Updating SQL Tables from Excel: A New Approach (Part 1)

In a previous blog article, Ambika presented a neat method to update an SQL table from Excel.  This proved to be useful for many of our customers but could somewhat be painful for those wishing to update many rows. Today, an increasing number of XLCubed customers use Excel as a planning sandbox and often want to writeback a whole set of records back to the source SQL database at once.

In this article we will describe how you can writeback data to SQL and write only the changed values to the source table in one single pass by executing a stored procedure.

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Scenario comparisons with variance charts

Scenario Comparisons With Variance Charts

Business data is often better understood when viewed in the context of another scenario. We need to know if we are doing better than this time last year, or how close we are to meeting our budget. Variance charts are effective at displaying these differences between actual and comparative values. They can show absolute or relative variances and be coloured to indicate either a good or bad impact on the business.

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Waterfall Charts for Profit and Loss Statements

Income statements, or Profit and Loss statements, are an essential part of any business. However, when displayed as a large table of numbers, it can be difficult to draw out the information needed to answer simple questions such as “how has my revenue changed compared to last year?” or “which region has the largest contribution to labour expenses?”.

Waterfall charts are a great solution for this. In our last blog, we discussed how to use waterfalls for time analysis. Today, we will demonstrate how to use waterfalls for profit and loss statements, with intuitive scenario and account formatting.

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How to Create Waterfall Charts in Excel with XLCubed blog

Waterfall Charts in Excel – Time Analysis

Waterfall charts are a great way of visualising contributions to a total or a total variance. They allow you to analyse how a value is influenced by the cumulative effect of underlying positive or negative inputs. This can lead to quicker and more effective business insights.

Waterfalls are available as a chart type with XLCubed, in either a column or bar orientation. They connect directly to your data source, are fully interactive, and are easily inserted into an Excel sheet.

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Lessons from IBCS – Scenario Handling

In the previous blog, we looked at how consistency is important throughout a set of reports and dashboards. It helps users to understand the reports quickly and easily. Another important aspect to maintain is scenario handling; this forms the UNIFY part of IBCS’ SUCCESS formula.

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Lessons from IBCS – Maintaining Visual Integrity

When reading reports and dashboards, we often find ourselves spending more time than we’d expect analysing the charts and tables tying to comprehend the data. In many cases that’s due to inconsistencies in the presentation, or poor design. Ideally a report should convey the message clearly and quickly.

One of the underlying rules of IBCS is maintaining visual integrity; this forms the ‘Check’ component of IBCS’s ‘SUCCESS’ formula. It requires reports and dashboards to present information in the most truthful and easily understood way. This involves avoiding misleading visuals including improper scaling and manipulated representations. When interpreting data, information that looks the same should also mean the same. Consistency is important and helps users to understand the report quickly and easily.

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