image: fineartamerica.com

Been working everyday for 10 days straight now. And no idea how soon I will get the rest I greatly need.

So today, like Jack, I am dull and you will have to pardon me as today's post is dull.

On the unflip side, I will be taking my girlfriend, her sister and her brother out. Hoping that will help spice up my long boring days. Or I might infect then with boredom. 

This month has been a very tough one. Reminds me of when I just started, all work and little to show for it. It is that bad. I am hoping next month will be a much much better one.

To all my Muslim friends, Eid Mubarak! Happy Ramadan!

It's called TIA meetup and you can register for the event at http://tiameetup.com/

Below are the details copied directly from their official page.

TIA Meet-Up provides a global platform that brings together investors and market players to learn, share, engage and network with the goals of acquiring the required markets knowledge, unravel investment opportunities, insight into profit generating strategies, understanding platforms and tools needed in achieving desired investment goals.

At TIA Meet-Up you would gain insights into the sophisticated strategies necessary in today’s markets to achieve your investment goal.

The TIA Meet-Up workshop on Friday 30th June, 2017 provides a chance to take a productive step back and look at the overall markets from a broader perspective. There is no better time or place to see what the best traders are doing, assess your methods, regain your focus and project for the next half year.

Strictly By Invitation. Limited Seats Available

WHY YOU SHOULD ATTEND

LEARN
Learn what the pros are doing in the financial markets and how they are making the consistent and secured returns you so desire.

ENGAGE
Engage pros and investors in interactive driven sessions on sophisticated strategies, tools and platforms necessary in today’s markets

ASK
Ask experts questions and exchange ideas with like-minded investors, analysts and traders.

DISCOVER
Discover where the next investment opportunities are and how you can position yourself for maximum returns.

NETWORK
Network with top players in the industry and talk-shop your next big investor and clients

FEATURED SPEAKERS

SULAIMAN ADEDOKUN, CFA
Managing Director, Meristem Wealth Management Limited

ADE BURAIMO
Managing Director, Alpha Morgan Capital Managers Limited

OLUMIDE SOYELE, FCA
Group CFO of Secure Electronic Technology Plc/President, TASN

ABDULRASHEED MOMOH
Chief Trader/Technical Strategist at TRW Stockbrokers Ltd.

ROBERT OMOTUNDE
Head, Investment Research at Afrinvest (West) Africa Limited

TOPE OJO
Founder/CEO of Iwet International

ADESHINA ADETUNJI, CFTE
Managing Partner, Trendonomics Resources


Don't forget to register for the event at http://tiameetup.com/
image: venturesafrica.com

Etisalat Nigeria is in a very messy situation. They took a loan of $1.2 billion four years ago to refinance a $650 million loan and expand/upgrade their network, when the Naira to dollar rate was in the N100 and something range to one dollar. They have to repay the loan, both interest and principal, in the original loan currency, dollars. 

It must have made sense when they took it. They enjoy a much lower interest rate than if it was a naira denominated loan. And the naira to dollar exchange rate had been fairly stable for up to a decade, making the maths behind the idea a very case-worthy one. Maybe they even ran through a few stress tests, scenarios, simulating historical-like changes in the FX rate and all still looked well. No one who is not God or extremely pessimistic would have guessed something of the magnitude of what is happening now four years ago.

Then they missed the latest repayment due in February 2017. They have paid back over half of the loan and had just about $500 million left to repay over the next three to four years as the loan was a seven year one. They felt they could ease the burden of the loan and make the banks restructure the loan to more favourable terms, like allow them to complete the remaining payment in Naira or allow a more flexible repayment structure. Unfortunately, the restructuring negotiation with the banks did not go well.

Then they tried to get the parent company in UAE to step in and maybe inject new funds into the Nigerian subsidiary to help fix its immediate cash problems. But the parent company is not interested in helping out, in fact, they no longer see the Nigerian subsidiary as a worthy investment and are willing to give up their stake in the company. Which is what they did this week. They gave up their ownership stake/equity in the company to the banks. 

