Automated PowerPoint generation for beginners [Downloadable brief template]

Automating your PowerPoint slides can save time and energy, while also helping you produce more accurate presentations.

January 10, 2024
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Are you looking for an efficient way to create automated PowerPoint presentations? Automating your PowerPoint slides can save time and energy, while also helping you produce more accurate presentations. But before you begin automating reports, it’s important to create a brief that outlines the objectives of the project and what it will mean to your company. In this blog post, we'll discuss the benefits of creating a brief before exploring automated PowerPoint generation, as well as the important questions to answer when you create one. Let's get started!

An overview of PowerPoint report automation

PowerPoint report automation is a technological process that allows businesses to quickly generate professional PowerPoint presentations from data sources, such as Excel spreadsheets, SQL databases and external APIs. This can be used for a variety of purposes, such as quarterly reviews, annual reports, financial presentations, etc. Automating your PowerPoint slides can save you time and energy while helping to ensure more accurate presentations.

There are many ways to go about automating PowerPoint reporting, including writing your own VBA, creating custom code in Python, or using a tool from a third party. All have their pros and cons, and the solution that is right for you will depend on several things, including what expertise you have at your disposal, the types of reports you are looking to automate and the budget that is available to you.

In our blog post on PowerPoint automation tools and alternative solutions, we provide a detailed overview of the options available, and the pros and cons of each.

The benefits of creating a brief before exploring automated PowerPoint generation

Creating a brief before exploring automated PowerPoint generation will help you to understand what you want to accomplish with your automation project and what that could mean to the company.

When embarking on this type of project, it is easy to be distracted by the immediate need. This is your opportunity to think about all of the broader, long-term potential benefits your company could achieve by automating reporting. For example, automating reporting could allow you to review KPIs more frequently, giving you greater visibility on how your business is performing. In turn, this might allow you to make more informed decisions. Take a look at our full overview of benefits here.

It's also a chance to do a complete audit of all of the repeatable reporting within your team or organization. You may uncover that there is a wider opportunity to automate reporting across multiple projects, allowing you to share the budget and avoid duplicating workloads in the future.

Download the free automation brief template

6 steps to create an automation brief

Creating an Automation Brief ahead of starting a project will ensure you are clear on the goals and objectives before you start. Here are some of the things to consider when creating your brief:

1. What is the objective and what does it mean to the company?

The first step is to define your objective for automating PowerPoint reporting, making sure that it ties back to achieving a business outcome. There are many benefits to automating your reporting. Use this time to consider what value would be added to your business by automating this process, outlining any potential savings in time or money that could be achieved.

2. Stakeholders and their needs

It’s important to identify who the stakeholders are and their respective interests in this project. Who is involved in both collecting data as well as reviewing the results? Make sure to include everyone in your brief. This will help you identify who needs to be taken into consideration, what impact a solution might have on others, and who needs to be involved in the conversation.

3. Internal resources and expertise

You should also consider what skills and resources are already available to you internally. Is there someone who already has experience in automating PowerPoint? If not, are there any areas where external assistance may be needed? For example, if you already have a Python wizard who is desperate to take on more work, you would probably be better off exploring API solutions, rather than outsourcing or buying software.

4. Establish a budget for the automation project

Before you start your hunt for the perfect solution, it’s important to have an understanding of the budget that is available to you. This will help prevent any unexpected surprises down the line when attempting to complete the project. It may also help you to narrow down the numerous solutions that are available to you.

5. Understand timelines

When is a solution needed by? It’s essential to have a clear timeline for your project so everyone involved knows when they need to deliver their part of the puzzle. Without this, it can be difficult to hold people accountable or manage expectations.

6. Perform an audit of all reports that could be automated

Do a complete review of the repeatable reporting within your organization before you begin an automation project. This will help you to identify any areas where automating PowerPoint reports could provide added value, as well as uncover any additional opportunities which could be realized by automating other reports across multiple projects. In this next post, we've created a handy guide on how to identify PowerPoint reports that can be automated.

The bottom line

Creating an automation brief will help you get the most out of your project. It ensures that everyone involved in the project shares a common understanding and that you are clear on your objectives before you start.

Luckily for you, we've gone ahead and popped all of this into a simple-to-use report automation brief template that is completely free to download. Add your name and email below to receive the download link.