Power BI helps you make better business decisions

People have always been intrigued by what the future holds. But while seers use crystal balls and tarot cards to get a glimpse of what’s to come, business leaders shouldn’t have to base their business forecasts on pseudoscience. Instead, they should use a scientific tool that collects and analyzes data to do reliable predictive forecasting, such as Microsoft’s Power BI.

Power BI is a separate Microsoft product on its own, but if you have a Microsoft 365 Enterprise E5 subscription, then you can avail of Power BI for Microsoft 365. Both versions use a variety of statistical techniques, such as modeling and data mining, to analyze current and previous information to make accurate predictions. Power BI also provides users with the ability to generate reports, interactive charts, and 3D visualizations of business performance.

What’s more, Power BI’s built-in predictive forecasting models can automatically detect data seasonality, allowing users to immediately see the annual, regular, and predictable changes in data. It also enables users to see how results are affected by certain parameters. All they have to do is set parameters such as the time or the confidence interval according to their preferred configuration, and the software will analyze data accordingly. Simply put, users can perform advanced forecasting without the complexity that usually accompanies these kinds of processes.

Power BI’s predictive forecasting can also help fill in gaps with data. Power View, an interactive data exploration and presentation tool, fills in missing values from a data set before carrying out a forecast for a more accurate result.

Get started with Power BI for Microsoft 365 predictive forecasting by doing the following:

  1. Upload a workbook with a Power View time series line chart to Power BI for Microsoft 365.
  2. Open the file in Power BI.
  3. Click on the forecast arrow or drag the forecast dot in the line chart to make the forecasting parameters appear in the Analytics pane at the right of your report. To get your desired forecast or projection, configure the following parameters:
    • Forecast length – This lets you look as far into the future as you wish, be it in days, months, or years.
    • Confidence interval – This parameter allows you to indicate the probability of how close predicted values will be to the actual numbers. For instance, you can set the parameter at 80% to be certain that next year’s actual sales figures will be 80% within the range of your forecast. The higher the confidence interval, the closer the prediction is to the actual results.
    • Ignore last – Outliers in data sets can distort averages and forecasts. For instance, you want to look into sales for the past 12 months, but you know that the data of every month goes through adjustments before being locked in. With this parameter, you can take out data from the most recent month if the numbers haven’t been adjusted yet.
    • Seasonality – A data set is said to exhibit seasonality when a pattern can be discerned from the data values over cycles of time. If you anticipate seasonality in a particular workbook, you can specify the pattern to occur monthly, quarterly, or yearly.

Predictive forecasting, if used properly, can immensely help with the overall strategic planning, market penetration, and operations of your business.

Looking to learn more about Microsoft 365 and its features? Call us today for a chat.

This post was originally published on this site

Power BI helps you make better business decisions

People have always been intrigued by what the future holds. But while seers use crystal balls and tarot cards to get a glimpse of what’s to come, business leaders shouldn’t have to base their business forecasts on pseudoscience. Instead, they should use a scientific tool that collects and analyzes data to do reliable predictive forecasting, such as Microsoft’s Power BI.

Power BI is a separate Microsoft product on its own, but if you have a Microsoft 365 Enterprise E5 subscription, then you can avail of Power BI for Microsoft 365. Both versions use a variety of statistical techniques, such as modeling and data mining, to analyze current and previous information to make accurate predictions. Power BI also provides users with the ability to generate reports, interactive charts, and 3D visualizations of business performance.

What’s more, Power BI’s built-in predictive forecasting models can automatically detect data seasonality, allowing users to immediately see the annual, regular, and predictable changes in data. It also enables users to see how results are affected by certain parameters. All they have to do is set parameters such as the time or the confidence interval according to their preferred configuration, and the software will analyze data accordingly. Simply put, users can perform advanced forecasting without the complexity that usually accompanies these kinds of processes.

Power BI’s predictive forecasting can also help fill in gaps with data. Power View, an interactive data exploration and presentation tool, fills in missing values from a data set before carrying out a forecast for a more accurate result.

Get started with Power BI for Microsoft 365 predictive forecasting by doing the following:

  1. Upload a workbook with a Power View time series line chart to Power BI for Microsoft 365.
  2. Open the file in Power BI.
  3. Click on the forecast arrow or drag the forecast dot in the line chart to make the forecasting parameters appear in the Analytics pane at the right of your report. To get your desired forecast or projection, configure the following parameters:
    • Forecast length – This lets you look as far into the future as you wish, be it in days, months, or years.
    • Confidence interval – This parameter allows you to indicate the probability of how close predicted values will be to the actual numbers. For instance, you can set the parameter at 80% to be certain that next year’s actual sales figures will be 80% within the range of your forecast. The higher the confidence interval, the closer the prediction is to the actual results.
    • Ignore last – Outliers in data sets can distort averages and forecasts. For instance, you want to look into sales for the past 12 months, but you know that the data of every month goes through adjustments before being locked in. With this parameter, you can take out data from the most recent month if the numbers haven’t been adjusted yet.
    • Seasonality – A data set is said to exhibit seasonality when a pattern can be discerned from the data values over cycles of time. If you anticipate seasonality in a particular workbook, you can specify the pattern to occur monthly, quarterly, or yearly.

