/Planning application vendors -that were not so long ago laughing away Power BI– coming out with their own “Power BI Integration” after Microsoft has turned around the industry. These are more often than not nothing but “a marketing spiel” to build on Power BI’s awareness and of very limited use in real-life application scenarios.

Typically, it involves a visual that renders one of their web application pages within Power BI (or worse just using the Power BI look and feel in their own app without any useful Power BI integration), respectively moving data around from their proprietary data stores (that typically require expensive licensing) to one that Power BI can work with.

Rendering a web page in Power BI is not an “Integration”

One shortcoming of these “web page report integrations” is, that they are not at all making use of the unique features and purpose of Power BI e.g. in- and out-bound application of a selection that filters other content in the report. Rendering a web page with no connection to other Power BI elements is of little value when insights through displaying cross-dependencies are not available.

Versatile modelling planning/project management functionality or “dumb display only”

None of the “Power BI Integrations” by legacy vendors -that we are aware of- really make use of the power of Power BI. This typically requires a wide range of Power BI visuals that enable versatile planning/forecasting, consolidation and project management scenarios. Currently, the only provider that can offer this, with among others the credentials of a Microsoft Preferred Solution and Power BI Editor’s pick is Acterys.

Moving data between different platforms doesn’t work for real-time planning requirements

The “moving data around” approach is equally problematic: planning scenarios require an instant response. A process that requires moving data between different platforms can never achieve that.

No integrated authentication

The final aspect is authentication: the legacy BI applications typically use their own authentication mechanisms that don’t integrate with Power BI’s.

In summary, we recommend asking the following questions to assess if integration with Power BI is efficient and of practical use or just a bottle of snake oil.

Questions to ask:

  1. Can all aspects of the integration respond to selections in other Power BI visuals?
  2. To display the data in Power BI: is it necessary to move the legacy BI application’s data into another data store?
  3. Does the integration support one of Power BI’s standard authentication methods enabling Single Sign On (SSO), respectively another mechanism that avoids users having to log in again on every instance where the “integrated report” is used respectively after every data refresh in Power BI?
  4. What planning functionality is really available in Power BI? Is it just displaying data or do you have the versatility to cover all aspects from modelling, visual planning to project management and transactional edits comparable to Acterys Power BI Visuals & Apps

For any questions, comparisons and a demonstration of the only comprehensive Financial Planning & Analytics platform that seamlessly integrates with Power BI and supports all features -at typically a fraction of the total cost of ownership of legacy vendors- please contact our friendly live chat team.

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