/ How BI tools can take your operations beyond VBA programming

How BI tools can take your operations beyond VBA programming

Early in the days of business intelligence, analysts and data scientists relied on Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) to automate repetitive tasks in Excel. VBA was a groundbreaking tool at the time, allowing users to record their actions in Excel and play them back as needed. When used correctly, VBA could save users hours of tedious work.

However, as business intelligence has evolved, so too have the tools and technologies used to support it. Modern BI platforms offer a range of capabilities that go far beyond what VBA can provide.

Not only do enterprises need to scale their business intelligence operations to support more users and more data, but they also need to do so in a way that is secure, compliant, and governed.

By learning how to take advantage of the automation capabilities in modern BI tools, enterprises can streamline their business intelligence processes, making them more efficient and effective.

This article will look at five ways you can use modern BI tools to automate your Excel processes, from data preparation to reporting and analysis.

 
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The evolution from VBA programming to BI

VBA stands for Visual Basic for Applications. It is a programming language that is used to create custom applications within Microsoft Office products, including Excel. VBA was first introduced in 1993 and has been a staple of the Microsoft Office suite ever since.

When VBA was introduced, it was a cutting-edge tool that allowed users to automate repetitive tasks in Excel. VBA was particularly useful for financial analysts, who used it to create complex financial models.

Over time, VBA has become less popular as a tool for business intelligence. This is because modern BI tools offer a range of capabilities that go far beyond what VBA can provide.

Some of the limitations of VBA include:

  • It is a programming language, which requires users to have coding skills in order to use it effectively.
  • It is limited to Microsoft Office products, which means that it cannot be used to automate tasks in other applications.
  • It is not designed for enterprise-scale operations, which means that it cannot be used to support large numbers of users or large amounts of data.
  • It is not a secure or compliant platform, which means that businesses cannot use it to support regulated processes.

The more data that enterprises need to manage, the more likely they are to move away from VBA and towards modern BI platforms. This is because modern BI platforms offer a number of advantages over VBA, including:

  • They are designed for enterprise-scale operations, which means that they can support large numbers of users and large amounts of data.
  • They offer a range of security and compliance features, which makes them ideal for regulated processes.
  • They provide a graphical user interface (GUI), which makes them easier to use than VBA.
  • They offer a range of BI capabilities, which means that they can be used for more than just data automation.

With BI tools, companies can take advantage of the benefits of automation without any of the drawbacks of VBA. Let’s look at five ways you can use BI tools to automate your Excel processes.

 

Data preparation

Automating the process of preparing data for analysis can save time and ensure that data is clean and ready for use.

One of the most time-consuming tasks in business intelligence is data preparation. Data preparation requires you to clean, transform, and enrich data so that it is ready for analysis. This can be a time-consuming process, particularly if you are working with large data sets.

Fortunately, BI tools can automate the process of data preparation. With BI tools, you can:

  • Extract data from a variety of sources, including databases, spreadsheets, and text files.
  • Clean data by removing invalid values, duplicate records, and other errors.
  • Transform data by changing its format, merging data sets, and performing other operations.
  • Enrich data by adding new information, such as geographical data or customer profiles.

By automating the process of data preparation, BI tools can save you time and ensure that your data is clean and ready for use. This creates a solid foundation for all your other business intelligence operations.

 

 
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Data loading

Automating the process of loading data into Excel can save time and ensure that data is always up to date.

Another time-consuming task in business intelligence is data loading. Data loading involves extracting data from a data source and then loading it into Excel. This process needs to be performed every time you want to update your data.

Fortunately, BI tools can automate the process of data loading. With BI tools, you can:

  • Extract data from a variety of sources, including databases, spreadsheets, and text files
  • Load data into Excel with a few clicks
  • Schedule data updates so that your data is always up to date
  • By automating the process of data loading, BI tools can save you time and ensure that your data is always up to date. This allows you to focus on using your data rather than preparing it.

 

Data analysis

Automating the process of analyzing data can save time and ensure that you always have access to the latest information.

Once data is prepared and loaded, it needs to be analyzed. Data analysis involves understanding and interpreting data so that you can make better decisions. This can be a time-consuming process, particularly if you are working with large data sets.

Fortunately, BI tools can automate the process of data analysis. With BI tools, you can:

  • Analyze data with a few clicks
  • Visualize data so that it is easy to understand
  • Share data insights with others in your organization

By automating the process of data analysis, BI tools can save you time and ensure that you always have access to the latest information. This allows you to make better decisions and take actions that improve your business.

 

Reporting

Automating the process of creating reports can save time and ensure that you always have access to the latest information.

Once data is prepared, loaded, and analyzed, it needs to be reported. Reporting involves creating documents that summarize and communicate your data insights. This can be a time-consuming process, particularly if you are working with large data sets.

Fortunately, BI tools can automate the process of reporting. With BI tools, you can:

  • Create reports that are easy to understand
  • Schedule reports so that they are always up to date.
  • Share reports with others in your organization.

By automating the process of reporting, BI tools can save you time and ensure that you always have access to the latest information. This allows you to communicate your data insights to others in your organization.

 

Dashboards

Automating the process of creating dashboards can save time and ensure that you always have access to the latest information.

Once data is prepared, loaded, analyzed, and reported, it needs to be displayed in a dashboard. A dashboard is a graphical interface that displays data in an easy-to-understand format. This can be a time-consuming process, particularly if you are working with large data sets.

Fortunately, BI tools can automate the process of dashboard creation. With BI tools, you can:

  • Create dashboards that are easy to understand.
  • Schedule dashboards so that they are always up to date.
  • Share dashboards with others in your organization.

By automating the process of dashboard creation, BI tools can save you time and ensure that you always have access to the latest information. This allows you to communicate your data insights to others in your organization in an easy-to-understand format.

 
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Workflow automation

Automating the process of workflow can save time and ensure that tasks are completed efficiently.

In any organization, there are a number of tasks that need to be completed on a regular basis. This can include things like data entry, invoicing, and customer service.

Fortunately, BI tools can automate the process of workflow. With BI tools, you can:

  • Automate repetitive tasks
  • Schedule tasks so that they are completed on time
  • Monitor tasks so that you can see how they are progressing

By automating the process of workflow, BI tools can save you time and ensure that tasks are completed efficiently. This allows you to focus on more important tasks and improve the overall efficiency of your organization.

 

Take advantage of modern BI tools

If you are still using Excel and VBA to automate your operations, then you are missing out on the many benefits of modern BI tools. BI tools can save you time and ensure that your business always has access to accurate, up-to-date information.

With BI tools, you can automate your Excel processes, from data preparation to reporting and analysis. Moving to a modern BI tool will allow you to take advantage of the latest features and technologies, and it will future-proof your business. Don’t miss your chance to improve your operations – make the switch to a modern BI tool today.

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