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The best writeback solution for Power BI


Writeback data

Save your Power BI report data to an on-premise or cloud database, shared folders or custom URLs

Create flexible writeback templates

Insert numeric, text, dropdown, date, status and user fields to your matrix reports for writeback​

Writeback comments

Write back data along with row / cell-level comments and threaded conversations

Writeback select measures

Choose which measures need to be written back dynamically at runtime

Writeback filtered records

Write back a filtered subset of data dynamically at runtime

Write back from reading view

Manually key in data and save them to destination(s) in the reading view

Update other visuals live

Update other visuals automatically on performing writeback using the automatic writeback feature

Manage destinations & permissions

Allow specific users in your organization to write back; admins can create and control writeback destinations

Writeback activity log

Catalog all writeback activities for monitoring and troubleshooting

The need for data writeback 

Many organizations need robust data writeback functionality from reporting tools such as Power BI, Tableau, Spotfire, and Qlik for several reasons. The use cases include some of the following where changes made to a report need to be written back to a database, data warehouse, cloud platform, or shared drive:

  • Data validation & cleansing: You have erroneous data in the report and want to update it.
  • Derivative calculations: You want to create derivative calculations in your report, which is impossible in the query or database layer. E.g., You have sales and budget data coming from two sources, and now, within the report, you are adding a new column, creating variances.
  • Planning and forecasting: They want to create future business projections based on the latest report with actual data for past periods. This may also include creating best-case and worst-case scenarios, often done in Excel today.
  • What-if simulations: Create simple what-if simulations, such as what would our early profits be if discretionary expenses were cut down by 30%
  • Master data management: You want to maintain and update your master data regularly, which can be used by other reports.
  • Distributed data entry: You would like multiple users to regularly enter data related to their teams, geographies, or territories. You would finally consolidate and publish them.
  • Missing data: Your report is missing a few records, say for international geography or a newly launched product that you want to append to your report.
  • Status or comment fields: You want to add additional fields to your report that capture status (pending/reviewed/approved) or freestyle commentary.
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Upcoming Webinar

Seamless, Easy Power BI Writeback with Inforiver Enterprise and Microsoft Fabric

Date & Time : 07 Feb 2024 , 10 AM GMT  I  Speaker : Miguel Felix, Data Consultant

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Featured video

An end-to-end data writeback workflow in Power BI

Learn how you can configure several writeback destinations, create flexible writeback templates using a variety of numeric/text/dropdown/date/user fields, and persist data in various formats without writing any code.
Writeback data & comments from Power BI | Inforiver

Writeback options in Power BI  

A standard option to write back data from a Power BI report to a database is by integrating Power Apps and Power BI (using the PowerApps visual). We explored this option and concluded that integrating PowerApps + Power BI is more complex than it should be for business users and more restrictive for advanced use cases  

A second option is to use a third-party visual for Power BI that provides write-back capabilities. However, these are IT-centric implementations that come with limitations such as the following:

  1. Slower Go-To-Market: You need to create database schema definitions and backend models for every writeback requirement upfront, pretty much like a traditional IT solution.  
  2. Rigid solution with effort-intensive change management: If you want to add an additional column to your writeback template in an already published report, it will require changes and re-publishing at all levels - backend tables/models and the Power BI report.  
  3. Third-party visuals typically lack features such as threaded conversations, tagging other users in comments, support for cell-level commentary, dynamically (during runtime) writing select rows or columns, performing delta writeback (only writing records that have changed), and more.  

A third option is to use Inforiver visual for Power BI, which addresses all the shortcomings listed above. Inforiver offers the most comprehensive, no-code writeback solution in the market today.