Predictive forecasting, if used properly, can immensely help with the overall strategic planning, market penetration, and operations of your business.

Looking to learn more about Microsoft 365 and its features? Call us today for a chat.

This post was originally published on this site

What’s new with Microsoft Excel?

Microsoft Excel can be used to record inventory, create simple and complex formulas, and manage data. The world’s most popular spreadsheet program is chock full of features, and with a recent upgrade, users will be able to do more with their own data. Here’s how to make the most of it.

Previous Excel upgrades include the addition of dynamic arrays and array formulas, a feature that enabled single formulas to return an array of values. Another upgrade was the Stocks and Geography function, which lets users add stock and geography data into a spreadsheet with the help of the search engine Bing. These are both useful, but Microsoft decided to add even more functionality to the program.

New data types

Excel has always been a formidable tool for storing text, numbers, and formulas and allowing users to process information out of them. Still, the data that one could put in Excel grids were limited because they were flat. Recent upgrades improve upon that limitation.

Luckily, users can now add data types to Excel, making the program more dynamic and intelligent. These data types effectively expand what information inside cells can do. In particular, cells can now contain not just text and number data, but a connected, up-to-the-minute collection of information such as currencies, cities, population, stocks, and the like. Simply put, cells can interact with charts and formulas with live data.

Data in cells can be used as a reference for an even larger collection of different data types, images, and actions. In other words, you’re no longer just typing data and writing formulas into a cell, although you can still do both. Rather, a cell can contain a specific set of information that branches out into subsets of data that you would otherwise need to type directly into the cell.

For example, if you’re creating or upgrading a customer information spreadsheet, things like transaction history, preferences, or phone numbers don’t have to be typed one by one. Adding customer-specific data types could simplify this process: entering a customer name in a cell would link to a network of information about a specific entry (i.e., customer) using a scroll-over menu, as opposed to having to enter all that information manually. This makes data input more flexible, efficient, and less prone to error resulting from copy-pasting and manual entry.

Enhancements for Power BI customers

It is, however, users of Microsoft Power BI, the company’s business intelligence program, who will greatly benefit from the upgrades. If your company uses Power BI, data published into your account will automatically link to Excel, which makes the flow of company data types into the program more seamless.

In addition, Microsoft’s data connection technology Power Query will allow users to create custom data types, while pre-configured data types (through a partnership with knowledge engine provider Wolfram Alpha) will also soon be added to let users track different types of information.

This only scratches the surface of what these Excel upgrades can do. For more Office and general productivity tips, consult our IT experts today.

This post was originally published on this site

What’s new with Microsoft Excel?

Microsoft Excel can be used to record inventory, create simple and complex formulas, and manage data. The world’s most popular spreadsheet program is chock full of features, and with a recent upgrade, users will be able to do more with their own data. Here’s how to make the most of it.

Previous Excel upgrades include the addition of dynamic arrays and array formulas, a feature that enabled single formulas to return an array of values. Another upgrade was the Stocks and Geography function, which lets users add stock and geography data into a spreadsheet with the help of the search engine Bing. These are both useful, but Microsoft decided to add even more functionality to the program.

New data types

Excel has always been a formidable tool for storing text, numbers, and formulas and allowing users to process information out of them. Still, the data that one could put in Excel grids were limited because they were flat. Recent upgrades improve upon that limitation.

Luckily, users can now add data types to Excel, making the program more dynamic and intelligent. These data types effectively expand what information inside cells can do. In particular, cells can now contain not just text and number data, but a connected, up-to-the-minute collection of information such as currencies, cities, population, stocks, and the like. Simply put, cells can interact with charts and formulas with live data.

Data in cells can be used as a reference for an even larger collection of different data types, images, and actions. In other words, you’re no longer just typing data and writing formulas into a cell, although you can still do both. Rather, a cell can contain a specific set of information that branches out into subsets of data that you would otherwise need to type directly into the cell.

For example, if you’re creating or upgrading a customer information spreadsheet, things like transaction history, preferences, or phone numbers don’t have to be typed one by one. Adding customer-specific data types could simplify this process: entering a customer name in a cell would link to a network of information about a specific entry (i.e., customer) using a scroll-over menu, as opposed to having to enter all that information manually. This makes data input more flexible, efficient, and less prone to error resulting from copy-pasting and manual entry.

Enhancements for Power BI customers

It is, however, users of Microsoft Power BI, the company’s business intelligence program, who will greatly benefit from the upgrades. If your company uses Power BI, data published into your account will automatically link to Excel, which makes the flow of company data types into the program more seamless.

In addition, Microsoft’s data connection technology Power Query will allow users to create custom data types, while pre-configured data types (through a partnership with knowledge engine provider Wolfram Alpha) will also soon be added to let users track different types of information.

This only scratches the surface of what these Excel upgrades can do. For more Office and general productivity tips, consult our IT experts today.

This post was originally published on this site