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  • 1.  Excelerate Summit: Vena Product Roadmap & Spring '23 Release Q&A Responses

    Posted 23 days ago

    Hey Everyone,

    Carter from Vena here. I wanted to give a big thank you to everyone who attended our Excelerate =SUM(it) conference last week! For those of your who tuned into our Product Team's "Vena Product Roadmap & Spring '23 Release", you'll know that we regrettably ran out of time at the end of the session to answer questions, so today, I'd like to share the list of questions we received throughout the session along with the answers that Vena's team of Product Managers have provided to those questions.

    In case you missed this session, you can watch the recording here!

    Here is the followup to our Vena Product Roadmap & Spring '23 Release Q&A:

    1. "How does the Vena, Teams integration work especially for approvals for Web Excel models vs PC/desktop local Excel app with Vena Excel add-on installed?"

      • Carter Russell, Product Manager: Great question! We're still in the early development phase of this feature and are still determining how we can support and optimize the experience for both the web-based and desktop versions of Excel, so we can't provide those details at this stage. However, we certainly recognize our customer's needs in that different organizations and users prefer to use one Excel version over the other, and this is definitely a big consideration for us at this time.

    2. "After the integration of an excel template into Powerpoint, if you change information in excel will it automatically update in powerpoint presentation?"

      • Carter Russell, Product Manager: Excellent question! One insight we've learned from customers in regards to our PowerPoint integration is that many customers prefer to have total control over when updates occur in their PowerPoint decks. We support this need by ensuring that data in your presentation won't update until a user manually refreshes the data within the deck, so no automatic update will occur. However, if for example, you were to update the data set powering a chart, or edit the structure of an Excel table within your Vena Excel reports, we can detect these edits and they will eventually be pushed into your PowerPoint deck whenever a user initiates a refresh of the deck. 

    3. "Do you need a Manager License to update the powerpoints, or can Contributors use them a well?"

      • Carter Russell, Product Manager: Great question! The answer to your question ultimately depends on how you choose to set up PowerPoint files within Vena. If you so choose, you can create a task within a process specifically for PowerPoint report creation and maintenance and add your PowerPoint file(s) to that task so that contributors can access these files from within the Contributor view within Vena. Otherwise, you can simply just keep the file stored within your Files Library within the Manager view, allowing only those users with a Manager license to access them. 

    4. "But what if you save all of these files and presentations as of the date you presented the first time so that you don't lose your history? Can you have everything save down as of a date and then continue to refresh in the future for the next iteration?"

      • Carter Russell, Product Manager: Thanks for the question! In speaking with customers we've learned that in a lot of cases, customers want to archive versions of their PowerPoint deck at specific points in time and this will be supported. To archive a specific version of your presentation, you'll simply want to save a copy of the file. This can be saved locally, one a shared network, or can even be uploaded and stored within Vena's file library. 

    5. "Are there any integrations that Vena & Excel have or might be developing for working with Tableau?"

      • Rob Keuleman, Senior Product Manager: Great question! We are hearing from customers that one of the stronger needs for exporting data from Vena is to put that data into business intelligence tools like PowerBI and Tableau for further analysis. Our export API, which is targeted to be delivered in the second half of 2023, will give our customers and partners the ability to build integrations to push data automatically to these tools, along with other kinds of systems such as data lakes and ERPs. Please reach out to your CSM to get in touch with me if you would like to discuss this further!

    6. "Are there integrations to export Vena to Microsoft SQL server?"

      • Rob Keuleman, Senior Product Manager: Thank you for your question! Our export API, which is targeted to be delivered in the second half of 2023, will give our customers and partners the ability to build integrations to push data automatically to systems like Microsoft SQL Server, along with other types of systems like ERPs an. Please reach out to your CSM to get in touch with me if you would like to discuss this further!

    7. "Are there any integrations with Google Slides?"

      • Carter Russell, Product Manager: Thanks for your question! At this time our focus is on integrating with PowerPoint and the Microsoft 365 suite. We don't currently have a Google Slides integration on our roadmap, but we will certainly take note of your interest in this integration and continue to evaluate a potential Google Slides integration.

    8. "What are other examples of use cases for Functions besides currency exchange rates?"

      • Manksh Gupta, Senior Product Manager: Some of the other use cases that the team is thinking about for functions include Allocations (Workforce, Cost), KPI's and Balance Sheet ratios, and retained Earnings. These are some of the potential options the team is considering at the moment and as we do further discovery and collect feedback, the roadmap can change.

    9. "Can you upload another company from a Merger that contains many new ledgers using Quick Start into your current Data Model?"

