Oxfordshire County Council’s Children’s Social Care department end of year celebration saw awards being given for outstanding contributions to service delivery, reporting and innovation. DSCallards, part of the Codestone Group and leading Power BI specialist won the Gold award for Creativity and Innovation, alongside Oxfordshire staff members, for their work on a project codenamed OHANA (it means ‘family’, if you’ve ever seen Lilo and Stitch!).
Completing the project within the tight deadlines set meant not only were penalties avoided, but £1.7 million of additional funds were made accessible through the Supporting Families central fund. Oxfordshire staff worked evening and weekends, and DSCallards staff worked alongside them at short notice to ensure that the effort was successful.
The project created complex reporting and analysis of Oxfordshire’s data, focusing on children and families who use the council’s services. DSCallards consultants Keith Fisher and Mike Hobson contributed with sophisticated Power Query transformations in Microsoft Power BI to ensure accurate output was provided.
The project was designed to show improvements that children and families experienced in their interactions with social care provision, uniting data from their main care system with Police and NHS data as well as education and other involvements.
Tan Lea, the Early Intervention Manager at Oxfordshire County Council said: “DSCallards did an amazing job in developing the OHANA Power BI platform and worked brilliantly as a team – so well deserved that you should have been awarded Gold in our Children’s staff celebration tonight for your creativity and innovation. I know how incredibly hard you all worked and the obstacles you overcame, and that you worked over and above what any of us might expect. Great partnership working, and we could not have done it without your team at DSCallards. Many thanks!”
The project relied on data from multiple sources, which was routed through SAP BusinessObjects, Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Power BI. Power Automate and Power Query were key to the manipulation and transmission of the data through the steps to achieve the final outcome – a series of reports and dashboards in Microsoft Power BI.
Oxfordshire County Council have worked with DSCallards as their analytics partner for over 4 years. DSCallards maintain their SAP BusinessObjects estate and have delivered dashboard-style reporting, training, and system upgrades in that time. As the Council moves towards using Microsoft Power BI as its strategic reporting platform DSCallards has been key in advising the path to take for a successful transition.
In addition to this work, there is an ongoing project to deliver a data warehouse to feed Adults’ Social Care data to Microsoft Power BI reports and dashboards, and also a data governance stream where Council staff are being guided in analysing, cataloguing and stewarding their data. The continued and repeated involvement of DSCallards in the Council’s analytics projects shows the high level of trust between the two, as well as the confidence the Council has in DSCallards to deliver.
Adrian Handley, Business Intelligence and Analytics Director, DSCallards (A Codestone Company) commented, “We are delighted to have played an integral role in the first stage of this valuable project. By working hand-in-hand with the team at Oxfordshire County Council we helped to provide true transparency through visualisations to enable service delivery managers to quickly see the effects of their teams’ work and take action to improve people’s lives around the county. DSCallards supports Codestone’s cloud-first approach in helping customers gain rapid results today and future-proofing their tomorrow by running better with cloud solutions and adopting innovative technology.”
Microsoft Power BI is both a desktop tool and a cloud service that enable users to get the most out of their data. Microsoft Power BI Desktop is a report and data-model authoring tool that uses an in-memory database to quickly and intuitively connect to data, manipulate and transform it, create relationships and then visualise the output. The reports created and the datasets they are based on can be published to the Power BI Service where security and functionality combine to provide a seamless experience for report consumers. Filtering, drill-down, AI analysis and more are achievable easily and smoothly.
The reports and the service combine well with other Microsoft tools such as Teams, SharePoint and SQL Server. Even more commonality and cross-functionality is available with Azure services such as Data Lake and Synapse.
Power Query is a data transformation tool which is found in both Power BI and Excel. It empowers end-users with data-modelling capabilities that might otherwise only be accessible to IT and DBAs. As part of Microsoft Power BI it allows for the automation of data manipulation that is then applied to data models that feed into reports and dashboards in the Power BI service.
DSCallards’ staff are skilled in a broad range of analytics tools, concepts and deliverables. The consultants install software, train users, deliver content, support systems, design solutions, architect data models and create governance frameworks. Companies and organisations trust DSCallards to look after their data needs in so many different ways.