How to know which PowerPoint automation solution is right for you [Take the quiz]

With so many options available, it's hard to know which PowerPoint automation solution is right for you and your business.

October 6, 2023
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The benefits of automating your PowerPoint report production are endless but with so many options available, it's hard to know which PowerPoint automation solution is right for you and your business. With the right tools and expertise, you can speed up the process of creating amazing reports in no time at all.

In this blog post, we’ll explore what PowerPoint automation is and how it can help you create stunning data presentations quickly and easily. We’ll also look at different types of solutions available on the market today, as well as questions to ask yourself before choosing one that fits your needs best. Last but not least, we have a free quiz designed to help you identify which solution would work best for your particular scenario. So let's get into it!

What is PowerPoint Automation and How Does it Help?

PowerPoint Report Automation is the process of using technology in a nifty way that lets businesses produce polished PowerPoint reports in no time. You can gather data from Excel spreadsheets, SQL databases, and APIs and turn them into snazzy slides without lifting a finger.

With pre-set rules and formatting, you can create slides automatically, keeping the data and presentation top-notch. The best part? You'll save heaps of time, making space for more important tasks, avoiding any manual copy-and-paste errors and delivering to your stakeholders ahead of schedule.

Different Types of PowerPoint Automation Solutions

We have a full post available detailing the different types of PowerPoint automation tools and alternative solutions available. Really though, there are 3 broad categories that the solutions on offer fall into:

Internal solution

Writing VBA or Python code to automate Excel to PowerPoint automation. This could be a great solution if you’re comfortable with coding and have the team/skills internally to develop your own solution.

By keeping it in-house and developing an internal solution you can customize the automation process to fit your specific needs. You can tailor the code to create a unique and efficient workflow, making it easy for you to quickly produce stunning PowerPoint reports.

One potential drawback of developing an internal solution for PowerPoint automation is the cost and ongoing resource commitment required. Developing a functional and reliable automation tool or solution from scratch takes time, as well as access to technical expertise, and complex coding skills. Additionally, depending on the complexity of the task at hand, it could require ongoing maintenance costs. This can be particularly problematic if your team lacks the necessary programming knowledge or if the project scope is frequently changing.

Third-party solutions

Using software designed specifically for PowerPoint automation purposes. There are a range of solutions available, from licensed report automation software, to PowerPoint plugins and APIs specifically designed to help users automate PowerPoint reporting.

In most cases, using third-party solutions for report automation you don't need to have coding knowledge or technical expertise. These solutions are designed to be user-friendly and intuitive, making it easy for anyone to create stunning PowerPoint reports quickly and easily.

Keep in mind, if you are purchasing access to third-party solutions, these often come at a cost and still require some level of knowledge and expertise. Although designed specifically to simplify the process of automation, some tools do require a steep learning curve to be able to use them to their full potential.

Outsource solutions

If you don't have the skills, time or resources to develop an internal solution or you don't want to purchase access to a third-party tool, outsourcing is another option. This involves hiring an agency or service provider who specializes in automation solutions.

The advantage of this approach is that the expert will know exactly what needs to be done and can handle everything from start to finish without needing too much input from your team. It's also faster than creating an internal solution from scratch as they'll already have the skills and experience needed.

If this sounds like something for you, book a free consultation with one of our report automation specialists, with years of experience developing Python libraries for PowerPoint manipulation.

Book a free consultation with one of our report automation specialists using the form below:

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing a Solution

When deciding on which PowerPoint automation solution works best for you there are some key questions you can ask yourself to help you identify which PowerPoint automation solution is right for you.

1. Do you have anyone in your team or company with the expertise required to be able to automate PowerPoint creation?

Understanding what skills are already available to you in-house will help you to understand whether there is even a possibility of keeping the responsibility of creating a solution entirely in-house, or whether you are going to need to employ a third-party solution or partner to help you.

2. Do they have the capacity to take on the task of automating reporting?

So, you have found someone internally who is a Python wizard - that's all well and good, but if they're tied up on other projects for the next 6 months and you need a solution pronto, they aren't going to be much help.

Even so, they may come in useful in the future if there is a cheaper solution that can be created by a partner but passed to an internal team for maintenance.

3. How complex are the reports you would like to automate?

This is where you are attempting to get a feel for the scope of the automation required. Several different factors feed into the complexity of a report for automation, including the number and types of different data sources, additional calculations that are required, custom positioning of shapes and items etc.

The more complex the report, the more difficult it is to automate production. Simple reports might lend themselves well to third-party, self-service tools, whereas complex reporting might require custom code solutions, written by an expert.

4. How many reports would you like to automate, and how often do you need them to be refreshed?

This is the point at which you will start to understand the overall scale of your automation project. If you only need a handful of reports, a manual process with some custom coding might be acceptable, but if many reports need updating regularly, then it makes sense to look for an automated solution.

Scale and frequency should also feed into your cost considerations. If you have 100 completely different reports to automate, employing a partner to build a custom solution for each could be a fast way to burn through all of your cash. You might want to look for a solution that has a set fee, but can be used across multiple projects.

Not sure where to start? We’ve created a free report audit template to help you piece everything together.

5. How flexible does the solution need to be?

How much freedom do you need when creating and formatting your reports? Some solutions offer rigid designs and set formats which can make them difficult to work with if you need something more bespoke.

Other solutions allow you to have more flexibility from one report to another - sounds great in theory, but a flexible solution also requires more skilled resources on hand to ensure it works correctly.

Questions like these can help you determine which type of PowerPoint Automation will be most beneficial for your specific needs.

Take the Quiz!

Still not sure which type of report automation is right for you? Take our free quiz to get tailored advice on which solutions would be best suited to your situation!

We hope this article has helped you understand the basics of PowerPoint Automation and how to identify which type is best for your specific needs. With a variety of solutions available, it can be difficult to decide on the most suitable one – but by asking yourself key questions and taking our free quiz, you'll soon have clarity on what's right for you.

Whether you're looking to automate simple or complex reports, there are tools and solutions out there that will help make reporting more efficient than ever before. So don't wait - get started today by finding the perfect automation solution for your business now!

Next up: How to prepare a report for PowerPoint automation 

how to prepare a report for PowerPoint automation
How to prepare a report for PowerPoint automation

Includes five essential tips that will help you prepare and organize your reports for efficient PowerPoint automation, downloadable examples of report automation instructions and an downloadable interactive checklist.

Read more.