Unfortunately, the banks are not investment banks nor interested in running a telecoms business. So they are going to want to get their owed cash as soon as possible. Either they get paid the cash (which seems not to be happening) or they sell something (which is where the whole situation seems to be heading). The trouble is that Etisalat UAE told their own shareholders that the ownership stake they are giving up is actually worthless, making it seem like the banks got something that will be very difficult to sell. Now they are dragging Etisalat Nigeria to EFCC, according to Sahara Reporters, that the company most likely didn't use the loan for network expansion/upgrade. That they can't see any significant assets acquired with the loan and that the company management must have embezzled the loan money. 

What do I know for sure?

For one, Etisalat has deep money problems. It is not just the loan repayment they defaulted on, they are owing some of their key vendors. They owe IHS, their tower and base stations facility provider, millions of dollars (I hear) which is almost ruining IHS' financial situation. So it is obvious that they do not have the money to service the loan for now.

Secondly, there is no strong hope of things improving. In 2015, I heard from an insider that Etisalat Nigeria is not turning profit. And I doubt if that situation has changed now. I even believe it must have become worse now. That is probably what is making the banks less open to any long range/term options. So the banks are going to want to squeeze out that cash from Etisalat anyway possible without much care about whether it dies or lives.

Thirdly, NCC and CBN cannot do anything. Are they going to pay the banks the money owed? As long as they won't do that, the only people giving them serious attention are the newspapers so they can spin new sides to the story. 

Fourth, will MTN or Glo or Airtel buy Etisalat? Airtel won't, they are even considering selling off the Africa operations. There are rumors that Glo is considering it, at least some people are trying to make Glo consider it. MTN too might be considering it. Honestly, I don't know. And I think no one knows for now until it probably happens.

Fifth, will Etisalat Nigeria no longer be Etisalat? It's possible. But the parent company says it is open to allowing them pay for continuing to use the Etisalat brand.

Sixth, will Etisalat die? I hope not! But when it comes to money matters, emotions have no place with the banks. And if getting their money out means killing the company, they will.



I work primarily with Excel and do projects for different companies across different industries and different countries/continents. To make my work and life easier I often use some add-ins in Excel.

Some of those add-ins are enhancers, enabling me achieve faster what I could still have done without the add-ins. And some are indispensable, without them I couldn't have gotten the work done.

During this month's webinar I will be taking you through those add-ins. From the one that lets you match inconsistently spelled names/items (Fuzzy Lookup) to the one that helps you manage named range (Name Manager +) to the one that enable you calculate the best way to achieve a business goal (solver) and to the one that supercharges your reporting/analysis skills (PowerPivot).

The webinar will be on Wednesday, 28 June 2017. 

Time: 3:00pm to 4:00pm Nigerian time (GMT +1).
Venue: YouTube live (joining link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbKf76RqIp4 )

Don't miss it! Better to set up a calendar event for it to help with timely reminders.

image: ichemepresident.files.wordpress.com

It is marketing.

image: playpromedia.com


You must constantly be in the face of potential customers. Prospects. 
You must constantly sell yourself (first, as a dependable expert) and then your solutions. So just as much as your practical technical skills are important are also important your selling skills.

I got fortunate because of the internet. Somehow, without noticing or intending, I have put myself out their as an expert and made myself accessible to prospects worldwide who type into google search.

The jobs/projects we get are because of marketing and the ones we were not awarded were because someone out-marketed us (either using personal connections or some other soft skill but never via hard/technical skills).

Before now I used to think some of us are not capable of marketing or naturally terrible at marketing. But since looking at my own marketing success (which is much understated by my capacity issue), I am now sure that everyone is equally talented for marketing just differently styled. Some people are talkers and will talk their way into getting sales. Another set of some are like me, technical sales inclined, who will use superior product knowledge and implementation expertise to dwarf and gain the confidence of the prospect leading to sales. And I believe that there are still other sets not represented by these two. So if you feel you suck at marketing just know that you are just yet to find your style.

In conclusion, if you want to be a successful consultant in Nigeria you have to find and horn your marketing style.

