Release April 2024

We are happy to deliver the brandnew April 2024 release with a new Writeback Function and even more! Try it now!

Remember, the Web Client is the user friendly spreadsheet for your Collector Users to deliver their monthly/weekly/daily data. The Web App is the tool for the Power User to setup and control your organization’s collection workflows.

(1) Web Client: New Writeback Function

Basically, writeback of new data always includes an update or replacement of existing / preliminary data. In this replacement of existing records is controlled with the so called SYSTEM Delta Parameter which is defined by the author of the workbook. Until now, only one parameter per sheet could be defined. With this release, we have removed this restriction and you can define several or even many such parameters whithin the same sheet.

a. Fields of application

This new function makes many new usecases for planning and data collection possible:

  • Collect FORECAST and BUDGET data within the same sheet in the first planning round (from the collector users) and then edit them seperately from each other in a second planning round (e.g. by controllers).
  • Collect ACTUALS and ESTIMATE data within the same sheet and then improve Estimate in a second planning round without changing Actuals anymore.
  • Collect COMMENTS together with FORECAST and later finalize Comments
  • Edit DATA and COMMENTS in workbooks with (list) queries from different tree elements (e.g. using Alternate Level definitions)

b. Example – Data Entry

Let’s demonstrate all this with a simple example. In our public showcase Cost & Invest Budgeting you can collect FORECAST data for the current year 2024 (“FC 1”) and BUDGET data for the years 2025 – 2027 (“BUD”):

c. Example – Definitions

Until now, the SYSTEM Delta parameter had to be the same for all records generated out this sheet when executing the writeback:

From now on, you can define the SYSTEM Delta as “horicontal” or “vertical” named range and therefore you can define different parameters for different columns of this sheet:

d. Example – Performance Analyzer

Until now, each writeback had only one SYSTEM Delta paraemeter and therefore triggered only one replacement of existing records (with the same parameter):

From now on, each writeback triggers as many replacements of existing records as different SYSTEM Delta parameters are found in the sheet at the time of executing the writeback:

e. Example – Fact record structure

Until now, all new records generated by a writeback process got the same SYSTEM Delta parameter (which will be the criteria for the replacement as soon as new records are written back):

From now on, the records of each column (or row) in the sheet can get their individual SYSTEM Delta parameter and this makes it possible to edit only a portion of the initial data amount in different data entry sheets:

f. Conclusions

This new definition of the SYSTEM Delta parameter enables a lot of new use cases!

As you see in the screenshots of the Performance Analyzer above, this new function comes with a price in performance. In our experience, WRITE performance usually is no issue while READ performance is nearly always a big issue. But nevertheless, you should keep that aspect in mind.

More importantly, variable SYSTEM Delta parameters makes your application more powerful but also rises complexity of your application. As probably many of our power users know, it is quite easy to generate undesired fact records by having small definition errors in the SYSTEM Delta parameter and this risk rises with variable parameters. So, we strongly recommend that you have to test even more if you use this great new feature!

(2) Web Client: Improvements for Action Buttons (Preview)

In our last March 2024 release we launched the preview of the new action buttons. With this release, we extend the functionality and make the feature more stable.

a. Auto show/hide sheets for Navigation Buttons

With this release, you can hide the sheets which are called by a navigation button:

The sheet is made visible automatically when the navigation button is pressed and it will be hidden again, as soon as you leave the sheet (e.g. by clicking the Back button):

This is the same functionality that we delivered with the prior hyperlink based navigation.

b. Demo for Dynamic Buttons

We have implemented a demo for dynamic buttons in our public showcase HR Contracts. Depending on the selection in the dropdown menu, the button changes title, target sheet and status:

You want to know, how this works? Here we go! 🙂

  • The most imporant thing is to use the “Cell Adress” parameter, i.e. the dynamic button must be generated in another cell than the formula cell (only this way the button can be changed dynamically)
  • The rest are IF() conditions and a lot of “” and “”” to get the correct syntax 🙂

c. Improved formula support for Dynamic Buttons

There was an issue with long formulas. Strictly speaking this is not a button specific issue but a spreadsheet issue in general. But it is very probable that you come across with this topic only if you use dynamic buttons.

Until now, the workbook could not be loaded if a formula was used which contained a text string that was longer than 255 characters. From now on you get a proper error message in order to be able to solve the issue:

You can solve the issue by “cutting” the too long text string in two ore even more pieces. Here in this demo this is done firstly with the IF() condition for the status and secondly with an extra ” & ” divider:

By doing this, the workbook can be loaded without any problems and the button also works 🙂

(4) Improvements and Debugging

As every month we have cleaned up some little issues.

We hope you like the new features – we are very curious about your feedback!

Please let us know what you think about and what kind of planning and data collection processes you evaluate to automate.

we #StandWithUkraine

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