data1.io – Forecasting and Data Collection

What is data1.io?

It`s all about data collection! data1.io is a highly innovative SaaS solution to collect, aggregate and share MS Excel® data - not files - within teams inside and outside your company. data1.io makes Excel to an interactive database with 100s or 1000s of users.

Test the data1.io showcases with the free Excel Add-In from the Office Store! As a company you can either buy a plan for a cloud-based solution (in the Microsoft Azure Cloud) or acquire a license for an on-premise installation in your private network in order to automatize your spreadshet-based forecasting and data collection processes. As you prefer!

Which problem is solved with data1.io?

data1.io automatizes those processes, where companies typically

  1. use standardized „Excel forms“
  2. to collect data from at least 2 people inside or outside the organization
  3. aggregate the data for reporting reasons
  4. share the reports with management on all levels and with the collectors themselves
  5. repeat the process on a daily/weekly/monthly/quarterly/annual basis

Additionally those procesess are adressed where

  1. data needs to be versioned and compared as scenarios
  2. large Excel files need to be split for different users

Compared with a traditional file-based process the following pains are solved:

  • manual duplication of an Excel master file for every single receiver, filling them with reference data (e.g. actuals) and possibly reworking the files with last minute changes
  • manual sending every single file via e-mail/intranet/chat to the right receiver(s) and manual recollection of the completed files at the closing date incl. „calling-in“ of delinqent collegues
  • manual aggregation of the (finally valid) figures to reports
  • manual sharing of the final reports with management on all levels
  • manual repeating the process in the next loops (possibly with adaptions)
  • manual comparison with formerly collected data (or versions)

Why using data1.io - what makes it unique?

data1.io reduces massively work and failures in forecasting and data collection processes by connecting existing Excel sheets with a very flexible data model in the cloud. It increases the involvement of more people in forecasting processes due to low marginal costs and it increases the frequency of forecasting processes due to a high automatization level.

1. Native Excel – bring your own files

use real Excel instead of „similar to Excel“, no one-way import, use all the features from excel you love: formulas, conditional formatting, charts, sheet protection and so on, maximum flexibility, everyone knows how to use

2. Interactivity – get a third dimension

the dimension tree brings a „third dimension“ to excel in order to switch your data collection sheets through the organiziational units, enter figures as well as comments with full support for formulas and copy & paste of ranges, use the data1.io template framework to connect your excel sheets dynamically to your datamodel

3. Real-time Reporting – click and get insigths

real-time aggregation by simple double-clicking the dimension tree, no parameter configuration and no nasty waiting for report rendering, as a manager get the aggregated sums for your team/department/profit center/country/division, as a collector get real-time access to all your historically delivered values and compare with the currently delivered data, as a power user control access with row level security

4. Flexible Datamodel – build your own application

create flexible hierarchies for your dimension trees, use the wide-spread star schema with a center fact table and up to 11 dimensions, connect your existing spreadsheets with the data1.io template framework to the datamodel, import your actuals from your source systems / dwh to enrich your collection process, enter figures as well as comments

5. Open Platform – use your data

connect your data to your individual power bi / power pivot dashboarding applications or to any external service supporting ODATA feeds, run data.io as specialized service within your overall planning or group consolidation system, simply download all your data to excel if needed

6. Simplicity – cloud born webservice

highly-focussed SaaS application for data collection, simplicity by design, many users @ low cost, use it as agile cloud service with a pay-as-you-go model and no investment in own infrastructure, use it alternatively as highly secure on-premises deployment,  maximum user scaling, marginal costs per user near 0

What about existing products and solutions, why not using one of them?

data1.io wants to automatize forecasting and data collection processes where existing solutions can not help, because they either have no Excel Interface, are not web-based or are simply too expensive due to a costly per user licensing.

Compared to integrated forecasting modules in CRM-/ERP software … data1.io delivers a very attractive licensing model to connect 100s or 1000s of decentralized forecasters and data collectors, additionally the native excel user interface mostly is easier to use.

Compared to BI planning software … data1.io is a solution specialized on only 1 task: decentralized („bottom up“) forecasting and data collection. It delivers a very attractive licensing model for 100s or 1000s of users. Compared to server based software the deployment as SaaS solution does not require any local infrastructure. data1.io does not replace BI planning solutions but will complement them.