Culled from: http://leapafrica.org/home/call-for-application-2017/

Apply at: https://docs.google.com/a/leapafrica.org/forms/d/1QR8gtBv9X-JA_zG2P1AwLxRGHqGXakLUvU_48BD-wjo/viewform?c=0&w=1&edit_requested=true

LEAP Africa and Union Bank has partnered to develop the SIP 2017 to strengthen and advance youth-led change initiatives and entrepreneurship in Nigeria through training and collaborative partnerships that enhance the sustainability and overall impact of these change initiatives.

LEAP’s Social Innovators Programme (SIP) supports creative young Nigerians (Ages 18 – 35) with ideas and initiatives that proffer effective solutions to identified challenges in local communities across the country. These social innovators are highly innovative young Nigerians who are championing social enterprises and improving the lives of community members across Nigeria. Their initiatives range from inventing of safe water recycling machines, Use of ICT to curb maternal mortality, Innovative use of technology to improve food storage for rural farmers and rural economic empowerment through waste recycling among others.

The Social Innovators Programme (SIP) is a one-year fellowship which supports talented young social innovators – youth change-makers – whose ideas and initiatives offer effective and creative solutions to the challenges in local communities across Nigeria. Their initiatives cover many aspects of society, such as Agriculture, Business and Economic Development, Education, Science and Technology, Health, Law and Human Rights, among others.

During the fellowship period, selected young leaders are equipped with the personal and organizational leadership skills, networking support, and advocacy needed to strengthen and expand the reach and depth of their projects within their target communities. These fellows also join IYF’s global YouthActionNet® community of over 1,100 young social innovators being supported by 21 national and regional institutes like the Social Innovators Programme (SIP).

Why You Should Apply

  1. Access to professional level advisory from A-list consultants, investors and professionals that will help you create a profitable and sustainable structure for your business.
  2. Transform your business into an impact driven solution following a one-year Fellowship.
  3. Access to LEAP partners, funders and life long support for growth and sustainability. 
  4. Get a chance to win #1,000,000 for your enterprise at the Social Innovators Programme and Awards in 2018.
What do you think?

image: tvcnews.tv

Anyway, I've made up my mind. I don't want to be like those sending broadcast messages of President of France is 39, President of Belgium is 41 and President of Canada is 44. I don't want be in the camp of the wailers. Even if we don't take action, the old generation politicians trying to cling to power forever will die. Do we want a gap that will let in worse people -- NURTW leaders? 

The leaders we all are talking about have to be in the competition. Nobody will send you an appointment letter in your corner. The youths we are all talking about are us and we have to put ourselves out there. We have to be in a political party and be ready to take opportunities that come our way. We have to be in the race if we don't want the old same same grabbing it all.

Someone advised I join one of the leading parties as there is a better chance of getting real opportunities there. I am looking to join APC.

What do you think/suggest? And if you are an active political party member, kindly guide your brother.

Thanks!



In the world of management, corporate management strategies, there is Peter Drucker and the rest. He was a one man battalion. His works in that field were amazing and highly revered. In 2005 he died but his legacy lives on. A foundation/society was set up in his honour and they are yearly trying to advance the management field like would have done if alive.

Each year, and for the last seven years, they organize a challenge -- the Peter Drucker Challenge. It is a very easy and straightforward challenge. If you are between the ages of 18 and 35, you just need to write a very thought provoking essay between 1,500 and 3,000 words on a theme they provide.

The detail for this year's competition is at https://www.druckerchallenge.org/2017/home/ 



The theme is:
Prosperity is not just a financial notion — inclusive prosperity encompasses the opportunity for lives in dignity, with purpose and roles to contribute to common endeavors in the communities one is part of. It is definitely more than material well-being. A holistic view of prosperity includes all — the material and economic aspects as well the social, emotional, intellectual and spiritual side.


The biggest natural resource on the planet is human potential — human energy, engagement and creativity. Only a fraction of this potential is brought to bear today. However, if better leveraged, this latent potential would be the key driver for economic and human growth.

The question is:
What holds people back in today's organizations and institutions to realize their potential? What are the obstacles that you see in your environment?