      • Luana Faria-Fichelli, Product Manager: Quick Start is currently targeted for a new Customer's first financial model. If you're interested in chatting with Product about your use case, we'd love to speak with you!

    10. "Can you use Quick Start if you are a potential customer to test out Vena with your own data?"

      • Luana Faria-Fichelli, Product Manager: We are so excited that you are excited about Quick Start! Reach out to your sales rep and let them know you'd like to workshop your own data into Vena.

    11.  "Is the Quick Start upload you just showed for one-off data loads? Or does it retain the settings for future loads?"

      • Luana Faria-Fichelli, Product Manager: We didn't have time to show all the great automation Quick Start does behind the scenes in the demo during the session. After a few inputs in the various steps of the flow, Quick Start automatically generates the necessary components in the background to load your data, create tables and set up the ETL template. Those components remain available to configure further and reuse accordingly for additional data loads.

    12. "Quick Start - Could this be used to create consolidated financials from multiple roll up entities?"

      • Nathan Lee, Product Manager: If all your entities share the same GL source system, then Quick Start can be used to load your data and allow you to start reporting on all your entities. If your roll up entities have separate GL source systems, then further data integrations beyond Quick Start will be needed to get the data into Vena.

    1. "I don't see a Quick Start option in my Vena environment. Where would this be?"

      • Nathan Lee, Product Manager: We are currently in the beta testing phase of Quick Start. If you're interested in trying this out, please reach out to your Vena contact and let them know you'd like to learn more.

    2. "Quick Start - Can we import a current hierarchy to a new model with this?"

      • Nathan Lee, Product Manager: If you wish to create a new financial model, Quick Start is a great use case for this. You can definitely leverage your current Chart of Accounts (COA) hierarchy in the new model by defining the account ranges for each segment of your COA in the Quick Start flow. The hierarchy ranges apply at the data load step by placing new members into the correct position- it will not move existing members. For this, you can use our existing hierarchy CSV upload method through ETL.

    3. "Does Ad Hoc only work with Quick Start or is it available with data if we are a current user?"

      • Nathan Lee, Product Manager: After the data is brought in with Quick Start, you can use whatever reporting tool available in Vena (ie. V365 Connect, Ad-hoc tool) to start mapping your dimensions and to view your data. Adhoc is already available to all Manager users in the Manager tab (blue icon in the vertical navigation pane).

    4. "Is there a way in ad-hoc to prevent formula cells from resetting any time data is refreshed/dimensions are changed?"

      • Nathan Lee, Product Manager: Ad Hoc reporting is built so that users can save an offline snapshot of their report whenever a change is made. Refreshing the configuration will reset the formulas each time so we recommend that you save a copy of the report before editing the formulas or dimensions. If you find that you are resetting the data constantly while using the Ad-hoc tool, it may be worthwhile to create a Vena report using an add-in tool (ex. V365 Connect) instead of using Ad-hoc reporting, where all your formatting changes will persist after each refresh.

    1. "Is Vena Insights using a Vena AI or the Q&A feature in PowerBI?"

      • Rachel Taguicana, Senior Product Manager: Vena Insights is using Vena AI. The Q&A feature in PowerBI is currently available in our Insights offering in both desk top and embedded.

    2. "How many financial dimensions would the Vena team or the audience recommend to optimize the data model and Vena's analytical tools? At which point do the dimensions become cumbersome to manage and analyze?"

      • Rachel Taguicana, Senior Product Manager: We currently have measure optimization built into our foundation model. However, we assess each customer's needs individually to ensure optimal performance and useful results of analytical tools. For more information on your case please contact your CSM.

    3. "Is there a way in ad-hoc to prevent formula cells from resetting any time data is refreshed/dimensions are changed?"

      • Allan Bugeja, Senior Product Manager: Currently this functionality does not exist as the Ad Hoc tool refreshes the entire worksheet. The Ad Hoc tool is an area we are looking to improve and we will take this as a recommendation for improvement.

    Carter Russell
    Product Manager
    Vena Solutions

  • 2.  RE: Excelerate Summit: Vena Product Roadmap & Spring '23 Release Q&A Responses

    Posted 23 days ago

    Thanks for posting this great information Carter! This was a very exciting session at Excelerate Summit last week.
    And the attendees certainly enjoyed the session, some great comments to share below:
    "This is pretty amazing"
    "Exciting stuff thanks"
    "Thank you team"
    and of course
    "I want a Vena T-Shirt and Vena Vest!"

    Nicole Diceman
    Vena Solutions