  1. It does not require you to create database schema definitions in advance. Inforiver auto-generates table creation script for you.
  2. Change management is easier with Inforiver. You can add new columns for data input (text, numeric, dropdown, date, user, etc.) or calculated columns (using formulae) to existing templates just you can do in Excel. Inforiver automatically adds these new columns to the backend upon writeback.
  3. Inforiver makes it very easy for business users to input data faster than excel with scaled numbers, with various distribution and allocation methods 
  4. Inforiver shines with matrix styled and measure-on-rows styled input templates which both PowerApps and third party visuals struggle.
  5. Inforiver provides a strong in-built auditing capability (who changed what & when) to ensure data integrity and compliance
  6. Inforiver can write back data to multiple destinations simultaneously, including: Fabric Lakehouse, Fabric Warehouse, Dataverse, Azure SQL, SQL Server, Dedicated SQL Pool, Azure SQL, Azure Data Lake storage, Databricks, Snowflake, BigQuery, Amazon RedShift, SAP HANA, Oracle, SingleStore, PostgreSQL, MySQL, OneDrive, SharePoint, and URL destinations. 

Let us explore how Inforiver's writeback capability unlocks new use cases for you in Power BI. 

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Featured Webinars


Unlock new use cases with Power BI Writeback

1. Add additional columns to enrich your report 

With Inforiver, report designers and consumers (in reading view) can insert, edit, and update values simultaneously in Power BI reports. Inforiver provides seven (7) different options to enter data manually - numeric values, text, single-select, multi-select, check box, date, and person.  

There are two other columns – last updated at and last updated by - which keep track of the time and user who made the last change at the row level. 

Add additional columns to enrich your report 

2. Edit/validate/update data in existing reports 

Inforiver provides an Excel-like cell editing experience – you can double-click a cell and enter values or formulas. All changes are automatically tracked in an audit log.

Edit validate update data in existing reports

3. Insert formula & derivative calculations 

Inforiver provides a no-code visual formula engine that supports 70+ functions (logical, math, text, date, boolean, etc.) and identifiers. You can use a spreadsheet-like formula bar to edit cell values or formulas referencing other cells. You can also insert static rows and columns to manually type in values (supports scaled entries) or define calculations using the formula editor. 

Insert formula & derivative calculations

4. Perform what-if simulations

You can perform what-if analysis on the fly using a graphical slider and make finer adjustments. Simulation done at the org level gets proportionally allocated to its constituent products and geographies (top-down simulations), whereas simulations at granular levels are rolled up to the top (bottom-up simulations).  

Perform what-if simulations

5. Create input templates for planning, forecasting, and budgeting 

With Inforiver, you can quickly create sales forecasts, business plans, or financial budgets. You can create a budget from scratch or based on current performance and perform top-down/bottom-up planning. Inforiver supports time series forecasting for up to 5 years, including no-code rolling forecasts. 

Create input templates for planning, forecasting, and budgeting

6. Enable row, cell, and column-level commentary and threaded conversations 

Inforiver provides several options to add context to your reports, such as cell, row, column level notes, and notes column. You can also add data-level comments (with user details and time stamps) and facilitate conversations with your peers directly from within your Power BI report. 

Enable row, cell, and column-level commentary and threaded conversations

7. Model multiple business scenarios

You can create and compare multiple scenarios and write them back. Each scenario consists of a set of simulations. Scenarios can be created in both the edit and read modes and shared publicly or only with specific users in the organization. You can write back all or specific scenarios

Model multiple business scenarios

8. Create snapshots in time

The current state of the report can be saved as a snapshot at month-end accounting/financial closes for future comparisons that are not impacted by source data changes and dataset refreshes. Data cannot be edited in a snapshot view.  

Create snapshots in time

Looking for more?​

Write back data from Power BI to Microsoft Fabric OneLake/Lakehouse, Fabric Data Warehouse, and Microsoft Dataverse using Inforiver.

Book a demo

Featured blogs

5 Reasons why Writeback is required in a Modern BI Stack
Power BI Writeback is as easy as 1-2-3: A Step-By-Step Tutorial
10 Key Considerations for Choosing a Writeback Solution in Power BI

Why Inforiver is the Best Writeback Solution

Let us look at the features that make Inforiver for Power BI the most comprehensive writeback solution available today.  

1. Audit logs (who-what-when) for security & compliance 

Each writeback instance can be analyzed using a comprehensive writeback log, which shows the writeback status, total duration for processing, time taken for each milestone, etc.  