What is the role of management to free up human potential? Give examples of management actions that have made a difference in your life.

Can digital technology (in particular automation and Al) spawn prosperity as opposed to eliminate jobs? Give concrete examples

What is your perspective on how technology can enable people to co-create solutions that are good for their communities, the economy and the world?


All the best!
VLOOKUP won't help you if you need to match two list of names where the first name -- last name positions are often swapped and middle name initial is present in one but absent in the other.

What then can you do?

Use Microsoft's Fuzzy Lookup add-in. You can download it here: Microsoft Research's Fuzzy Lookup

When you are done installing it, you will see it show as a new menu tab in your Excel.


If it's not showing up in yours, you might need to toggle it off and on in the COM Add-in section of Excel Options.





So how do you use it?

Copy the two records side by side in one sheet in Excel.



 Then format each record set as a Table. And you 60% done. 




Just launch the Fuzzy Lookup tool and set the fields you want to match. Set the Similarity Threshold. 


Select the cell to put the output results and click on Go.



And that's all! You'll see it work its magic, saving hours you would have spent doing manual matching.


image: mytrendingstories.com
Men are in sizes and life is in phases but too many of us fail to realize this. 

There will always be someone doing better than you with much less effort. There will always be someone experiencing what you would like to experience. Unfortunately, that is all we focus on and we don't realize that there are equally people who are looking up to us, who view being like us as the next phase in their success journey. We could be sharing more information with them and showing them how we got to where we are and we would have done the world, present and future, a great favour.

I have a dream and I am working on it. When you read history books, often you don't find the extremely rich businessman nor the musician of the day nor the son of the richest. The people whose names and memories survive for hundreds of years are people who shared their lives through their creative work or helped moved the world forward in very significant ways. Some were rich and many were ordinary men. But almost all were writers and artists. They wrote about philosophy, they wrote about life itself, they wrote about experiments they carried out, they wrote about new theories, they wrote amazing songs, they wrote great novels, they painted iconic images and they were constantly sharing.

My dream is to be that impactful. 

I prefer the beauty that come from living a simple and inspiring life. Doing small things in great ways and telling stories that touch. And everyday, I work on this dream. In fact, this post you are reading is part of that work.

What is your own dream and are you working on it?



I invest in stocks because I thoroughly understand them. I do my own stock analysis (I even built this tool and this one too to help others with their own stock analysis); I teach financial modelling; I do projects for investment houses (currently working on a VaR, value at risk, model for a foreign investment corporate client); I have made enough mistakes over the last ten years that I now recognize the common pitfalls and what works. Most importantly, investing in stocks is a vital component of any very sound personal financial investment plan.

Many of us work hard daily. Even after spending the first two decades of our lives in school and are now working full-time, many of us still do Masters, Ph.D and professional courses. We are constantly developing ourselves in order to increase our earning power. And some of us succeed very well. You now earn enough to cater for all your needs and those of your dependants with still some money left. And this is where many of us fail to do things right.

When you don't have a sound financial investment plan, other people's plans look good to you. You will easily fall for the real estate salesman's talk about buying properties. You will feel left out when your friends are doubling their money in the latest investment scheme. Even the FGN savings bond will look heaven-sent to you. No matter how strong-willed you are, you will always be facing immense pressure as no financial investment plan is like a vacuum and difficult to keep that way. One day, you will break and go for one of the investment schemes you see your friends doing. And more often than not, you will get burnt and swear off any form of investment. Then the vacuum-struggle cycle restarts. 

I would advice that you rather fix the issue properly and permanently. Learn about proper financial investment. Take baby steps to practice doing the right thing. You will make mistakes but when you start the right way your mistakes won't be of the sorts that bring you down.

I started with mutual funds, having professional investment managers do the bulk of my financial investment for me. Then I slowly started investing directly in stocks myself, the proper way. Before then, I got burned in the 2008 crash when there were radio jingles, billboards and TV adverts on buying stocks and every listed company was doing a public offer. I still remember the First Bank advert of their public offer at N31/share. My dad got charcoals from it, everything he put in completely burnt. I lost all I put in Mutual Benefits Assurance (minus the dividends they gave me in 2008) and Finbank. So I was much more careful to do things right and learn the proper way of investing. From 2011 to now, I have gained a lot of practical experience in managing my own financial investments. I have seen my money go up and down over the years. At first, I used to feel sick when I see it go down (especially just after I put in my money) but now I am very much used to it and see buying opportunities during market downs. 

