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You Purchased Power BI: Now What?

You purchased Power BI and you know all the benefits this self-service business intelligence tool has to offer. Now you’re struggling to make the most out of your Power BI investment, and as this reality sinks in, you’re wondering what to do next.

Gathering data from disparate sources is a common enterprise problem that adds complexity. The resulting data silos, combined with KPI and logic silos, are hindering your enterprise from agreeing on a “single version of the truth.” With distrust in the data comes distrust in the reporting tool—whatever the tool is, be it Power BI or something else.

Distrust in data quality leads to decision-making based on intuition and judgments from the most experienced person in the room. Even if you manage to create a meaningful dashboard for yourself or your department, you’re probably struggling to scale it on an enterprise-level or get adoption and buy-in from the rest of the organization.

If done right, Power BI has the potential to unleash valuable business enterprise insights. If done wrong, it’s just another failed software purchase. Let’s discuss how the most common Power BI roadblocks prevent enterprise-wide success and the best course of action to take if you are experiencing these challenges.

Data Integration and Transformation From Disparate Sources

One of the prominent challenges enterprises face when it comes to Power BI deployment is that its data lies in many disparate operational systems and data stores. So, data integration and transformation are difficult to achieve.

Even an organization that has a data warehouse and/or data lake can still get tripped up here. When teams don’t follow an agreed plan (aka data culture) or data governance, the resulting mismatch between the data and expectations ultimately results in poorly designed Power BI data models.

Enterprise-Data Modeling

Even with a properly planned and executed data integration, storage, and transformation plan, then the focus turns to creating Power BI data models that support well-considered reporting and drive insights.

A common misstep with Power BI data modeling is when the model isn’t efficient, flexible, and adaptable enough to suit a variety of business needs across the enterprise. This misstep happens when departments, individuals, or non-subject matter experts develop data models in isolation. Siloed development results in the data model not meeting end-users needs or not aligning to cross-departmental or enterprise standards.

Matt Mowrey is the Senior Director of Finance, Analytics, and Business Performance at DAI and he experienced a similar challenge. “We’re a project-based firm, which means every project has its own financial forecast. My conclusion was that we would need to stand up an individual Power BI model for each of the projects.

Collectiv helped me understand that we could have one centralized data model and build in the project specifics. Together we were able to take what I had developed as an individual user to the enterprise level, make it efficient and make it accessible to other people.”

 

Enterprise-Wide Scaling

While Power BI’s self-service nature lets you quickly develop point solutions for the business problem at hand, the same flexibility can become an issue when you plan to scale your quick-and-dirty solution across the entire enterprise. Long story short: For any of these stages, you need a plan that everybody agrees to and executes.

As you start scaling the solution, you’ll realize the need to have a centralized structure to support the growing number of users. Without a proper scaling strategy, your Power BI ecosystem will start to show the cracks, such as:

  • Users going back to an old familiar tool, like Excel.
  • Users not utilizing the new Power BI reports that you produced for them.
  • Users using Power BI, but then exporting to offline tools such as Excel or PDF to manipulate data.
  • Performance and technical issues with new Power BI reports.
  • Too many options, resulting in hundreds or thousands of Power BI reports (the Wild West of Power BI).
  • Data governance issues and inconsistencies.

Data Governance

You only realize the true benefits of Power BI when the tool equips your teams with the right information, in the right format, and at the right time. However, when you start using Power BI and empower users with a lot of data, you will soon find weaknesses in your data, inaccuracy, duplicates, missing fields, and inconsistent definitions.

Without a data governance strategy, you risk giving access to sensitive or inaccurate business data in the hands of individuals. This access not only affects the accuracy of your insights but also poses a security risk. Bad reporting from poor data further brings distrust within teams and negatively affects your Power BI investment efforts.

Overcoming Power BI Roadblocks

These roadblocks aren’t unique to a handful of enterprises. According to BI Survey, the three most common problems enterprises face in their BI projects are:

  • Slow query performance.
  • Lack of interest from business users.
  • Poor data quality.

How do you ensure a well-executed Power BI deployment so your team spends less time juggling data and more time generating meaningful insights? At Collectiv, we help you get the most out of your Power BI investment.

Improve and Align Your Power BI Strategy

Whether your goal with Power BI is to improve adoption rate, reduce risk, or extend your analytics capabilities, we bring the most knowledgeable and experienced team of consultants to drive your strategy.

Our Power BI experts analyze your data infrastructure, processes, and requirements to bring you tailored recommendations that align with industry best practices. If you need to execute analytics and planning deployment, set up a Center of Excellence (CoE), or optimize data governance, our best-in-class Visioning programs help your enterprise move forward strategically.

Execute a Successful Power BI Implementation Plan

Every Power BI journey is unique, and so is the implementation process. At Collectiv, our consultants truly take the time to understand the dynamics of your enterprise to achieve a seamless and successful Power BI implementation.

Our Power BI experts’ tangible enterprise experience across diverse industry verticals enables a future-proofed Power BI solution that offers quick access to a single source of truth. By working with a team of experienced consultants, you take advantage of our combined expertise to rapidly execute a successful Power BI implementation plan.

Get Flexible Power BI Support to Meet Changing Needs

Implementing a Power BI solution tailored to your business needs is a job only half done. Chances are that your in-house BI and business teams may need ongoing support to improve, iterate, or optimize your Power BI solutions and processes to meet the evolving needs of your business.

At Collectiv, we also offer a flexible support model. Our Consulting-as-a-Service (CaaS) approach allows us to work with your team, when and however we are needed, to meet your changing technical and business requirements.

Without strategy and support, Power BI can quickly spiral into an environment with inconsistent data and reporting that fail to generate valuable insights for the business. Your enterprise was on track when the initial Power BI investment was made…now it’s just time to iterate and improve.

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