2. Support for various writeback table formats 

Inforiver supports three types of writeback – tidy (fewer columns and more rows – a long table format), measure on columns, and write back only the changes (delta writeback). The table formats are shown in the image below 


3. Writeback specific measures 

You can choose to write back only specific measures from your table. You determine this at runtime. 

Write back specific measures

4. Writeback specific rows 

Inforiver provides several filter options to filter the records to be written back. You can limit write-back to calculated rows, rows with comments, or records that meet custom filter criteria.  

Writeback specific rows

5. Additional column mapping for composite models 

You can add columns to the writeback table to store the dimension/date keys. This column can then be used to create relationships between other tables in a composite model. 


6. Auto writeback (in other words, save and write back each change automatically) 

This works similarly to auto-save in Microsoft Excel and Word. Whenever Inforiver detects a change in the matrix, it writes back the data automatically. Note that only data input and simulated columns can be automatically written back, not source or calculated columns. Scenarios can also be configured to be automatically written back.  


7. Powerful administration capabilities 

Admins can centrally configure writeback connections for use by other users. They can restrict or allow report authors from setting up writeback connections. Users/admins can manage connection details using ‘Edit Connection, which updates all instances from the admin console. 


8. Perform structured & unstructured writeback 

One of the main benefits Inforiver offers is the ability to write back data without defining tables in advance. The SQL query for creating table definitions is generated by Inforiver and is executed in the destination. Note that Inforiver also supports structured writeback, where users want to write to specific tables in specific schemas that they have pre-created. This gives enterprises the flexibility to choose either option. 

Perform structured & unstructured writeback

9. Deliver enhanced security 

Inforiver offers multi-layered security features in addition to existing security settings at the Power BI workspace (edit/view rights) and dataset levels (RLS/OLS). 

Enhanced security

10. Use webhooks to automate approvals and notifications 

Use Inforiver webhooks to create smart flows for writeback to manage and control notifications, approval, and post-writeback data processing. It is a seamless no-code solution for Power BI Premium users. Watch this webinar to learn about Inforiver’s integrations with the entire Power Platform and Microsoft 365 ecosystem. 


How do I choose the best writeback solution?

If you are evaluating multiple writeback solutions (including Inforiver, PowerApps and other third-party solutions), here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

  1. How quickly can each new writeback requirement be deployed in my organization?
  2. Does the solution support unstructured writeback, where I do not need to have a table or schema pre-designed in my database?
  3. What writeback destinations are supported? Can the solution writeback to Microsoft Fabric? Can it write back data to on-premise and cloud destinations?
  4. Does it support writing to shared drives such as OneDrive and SharePoint?
  1. Can the solution perform a delta writeback (only writeback rows that have changed, instead of writing the full table each time)?
  2. Can I write back only core data records and ignore totals and subtotal records in the table?
  3. Can the solution write back data with comments? Can it write back comments at the row, cell, and column-level?
  4. Can I write back specific measures or columns in my table (e.g., Forecast), and ignore the other measures?
  5. Can I writeback only specific rows (e.g., records pertaining to US region)?
  6. Can I authorize only specific users in my organization to perform the writeback?
  7. Does the solution support row-level security defined at the data model level?
  8. Can I allow/disallow write back in reading view?
  9. Can I write back my dimensions along with their key/ID values that are not shown in the table?
  10. Does the solution audit writeback actions, capturing the user, time and the writeback processing times?
  11. How easy is change management going to be once I have deployed a writeback solution? (E.g., adding a new column to the writeback template)
If you need assistance with the above evaluation, do not hesitate to reach out to us.
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About Inforiver!
Inforiver is the fastest way to do everything in Power BI. It enables citizen developer productivity and unleashes true self-service with our intuitive and interactive no-code data app suite for Microsoft Power BI. The product is developed by Lumel Technologies Inc, who are #1 Power BI Visuals AppSource Partner serving over 3,000+ customers worldwide with their xViz, Inforiver, and ValQ offerings.
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