I am following the get rich slowly mantra. I have my own investment plan and it excludes any get rich quickly scheme. All the double your money in two months or in one year schemes have no appeal to me. No amount of real world evidence of how well your real estate or bitcoin or XYZ scheme is doing can entice me. Not that I don't believe they work but because I have my own solid plans that I am executing religiously. If they work for you, great. Mine also works for me, though less impressively but I am contented. 

I simply work hard at my profession (data analysis) and invest the excess funds I have in the stock and bonds market. I also keep enough to cover my four months living expense in a high yield cash account (savings account) for emergency needs. I do both Nigerian stocks and US stocks. Same with bonds. I totally understand them. I don't panic. I have more peace of mind seeing my money work for me in those investments than having them lay temptingly in my bank account.


Culled from: https://vc4a.com/facebook-for-developers/techcrunch-battlefield-africa-2017/
Apply at: https://battlefieldafrica.techcrunch.com/

ABOUT
TechCrunch is hosting its first startup competition in Sub-Saharan Africa. We’ve wanted to bring TechCrunch to Africa for a long time, and now thanks to our sponsor Facebook, we will bring the Startup Battlefield competition, to Nairobi on October 11 this year.
We’re looking for Sub-Saharan Africa’s best innovators, makers and technical entrepreneurs to participate in TechCrunch Battlefield Africa 2017. Startups can apply to three categories: social good, productivity and utility, gaming and entertainment. TechCrunch will host the event in Nairobi in front of a live audience and top judges, and we will live stream the show on TechCrunch and Facebook so the rest of the world can tune in.
AWARDS
The judges will choose a winner from each of the three categories: social good, productivity and utility, gaming the entertainment.
One overall winner will be selected as “Sub-Saharan Africa’s Most Promising Startup.” The founders of the overall winner in each category will win $25,000 USD in no-equity cash, plus an all-expense paid trip for two to San Francisco to compete in the Battlefield at TechCrunch’s flagship event, Disrupt SF 2018.
DEADLINE
July 14, 2017 at 5pm PST
RULES
Startups must fit into one of three categories (social good, productivity and utility, gaming and entertainment) to participate. Five startups in each category will be selected to join us on stage for the Battlefield Africa in Nairobi.
Apart from clear relevance to one of the three themes, qualifying startups should:
  • Be early-stage companies in “launch” stage
  • Be a resident from our eligible countries
  • Have a fully working product/beta, reasonably close to or in production
  • Have received limited press or publicity to date
  • Have no known intellectual property conflicts
Judging Criteria
Productivity & Utility — The judges will pick startup with the product or service most likely to go into full commercial production and have the biggest impact on human potential and/or the largest exit.
Social Good — The judges will look for the startup with the product most likely to catalyze social and economic development through technology.
Gaming & Entertainment — The judges will pick startup with the product or service most likely to see wide consumer adoption and have either the biggest exit and/or impact on gaming and entertainment.
Think about this: You have a list of products, the list grows with time, and you want your Excel chart of the products versus sales to automatically capture any additional products you add. Or maybe it is a daily sales report, and you want the chart to automatically expand to show the newly added dates.

Well, what you need to create is a dynamic list (proper term is range, but let's go one with the easy fathom "list"). 

It turns this



To this (without you re-making the chart or even touching the chart at all)



And can add life sweetening spice to your Data Validation lists.





Just think of all the magic that would do in some of your reports.

So how do you create these dynamic lists?

Easy. There are two popular ways to create dynamic lists in Excel. One is to use INDEX and COUNTA. The other is to use OFFSET and COUNTA.

Technically, you should choose the INDEX + COUNTA one over OFFSET + COUNTA one as it has better performance. Again, remember the keyword -- technically. Practically, the one you find easier to master is better.

