insightsoftware has announced the acquisition of Power ON, an US-based provider of planning solutions integrated into Microsoft Power BI: https://insightsoftware.com/blog/2023-02-08/
insightsoftware has become a well-known consolidator in the CPM space. Backed by several private equity investors, its most prominent acquisitions in the past three years include IDL, Longview, Viareport and Certent – and many others in the wider data and analytics space including LogiAnalytics, Magnitude and most recently, the Germany-based BI vendor Cubeware.
Power ON has been one of the pioneer vendors that has converted the idea of using Power BI as a platform for planning into a product. Like many other CPM start-ups, the company has its roots in Europe. The development team is still located in Hungary, while the headquarters for the international marketing of the solution has been moved to the US.
Forecasting in Power ON
The segment of Power BI-based planning solutions is a relatively young one. Most of the players in this field such as Acterys, defacto global, K4 Analytics and ValQ are rather small start-ups trying to increase the credibility of Power BI-based planning solutions as an alternative to established CPM platforms with their own front ends.
Forced by the rapid spread of Power BI in the market as well as the strategies of their user companies, most of the market-leading CPM vendors are integrating Power BI now as an additional option to interact with the solution’s data. Typically, these efforts are focused on leveraging Power BI’s strengths for reporting, analysis and dashboarding, but also the first vendors are now enabling data input through the Power BI user interface into the CPM platform’s data model (e.g., Jedox).
With the growing popularity of Power BI as a data and analytics front end, this option is more frequently evaluated by customers using Power BI for reporting already. BARC has experienced extremely high traffic on its webinar series about that market segment in the past two years.
In our opinion, this is an interesting move as the integration of planning and analytics (BI) has been a widely debated topic in the industry for decades. Both the opinion that planning is a separate application and that it is part of BI have their supporters. BARC has always preferred the view of considering the CPM market segment as part of an integrated data and analytics solution.
Now, as customers are clearly putting pressure on CPM vendors to integrate more closely with leading reporting platforms, this seems to validate the benefit of bringing planning and reporting & analytics closer together.
Especially for light planning scenarios (e.g., collecting forecast data from sales people or simple budget data from cost center managers), existing generic reporting solutions such as Power BI, Qlik and Tableau are interesting options, as many of the key users are already familiar with the interface – and have often licensed the product already. Some start-ups like Accobat are addressing that scenario with Power BI add-ons for data collection.
For more advanced planning scenarios as well as for business power users in the office of the CFO doing modeling, simulations and the administration of complex planning applications, more comprehensive application-specific solutions might remain the option of choice in many cases.
This acquisition could be the starting point for converting a small niche market for Power BI-based planning applications into a more broadly available option for planning solutions. We also see other large vendors currently considering extending their offering in the direction of leveraging Power BI for data input.
Also, for the two other large reporting platform giants Qlik and Tableau, several data entry solutions already exist. However, they gain less attention than the Power BI market space, where third-party extensions have an even more important and established role in the ecosystem.
We believe that a comprehensive integration with the three leading reporting platforms Microsoft, Qlik and Tableau will become a more frequently requested requirement in the future when selecting a CPM vendor. In most cases, the focus will be on enhanced reporting options, but we think the option to use these platforms for data input scenarios as well will become more popular in the future.
In our “Planning in and with Power BI” webinar series we had 8 vendors presenting their solutions in compact 20 minute presentations. See all recordings here.
Presentation of the Power ON solution by Michael Marotta, VP of Sales during the BARC webinar “Planning in and with Power BI”