Transformation of reporting from Excel to Power BI to optimize performance, work process, data quality and usability

The challenge with the data sizes

The Demand Planning Team at Mars is responsible for making predictions on future needs. The planning is updated in the form of Excel reports both daily and every four weeks and is provided to other departments such as Sales, Finance or Marketing. However, the reports have now reached a data size that not only affects the speed of loading and interaction, but also makes providing via e-mail impossible. In addition, the distribution of information via e-mail leads to invalid data storage on computers of individual users.

The solution for optimized work processes

As part of Mars’ Digital Workplace Agenda, we’re supporting the Demand Planning Team to make their reporting more agile and effective with the Business Intelligence solution from Microsoft Power BI. With the aim of simplifying the process of creating, updating and providing data while at the same time providing deeper insight, the first reports were transferred to Power BI. In contrast to Excel, Power BI is a tool that quickly connects various files and makes it easy to customize the visualization of data with little effort.

Power BI provides users with the ability to view all reports centrally in a web client, load them faster and get contextual information through visual interaction between graphs and spreadsheets. Because Power BI is also available as an app, sales representatives or management employees now have the latest reports available on their smartphones or tablets.

The communication about change

In addition to the active support during the preparation and redesign of the reports, we have, together with the project team, developed a communication strategy for the introduction of these. The strategy’s aim was to involve the users of the reports early in the change process to receive feedback and to prepare them for the new way of working. The playful and informative introduction to Power BI was made possible by a prize competition, live trainings and regular articles about functions within the corporate network Yammer.