INDEX + COUNTA

For the chart one, I used the INDEX + COUNTA one. 



For the list field I created a named range:
=Sheet1!$A$2:INDEX(Sheet1!$A:$A,COUNTA(Sheet1!$A:$A))

At the core, it is
=A2:INDEX(A:A,COUNTA(A:A))

What the index part does is to return the cell reference of the last row cell in column A that is populated. 

INDEX(A:A represents a list/array of all the cells in column A while COUNTA(A:A) part instructs Excel to locate the cell in the row position equal to the count of all filled cells in column A.








Now you get how it works.


OFFSET + COUNTA

For the Data Validation List, I used OFFSET + COUNTA


The named range is
=OFFSET(Sheet2!$A$2,0,0,COUNTA(Sheet2!$A:$A)-1,1)

Again, at its core the formula is
=OFFSET(A2,0,0,COUNTA(A:A)-1,1) 

Easy to understand.


We take A2 as the start or reference point, go zero rows down and zero columns right, then expand the rows (height) downwards by the count of non-empty rows in column A minus one to avoid counting cell A1 (which is used for the field header), then take one column wide (sticking to column A).

The result is




Finally

For the chart, I simply replaced the Legend Entries and Axis Label with the dynamic named range.








And that does the magic!
For the Data Validation List, I simply put =months as the source. (months is the named range I created with the OFFSET + COUNTA formula)





And that's all!

Now you should be a dynamic list guru :) 

image: peris-scope.com
I like the way Ecc 12:12, New Life Version, puts it: But more than this, my son, be careful. There is no end to the writing of many books and reading many of them makes the body tired.

If you are one of those who delight in listing the number and varieties of books you read monthly, I have some unpleasant news for you. Except, you are retired like Bill Gates or already achieved a lot like Richard Branson, and just need to connect more with people as a thought-leader, you are not being strategic in your reading.

I  used to read a lot of books and have proudly written many blog posts on how many books a year or a month I read/buy. Sadly, after a while that is all the benefits you get from reading a lot of books -- just the cool bragging right. You don't learn anything deep enough to do anything meaningful with than be a better conversationist.

Every serious skill in life requires deep learning, a mix of theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience. If you are always reading, and diverse books, you will hardly go beyond the theoretical knowledge phase. You won't have energy, motivation and time to do the hands-on without having to cut down on the reading.

The only readings that have been financially profitable to me are the ones I backed up with hands-on experience. The Excel books I mixed with on the job practice, the financial analysis + investment books I mixed with real world use, the French books I acted out and the programming books I used to become a better programmer. The many other books I read were of benefits too, just that when I needed to gain real world expertise and value from books, I had to cut down on the reading part to make out time for the practice part. And now that I am working hard at a few big dreams, I am reading a lot less and practicing a lot more.

Reading has this deceptive effect of making you feel like you have done something great while making you too weak to do something completely new. When I took to writing daily, my biggest challenge was to tear myself away from reading to actually writing. I would read a lot then to get ideas of what to write and then end up too weak to write anything. Now I just write and don't fall into the reading trap.

I still read, and a lot. But now I read more of my own writings -- my blog articles, ongoing novel, computer programs, ideas and project documentation. I read things I can translate to action, and make out time to translate them to action. I no longer read just to be a better discussion partner or to brag about the number of books I have read. I am now strategic in my reading. I read to learn real-world skills. To earn and to do more.

Culled from: https://www.changemakers.com/emerginginnovators
Apply at: https://ashokachangemakers.wufoo.com/forms/emerging-innovators-bootcamps-2017/

The American Express Leadership Academy Emerging Innovators Bootcamps gather 100 changemakers around the globe who are positively transforming communities and revolutionizing healthcare, education, food security and more.

Join the 2017 Emerging Innovators cohort -- Develop your power to change the world

Apply for one of 100 spots at our leadership Bootcamps, which will be held in five locations around the world this fall. As an Emerging Innovator, you’ll receive industry insights, personalized feedback, direct connections to sector leaders and ongoing support from a network of peers who are rising stars in the social enterprise world. Tell us why you deserve a spot.

