“Data is the new oil. Like oil, data is valuable. But if it’s unrefined, it can’t be used.”

- Mike Marotta, VP of Sales, Power ON

Useful data is the top currency of our day, and as tools evolve for extracting value from data, we present them to our audience. To that end, today’s interview features Power ON, a provider of self-service business intelligence (BI) software using Microsoft's Power Platform. This series’ mission is to provide unbiased insights for leaders wanting to extract value from their data, and we would be remiss to exclude this offering but as a disclaimer, Blue Margin receives revenue from Power ON when reselling their services.

In this Expert Insights interview, Jon Thompson hosts Vice Presidents Eric Weiss and Mike Marotta. Power ON was founded in 2015, has 50 employees across the globe, and over 20 Fortune 100 customers. The company’s toolset extends Microsoft Power BI features, enabling real-time write-back and collaboration for planning, variance analysis, forecasting, budgeting, and workflows. Where Power BI is traditionally a one-way street, ingesting and presenting data, Power ON provides a two-way street, enabling users to input data in Power BI which writes back to the data model.

You can watch the full interview, listen to the podcast, or read the highlights below. 

Key Takeaways:

  1. In uncertain economic conditions, remaining agile with scenario planning is essential.

  2. To remain competitive, stay up to date on the latest data trends, and rely on partners to help you.
  3. Single screen reporting is a disruptive technology that catalyzes data-driven decision making.
  4. Power ON allows for write-back, making master data management accessible (even to Excel users). 



Tools for Scenario Planning and Forecasting

“If business isn’t about being able to see what’s happening and make adjustments, I don’t know what it is.” – Jon Thompson

Economic conditions continue to teeter on the brink of a lasting recession (PitchBook, 2022), with interest rates spiking, inflation broadening, growth slowing, and credit tightening. PitchBook’s Q4 Quantitative Perspectives report predicts a 65% chance of a late 2023 or early 2024 recession.

PitchBook Q4 quantitative perspectives - recession prediction

Predictions of an impending recession may feel like old news, but as they persist, the likelihood increases, and companies need reliable instrumentation to inform strategy and prepare for the “what ifs”. What if broadening inflation lowers consumer buying power, decreasing our product demand by X%? What if slowing growth limits our ability to raise cash for planned capital investments? While economists offer opinions about the market’s future and potential impacts to business, executives need real numbers specific to their companies to inform decision making.

“Good data beats an opinion any day of the week.” – Eric Weiss

To that end, Power ON features scenario planning and forecasting tools that allow users to visualize scenarios and their impact on the bottom line. These scenarios can be saved and shared with teammates through Power BI for real-time collaboration and planning.

“Power ON allows user to run scenarios in a typically read-only platform… They can begin to ask questions, interact with visuals, play with different drivers to understand the effect or outcome of various situations they might come across.” – Mike Marotta

Prioritize Real-Time Access to Reliable Data (Business Intelligence)

“If you’re a leader in your organization, you need to put a priority on data quality because it has such an impact on decision making.” - Eric Weiss

Executives rely on real-time access to quality data to make decisions and set priorities, and leveraging data in the modern business requires leaders to follow trends at the forefront of the data revolution. According to Mike, “it all comes down to continued education.” He encourages leaders to build a data-driven culture, to expand their knowledge through podcasts and other media, and to rely on outside expertise to fill in the gaps.

According to Forbes, companies should be data-driven “to maintain competitiveness in an increasingly competitive global market” (Mehndiratta, 2020).

Harnessing the Disruptive Technology of Single-Screen Reporting

“The disruptive aspect of (single screen reporting) is that it dramatically saves time by consolidating collection and reporting. It really has a huge impact on the velocity of decision making.” - Eric Weiss 

Manufacturing HQ Company Scorecard-1

Eric asserts that single-screen reporting is a game-changer because it reduces the disruption of data collection and manual spreadsheets and catalyzes data-driven decision making. He references a Forbes article, noting that Chief Data Officers are kept up at night by knowing that 40% of their teams’ time is spent on data collection, quality, and ingestion (Un Ates, 2021). A single screen narrows the focus to the highest impact metrics and gets everyone working from the same playbook.

Leveraging Excel Literacy as a Shortcut to Data Intelligence

“What we love about the Power ON tool is the ability to use it to develop a Master Scorecard… without all the overhead of connecting to the various transactional systems, modeling the data, setting up the transforms, doing the logic, etc.” - Jon Thompson

Excel use is ubiquitous, and Power ON harnesses users’ familiarity with Excel interface and formulas to lower the barrier to data intelligence. Power ON’s Power XL tool allows users within Power BI to write back information directly to their reporting database without needing to know Visual Basic or other coding skills. Using Excel formulas, users can input metrics, KPIs (key performance indicators), thresholds, and tracking parameters.

“Many users when they start using Power BI have to learn a new formulaic language (DAX), but Power ON uses Excel language which is a massive time saver for users.” – Mike Marotta

Contact Power ON

Looking to explore how Power ON can help your team harness more power and foresight from your data? Reach out to Mike or Eric through LinkedIn or through the website, Power ON.

Blue Margin helps private equity and mid-market companies quickly convert data into automated dashboards, the most efficient way to create a data-driven culture and accountability to the growth plan. We call it The Dashboard Effect, the title of our book and podcast. Our mission is to deliver breakthroughs early and often.

If you would like to explore how Blue Margin can put your data to work by operationalizing your value creation plan, let's connect.

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Suzanne Rains and Katie Johnson

Written by Suzanne Rains and Katie Johnson

Suzanne Rains is Strategic Partnerships Manager at Blue Margin. With a MA in Human Resources and BAs in Marketing and Management, Suzanne unites an understanding of human nature and a keen interest in industry research to author thought leadership articles for today’s business leaders. Katie Johnson is Blue Margin’s marketing manager. With a degree in human development, Katie is a student of the connection between data insights and the people who use them. She has a gift for making complex ideas accessible and brings her aptitude for process design to every conversation.