This article is an addition to our overview “New vendors for planning in and around Power BI”
The segment “Planning in Power BI” has picked up a lot of speed recently, after being an exotic addition to the Power BI ecosystem for a long time it seems that it is now becoming and additional standard scenario for companies using Power BI for reporting. This is reflected in more and more interest and additional offerings from vendors, in our May 21 update we add two of them to our list and have one more on our radar for the next months:
Accobat is a danish company with a long history as a BI and CPM consultancy reselling Prophix and Jedox as CPM solutions for many years. Recently they made the move to bring their own PowerBI planning offering to the market with “accoPlanning”, targeting light planning scenarios as well as the segment I like to call “data collection”.
This means that the focus is rather on collecting data from a high number of users than on complex financial calculations. The solution consists of a visual for data entry (already available on Microsoft AppSource) and features taking care of functionality like top down data entries and writing back the data to a SQL table.
Accobat is positioning the product as a standalone solution for light planning scenarios as well as a possible data collection solution as a supplement to “full blown” CPM offerings like Jedox. The data modeling and administration is done with the standard set of tools of the Microsoft ecosystem, so e.g. for setting up calculation rules using DAX or the access and row level security the customer needs the appropriate skills in Power BI or consulting support.
Accobat released the product recently in 2021 and goes to the market with a quite aggressive pricing starting at 10 USD per month and user. We will have a closer look at the solution later this year.
K4 Analytics is a privately held Irish software vendor and has published their first product in 2016, enabling write-back for Qlik users. Ever since then, the vendor has been established as one of the few planning add-ons for Qlik, a functionality which was more a secret than an actively marketed feature in the Qlik community.
Later the same functionality was released for Tableau, until in 2019 the company entered a partnership with Microsoft to enable planning for Power BI (and recently Teams) users. K4 uses Excel for a wide part of design tasks for planning forms and brings the strengths of uncomplicated free table design from Excel to its Power BI visual. Big parts of the data model and even the security can be defined in Excel formulas, targeting Excel users from financial and other departments with a low entry barrier.
K4 is somehow unique in the group of Power BI planning vendors, as the models defined can be deployed in Qlik, Tableau, Power BI (in the meantime the most popular platform for the product) and now also in a “embedded web” version which is independent from the reporting platform. Beside the core planning functionality including different top-down data entry options, K4 offers collaboration functionalities enabling users to work together on the data (see screenshot).
Although being an established vendor with a quite significant customer base already, K4 Analytics is a small company with a lean team, focusing on product development and leaving the field organization mainly to partners.
New on our radar is data1.io, a new project from the Austrian consultancy Linearis, an established Microsoft BI expert. With data1.io they started a project which is very Excel oriented and targets light scenarios like data entry and data collection based on models created in Excel.
The data is collected in the cloud and can then be accessed via a ODATA interface for further usage in different applications. Linearis has now presented the first prototype of a Power BI visual which can be used for data entry, a sample scenario can be tested on their website.
As soon as the Power BI integration is officially released we will have a detailed look on the solution. We see it as an interesting approach for easy data collection for light scenarios like e.g. collecting forecast or staffing data, not as a typical planning tool.
The solution starts with a limited free version, enterprise versions start at 20 Euro/month.