Compared to traditional Excel VBA-Solutions … data.io is a modern web-based solution with no local client installation and therefore no client maintenance. It can be used also with Excel Online in the Cloud or on-premise with Office Online Server / SharePoint.

Compared to Spreadsheets in SharePoint Libraries or Google Drive … data1.io separates the data from the spreadsheet into a BI database, delivers workflow automation, integration of actuals and real-time reports.

Compared to SharePoint Lists and Workflows … data1.io uses native – user friendly – excel instead of web forms, delivers a BI database as backbone with integration of actuals, business intelligence and real-time reports.

Compared to individual forecast solutions … data1.io can be used very flexible for many usecases, uses native excel instead of a grid and is probably cheaper.

Which data collection processes can be typically automatized?

data1.io addresses typically excel-based processes in the following fields of application. Just download one of the showcase templates, run it in Excel 2013/2016 or in Excel Online, get the data1.io Excel Add-In from the Office Store and have fun!

SALES Forecast

Use this showcase to test data1.io for a decentralized sales forecast on a monthly basis per sales representative. It includes actuals imported from the operational systems.

GROUP Controlling

Use this showcase to test data1.io for decentralized collection of financial statements from your group subsidiaries on a monthly basis. Show the actuals from the same period last year und update your data as often as you want during the entry phase.

HR Planning

Use this showcase to test data1.io for decentralized planning of personnel costs on a monthly basis per employee. It includes actuals from the operational HR payroll system.

And many more!

  • Collect weekly KPIs from your team (development/marketing/production/consulting/etc.)
  • Define KPI target values for dashboards and scorecards for all your teams
  • Continuously track costs and progress in project teams
  • Collect daily/weekly/monthly branch reports for non-ERP data
  • Collect daily/Weekly/Monthly collection of timesheet entries of external freelancers
  • Collect operational and quality metrics (CAQ) in production facilities („small data“)
  • Collect data for the annual corporate budget from all teams
  • and many others …

How does it work, which technologies are used?

data1.io uses Templates in Excel or Excel Online as User Interface (Frontend), a modern Taskpane Add-In for the data exchange (Read/Write) and an Azure hosted webservice to store/retrieve the data in/from the cloud (Backend).

Templates = normal Excel files enriched with the data1.io framework in order to enter your data and report the (aggregated) collected data … different use cases are realized with different templates. The system is completely open for any templates that contain the technical data1.io framework definitions.

Excel Add-In = the bi-directional connection between the Excel interface (templates) and the data1.io webservice … transforms Excel to a Business Intelligence Application. Programmed in Javascript it runs in „normal“ Excel (beginning Excel 2013 SP1) as well as in Excel Online. The Excel Add-In is available in the Microsoft Office Store.

Webservice = the heart and brain of the data1.io application. It transforms the collected data to records and writes it to your application specific data1.io database. In reading mode, the webservice extracts and optionally aggregates the records for delivery to the Excel Add-In. The webservice contains also the API which provides all your data as a secure ODATA feed to all your receiving applications like Excel, Power BI, Tableau, Qlik, your enterprise budgeting and consolidation solution and every system that can connect to ODATA feeds.

Who uses data1.io and how can I use it?

data1.io is used by companies or public institutions

  1. who are typically innovative pioneers within their line of industry
    with a data-driven management culture
    with a strong digital transformation strategy 
    investing in projects to automatize business processes
  2. who have a need for forecasting and/or smart data collection
    with a number of users > 100 (but at least > 5),
    with the need for the flexibility of an excel interface
    with a preference for a cloud solution (although data1.io offers also an on-premise option)
  3. who are are searching for a technology partner to automatize those processes

data1.io is not the right solution for companies who

  • are happy with their existing forecasting and/or smart data collection processes (using spreadsheets, E-mail, Intranet, etc.)
  • are not happy but did not evaluate the alternatives (e.g. Sales Forecasting in CRM-System, Budget Planning in HR-System, etc.)

data1.io is now in the beta phase. As a company you can either buy a plan for a cloud-based solution (in the Microsoft Azure Cloud) or acquire a license for an on-premise installation in your private network. As you prefer!

Contact us if you are planning a project in the area of forecasting and data collection.