Last Summer we looked at how to take an Excel report and upload it to Excel Online (click here) so that users can use the report without needing to open it on their desktop computer. The problem is that a user has to run the report manually if they want to get up-to-date information.
In my experience, many report users don’t care to see data that is as current as today. They are fine with the data being as current as, say, last night. Rather than opening a report and having to click a button for it to refresh the data, many users would rather see refreshed data from the night before already looking at them in the report.
Unfortunately, you cannot yet schedule an Excel Online report to refresh itself on some kind of interval. At least not that I’m aware of. If you know of a way, please, please, please post it in the comments.
But I do know that you can do this with a utility called Power Update.
Power Update is a simple application that sits on your desktop and can be downloaded and installed without any help from IT.
Power Update was even used by Microsoft when competing against Tableau, Qlik, and Microstrategy at the recent Gartner BI and Analytics Summit. Click here to read about it.
You can point Power Update to individual Excel files or entire folders full of Excel files, then tell Power Update to publish the refreshed versions of those Excel files out to Excel Online. You can also have it publish the refreshed versions to other file folders or network shared file folders on your corporate intranet. I like the option of publishing to Office 365 because it allows us to leverage the Excel Online application for viewing the reports.
This feels like a much more modern experience for the user of the report and you can use Power Update on any Excel file with any data source, not just one that uses Acumatica OData connections. You can use it on an Excel file that’s pointed to SharePoint, pointed to a Database, pointed to Access, pointed to other Excel files, pointed to CSV files, etc.
If you would like to download Power Update to try it out, you can simple click the button below. Power Update is free and can be installed on any computer.
However, the restriction is that each computer is only allowed to refresh one Excel workbook. If you want to install Power Update on 10 computers in you office, each computer can schedule the update of one Excel workbook. Alternatively, you could add many worksheets in your one Excel workbook and still use the free version of Power Update.
If you would like to refresh more than one Excel Workbook on a computer with Power Update, you simply need to pay the $500 license fee.
So feel free to try it out and, if you find that you want to refresh more than one Excel Workbook, I think you will find that it is well worth the $500 price tag.
O ya, and I personally used Power Update when I worked at The Robbins Company. It worked great and was very reliable. The managers loved having up-to-date metrics and I loved not having to spend my mornings refreshing Excel files. Click here to read more about my experience.
The combination of Acumatica, Excel Online, and Power Update has a lot of potential to get meaningful information into the hands of decision-makers without needing to purchase an expensive BI solution. And you can leverage your organization’s current Excel skills as well.