Write Back

Table of Contents

How to Do Power BI Write Back & Planning?

 Data entry, planning and Wrte-back are key aspects of the performance management process not covered out of the box in Power BI.

Acterys as developed to address that by offering a comprehensive ecosystem for enterprise grade business modelling, planning and consolidation that seamlessly integrates with the market leading data discovery solution Power BI and Excel/Excel Online. The heart of system is an OLAP engine which runs on a relational database (SQL Server on premise or on Azure) that enables in-memory processing of the relational tables. A typical standard relational, disk based approach used by other tools on the market can’t cater for processing large scale multi user write back.

The Acterys engine automatically generates optimal data warehouse structures either based on a variety of connectors (cloud-based accounting systems like Xero, QuickBooks, WorkflowMax, Dear Inventory, Hubspot, Salesforce, Saasu etc.) or completely from scratch when users build their own dimensions and cubes as required using the Acterys Cube Wizard, Web Modeller, copy and paste from Excel or by importing data via nearly any ETL tool ( e.g. SQL Server Integration Services, Azure Data Factory, etc.).

What is Power BI Write Back

According to Microsoft, Power BI writeback is the solution that allows you to directly edit the data from Power BI. It gives you the ability to make changes to the databases while maintaining your records in the source system.

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How do the different planning options with Power BI compare?

Power BI Edit Table

The simplest option in write back Power BI is “Data Entry” which enables users to create simple new tables in Power BI. This is only available to report admins on the backend and doesn’t really cater for planning requirements as it is based on entering single records. Good for adding a new mapping for a few Power BI items but not usable for planning where you require multi-dimensional data (row/column/filters) entry not to mention more advanced options like top down/bottom, allocations etc.


PowerApps is another option -for users happy with a cloud setup- to collect a few specific numbers/KPI’s on the base level and add records to a database. If that’s all you require, perfect. Our customers frequently use it alongside Acterys, but it is unsuitable for matrix based, planning and forecasting requirements. PowerApps also requires licenses that are available at a similar investment level to Acterys. Finally, PowerApps do not support guest users outside your domain. In Acterys, you can add any user with their email address or Microsoft Account.

In the planning process, users are dealing with complex data models that include among others: financials, sales, HR details , etc. as well as sophisticated calculation logic. Working with these requires effective (including the support of special financial report structures) tabular entry and the option of entering data on any hierarchy levels with the respective distribution and allocation processing. All this is not supported in PowerApps and that is not what it is built for.

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In the following table we are outlining how the different options to enter data in Power BI compare:

Write-back, Planning for Power BI Comparison




Other Write Back Tools (Power on, ValQ)

Getting Started



Cloud based self-service sign on/ billingDownload of an App or web serviceManual purchase (Power on) from vendor (no self-service checkout)

Back end


Automatically generating optimal data warehouse structures



Processing write back/model changes in memory




Connectors to cloud-based accounting systems and SaaS



Audit trail and edit history that tracks all changes (who, what, when) for exact monitoring & control as well as simple undo.




AAD B2B support, single sign on


Front end



  • Web browser-based modeller for business users to build and maintain models.
  • No install required.
  • Complete flexibility with dimensions: As many dimensions and hierarchy levels as required.
  • Cube Wizard Tool to support business users building new write-back models from any source
  • Copy & Paste from Excel. (Modelling in Acterys)

Limited to table edits (Power on), Power BI visual only (ValQ)

Instant Link (Option to avoid ETL and link parts of the data model as opposed to physically moving data but still read/write enabled)ü×  ×

Planning / Writeback


Data Entry on Pivot Tables and Power BI visual



“Splashing”/data entry on any level of the dimensional hierarchy



Copy Wizard for data manipulation in Power BI & Excel




Write back on Excel report formulas in addition to Pivot Table







For further details on how the solutions compare for Power BI write back to database and how Acterys can assist your business modelling and planning processes, please contact us.

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Key Takeaways

  1. Power BI is a powerful data discovery solution but doesn’t natively cover data entry, planning, and write-back processes required for comprehensive performance management. 

  2. At the core of Acterys is an OLAP engine running on a relational database (SQL Server on-premise or Azure) that enables in-memory processing of relational tables. This approach is essential for handling large-scale, multi-user write-back scenarios efficiently.

  3. Acterys automates the creation of optimal data warehouse structures based on various connectors (including cloud-based accounting systems like Xero, QuickBooks, HubSpot, and Salesforce) or user-defined dimensions and cubes. This flexibility streamlines the planning and data entry process.

  4. The blog compares different options for Power BI write-back, emphasizing Acterys’ capabilities over alternatives like PowerApps. Power BI’s native “Data Entry” option, while useful for simple tasks, falls short when dealing with complex data models and planning requirements. Acterys offers a more robust solution.

  5. Acterys offers cloud-based self-service initiation, automated data warehouse generation, in-memory processing, connectors to cloud-based systems, audit trail for changes, support for AAD B2B, user-friendly web-based modeling, and advanced data entry and write-back capabilities.


  1. What is Power BI Write Back?

Power BI Write Back empowers users to update data, perform planning, and make necessary adjustments without leaving the Power BI environment, enhancing the platform’s usability for performance management.

  1. How does Acterys compare to PowerApps in terms of write-back capabilities for Power BI?

Acterys is designed for matrix-based planning and forecasting within Power BI and offers advanced data entry and write-back capabilities, making it suitable for complex data models and financial planning. PowerApps is more focused on collecting specific numbers or KPIs in a cloud-based setup and adding records to a database.


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