‘Real-Enough-Time’ Data

I see and hear a whole lot of noise and effort around the acquisition of “Real-Time” data in their Power BI Reports and Dashboards. I argue here that most times this is simply not necessary nor preferred and that it is causing a fair amount of unnecessary disruption, stress and expense in BI projects everywhere.

Real-Time is another one of those “Cause Célèbre” topics that always crops up in Technology where the mantra becomes that “Unless you are doing the absolutely coolest, most difficult most advanced feature available in a particular tech then you’re just ‘not a real man (or woman) !!'”

That’s crap (IMHO).  I have always looked at any new tech and decided what most “Real People” would get the most value from the tech.  This has never worked to my advantage I’m afraid because the Illuminati of my technologies never seem to understand what I am saying is NOT meant to be a threat to them … despite the fact THAT IT ISN’T !!

I always try to make the tech useful for LOTS of people, not just as a way of generating consulting and/or training fees for myself.  Dumb eh?

Oh well… Let’s do it again…

In business I have found that the vast amount of data needed to track your business (above the level of maybe those who actually supervise or operate the Line or manage the bank balances and float) do not need nor should they look at should NOT be “Real-Time Data”.  The operative need I call “Real-Enough Time Data”:

  1. Production data needs to be collected at the end of a shift or day or week or month so you can compare against similar time-frames in previous periods
  2. Reordering (unless you are on a super-tight JIT scenario) can and should not be done real-time at any time.  Daily, weekly or monthly is much more “manageable” and efficient.
  3. Balance Sheet and Income Statement data should ONLY be looked at ONCE A MONTH IS CLOSED and all the accounts are reconciled, the accruals posted.
  4. Historical data is inert regardless and definitely does not need to be published over and over again.

Ironically I find that collecting this data in Excel allows me the control of timing that I really want … either through the spreadsheet itself or through timed Tasks in Windows or PowerShell. Very manageable yourself.

By using XLPublish‘s technology you can schedule or manually initiate and control your extracts easily, reliably and by yourself while taking advantage of all the “goodness” offered by Microsoft Excel. 

We capture the exact data and time of the last refresh of your data for you and you can show that on your Dashboard.  You can publish any Dataset you collect with XLP to as many App Workspaces you want to have synchronized data in.  And you can capture your data incrementally as easy as typing an ellipsis.

Hope this made ya think.




About Biggus Dickus

Dick is a consultant in London, ON Canada who specializes in Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Office Development.
This entry was posted in Excel, Office Automation, OLAP, Power BI, Power BI Desktop, Power Query, PowerPivot, Process Automation, Self-Service BI, Spreadsheets, the Cloud, Uncategorized, XLPublish, XLPublish.com and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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