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How MS Power BI Is Going to Change Your Business Strategies

Choosing to embrace Microsoft Power BI as your business’ tool for analytics will mean changing the way you approach many processes:

  • data governance and data security will need to be reconsidered,
  • reports will become more interactive, more visual, and less tabular,
  • skillsets in your IT and MI teams will need to be changed,
  • the information landscape around the organisation will change.

If you are moving to Microsoft Power BI from one of SAP’s tools such as SAP Crystal Server or SAP BusinessObjects then there will be some similarities to the way you and your teams work with data, but quite a few differences to cope with too.

Data Governance and Security

One of Microsoft Power BI’s strengths is its ease of adoption. The desktop version is free if you have an Office 365 account. However, this is also a weakness as it means the tool can arrive stealthily, with no adoption plan.

Before you know it, critical business processes might rely on a tool that your IT department does not support and only a few people know how to use.

Creating a plan to shape MS Power BI’s adoption and how you will robustly secure and maintain data is vital if you are to avoid a proliferation of duplicated, un-audited, unverified reports. DSCallards can help you define your data governance strategy, plan how you define KPIs to ensure they align with your goals, and then provide solutions to enable those KPIs to be reported in MS Power BI.

From Lists to Interactive Dashboards

Many organisations use Excel as a reporting tool, or if they have progressed beyond that level, tools such as SAP Crystal Reports and Web Intelligence. Often the full functionality of these tools is not used though, and reports are static lists of data provided to operational teams for them to act on.

Microsoft Power BI’s intention is to provide interactive reports that can be filtered, drilled into and explored ad-hoc by managers, analysts and anyone else who needs them. Users will be expected to query the reports to find their own trends and results, potentially freeing up your MI teams to focus on more insightful analysis themselves.

In time this should lead to your organisation as a whole becoming more data-literate. Users empowered to interrogate reports should develop an understanding of the data and its environment. Following from this flexibility, the greater level of knowledge will breed confidence and a feeling of ownership of the data.

The Skills Required to Achieve Success

Depending on what is currently available for reporting within your business, the adoption of Microsoft Power BI may lead to new skills being needed. Each organisation will have different levels of existing skills, and the legacy products and applications Power BI will need to interface with will change your approach. In general the following skills will be needed to make a success of your move:

  • Azure administration skills – for managing access and security as well as functionality in the toolset.
  • Microsoft Power Query, M, DAX – the technical parts of Power BI Desktop that will enable users to have a solid dataset to work from.
  • Flair for presentation and report design – you MI team will need to know how to present data visually with clarity and purpose.
  • Data modelling, data warehousing – the first is critical, the second is a recommendation.
  • Skill with other Microsoft ‘Power’ tools such as Power Apps and Power Automate to make the end-user experience as fulfilling as possible.

Add to these the potential for Azure SQL Server, Microsoft Report Builder, and embedding your reports in website and there are a lot of new avenues to explore for your technical teams.

At DSCallards we have the experience to recommend the right solution for your business as well as helping you build it. We can provide training to get your staff up to speed and then mentoring for the project to keep it moving.

Your Information Landscape, In Technicolour!

Moving to Microsoft Power BI from another tool, or from Excel, opens a world of possibility. It will enable quicker decisions to be made, the observation of more detail in insights, and empower more people to take action.

This is a journey that DSCallards want to help our customers take, defining data structures, building processes that encapsulate business goals and their measures, creating robust security and displaying the right information at the right time to the right people.

Call us today to talk about changing your information landscape.

Posted by Keith Fisher, Senior Business Intelligence Consultant, 21st June 2022

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