• Jonny Gray

Process Automation with Power BI

Do you have labour intensive manual processes for approvals or reminders that you would love to automate? Perhaps you want to spend less time and effort chasing up proposals, timesheets, or invoices. The good news is that using recently released functionality in Power BI, we can now provide easy access to your existing data and provide (almost) unlimited process automation capabilities.

This feature update is more technical in nature than our usual updates, so I’ll provide some practical use-cases as we go.

Power BI is great, it can get complex data extracts from your application's APIs; combine it with other organisational data; transform that data to make it usable; then integrate business logic, and build analytics and measures relevant to your business; and lastly provide you that information in responsive, interactive and visually stimulating reports and dashboards.

However, this data is hidden away and only accessible by a handful of applications (e.g. Power BI, Excel or Power Apps) and only if you're willing to put in the leg work and learn a new technology. Thankfully Power BI have now added functionality that allows us to store that data somewhere more accessible. "Marvellous" I hear you say. Unfortunately - for a variety of technical reasons - it’s not so easy to use and even if you get to the underlying data it’s tricky to do anything useful with it.

We often get requests from our customers to provide automation solutions. These range from simple notification routines, e.g. send a reminder to everyone who has yet to complete their timesheet for the week on late Friday afternoon to more complex workflow and approval routines. Our latest customer request – who use our Power BI for Synergy solution – will provide the ability to manage multiple invoice approvals for complex multi-discipline projects where in some cases you are seeking approvals (&/or adjustments) from multiple people both prior to invoice creation, and approving it once it's in draft before it can finally be sent to the client fully agreed by all involved.

All of the data required to make these processes happen is available in the existing Power BI data flows. With a few configuration tweaks we can make this data available. Using our custom APIs we can make this data accessible to our customers to use as a base for their own automation routines and in-house apps. Though, more often than not we build and manage these solutions on behalf of our customers. Our pre-built core-technologies give us a head-start and enable us to provide rapid and affordable solutions at a fraction of cost of doing it yourself.

If you would like to know about the possibilities of process automation and getting even more value from your Power BI solutions contact Jonny Gray @ jonny@s2ranalytics.com or call S2R Analytics on +44 (0) 203 884 5151.