The American Express Leadership Academy Emerging Innovators Bootcamps are 2-3 day intensive trainings for social entrepreneurs and changemakers who can benefit from expert guidance, peer support and a safe space to reflect on inner growth and wellbeing.

We find incredible leaders and then we train and support them powerfully through the 3,000+ member strong American Express Leadership Academy. As a result, our graduates go on to win some of the most prestigious awards around, including our Ashoka Fellowship, and honors from organizations like Echoing Green, Skoll, StartingBloc and Unreasonable Institute. Our grads even make the Forbes “30 Under 30” list.
Power BI is Microsoft's self-service Business Intelligence solution and is the most popular self-service BI solution in Nigeria. Many companies in Nigeria are beginning to realise the huge importance of having flexible and robust BI reports and a lot of them are turning to Power BI due to the local presence of Microsoft and the low entry fee of Power BI compared to the other self-service BI solutions.

As a business professional, what do you need to know about Power BI and its potential value to your organization? Well, that is what we are going to discuss in the next few paragraphs.

Before the advent of self-service BI solutions, companies used to have a data warehouse or IT team who manage the company-wide data using Microsoft SQL servers, Oracle database servers and MySQL database servers (there are others but these are the most popular ones). These tech-savvy team model the company data and provide portals for the other teams/departments in the company to download data they need for their reports. Sometimes, they create reports too for the business managers to consume but these reports are often static and not robust enough for day-to-day business needs. Hence, the need for a second group of people -- analysts. They could be sales analysts, operations analysts, customer service analysts, marketing analysts or data analysts. This set of people create the highly important day-to-day reports that management use to keep the business running smoothly and for strategic planning. These reports are mostly made with Microsoft Excel because of its ease of use and managers' preference for it. And again, before now, this was good enough.

However, since the advent of self-service BI, Excel is now no longer good enough for reporting all the business operations. Excel is still extremely important and useful but not great at providing real-time robust dashboards/reports that can be consumed on the go by managers (without having to lug around a laptop and Excel). Managers are increasingly looking for reporting tools that provide them real-time access to their business data reports and accessible from their iPads, tablets and smartphones even in the middle of the night or while on a vacation in a remote island/village. And that is the very thing with many other valuable features that self-service BI solutions like Power BI provide.

With Excel, you have to create the reports repeatedly and email them out. I used to work as a business analyst and MIS analyst for Comviva on an Airtel Africa CRBT project. I often say I worked for Airtel Africa as Comviva was a sister company to Airtel, both were owned by the Bharti Group. I used to create 11 daily reports -- one for each of the 10 countries we were operating in in Africa and one pan-Africa report to the Airtel HQ in Kenya. Then every Friday, I create a weekly report and presentation. Been very good in Excel, I created a template to automate the reports and reduce my daily repetitive tasks. Yet two things could not be automated away and gave the management concern -- they only get the reports when I email them out and they always have to view it on their laptops. How were these a problem? On Saturday and Sunday, they are blind. They don't see what has happened all throughout the weekend till I send out reports on Monday. Then, whenever they are in a meeting or on a flight, they have to wait till they can open their PC, download the reports and interact with it before they can fully know what's in it.

Now, with Power BI, those problems are no more. I can design the reports once and set it to update automatically each day, so I don't have to daily recreate the reports. Then the managers can view the reports any day, especially on Saturday and Sunday, and see the updated (real-time) analysis. Lastly, they don't have to be on their PC. They can access the reports on their smartphones, tablets and any internet connect device that has a good browser.

And those aren't just the benefits. You get drill-down capabilities, enhanced visualizations, KPI trigger alerts and many more benefits that managers won't want to turn a blind eye to. Below is the extract of the slides I use to present the benefits of Power BI to managers. You can also view one of my openly available Power BI dashboards that I often use to show the power of Power BI: here and here. Enjoy! 

Note: the sample dashboard slides are extract from publicly available dashboards on Power BI Data Stories Gallery and the quote + architecture slides are from Brandon George's presentation.