Are You Turning Excel Hell Into Power BI Chaos?

Power BI has some of the best capabilities, including a self-service Power BI tool that is extremely intuitive for nontechnical business users to pick up. Beautiful visualizations quickly become a reality, underpinned by enterprise-grade data models. Collaboration and sharing are easy and seamless.

However, there is a dark side to be aware of. Like most C-level’s at enterprise organizations, you are likely unleashing years of Excel and reporting bad habits into a younger, prettier tool…Microsoft Power BI.

With Power BI’s ever-evolving and expanding capabilities, it is certainly
challenging—if not impossible—for enterprises to understand and successfully put the pieces of the puzzle together to ensure that Power BI is being used and deployed correctly.

Having the right people and processes in place will be invaluable to you. Instead of turning Excel hell into Power BI chaos, you’ll have a well-oiled data machine.

Half of Analytics Projects Are Failing

Our study of Business Intelligence and Analytics projects revealed that 51% of BI projects fell short of company objectives, while 69% of BI leaders considered their projects were at risk of failure. So, what is leading to this failure with Power BI projects?

No clear documented, process-backed data strategy

Most organizations start using self-service Power BI without a sound data strategy, resulting in the old adage…garbage in, garbage out. Just because you have a data warehouse with all of your source systems’ data in it, does not mean you have a data strategy.

You must be able to answer “yes” to the following questions:

  • Do you have a data dictionary?
  • Do you have a report catalog?
  • Do you have a measure dictionary?

With no clear documentation or a set process to follow, your Power BI implementation is bound to be full of duplication, repetition, inconsistency, and inefficiency.

No standards, best practice process or governance

Organizations are likely to fail in meeting important requirements with self-service Power BI as these enterprise features are in their infancy at the moment.

A defined set of standards, processes, best practices, and data governance procedures are critical. Otherwise, organizations will find themselves not only looking over their shoulders with security concerns but also stifling adoption, expansion, and confidence in the solution.

Stakeholders vision has not been clearly defined and linked to outcomes

Power BI is a powerful tool…only if you know exactly what you want out of it. Without specifying the vision of the stakeholders and aligning their goals with outcomes, the tool’s benefits will fall short of organizational objectives and expectations.

Start Winning the Battle with a Clear Strategy

Long-term success with Power BI in an enterprise environment requires a substantial amount of preparation beforehand. Put a proper process in place to extract stakeholder needs, align with capabilities, and define/build a process that is communicated and enforced, yet still flexible.

If you’re looking to ensure success with Power BI, follow these tips to avoid potential chaos.

Executive/stakeholder visioning

“You don’t know what you don’t know.” Start by educating stakeholders on the possibilities of what could be achieved with Power BI through visioning sessions.

Collaborate with stakeholders to determine what is expected within and outside the scope when deciding the deployment approach. A visioning session reconfirms the requirements while showing the possibilities for doing things differently/better. This approach also confirms all stakeholders have the same level of expectations with deliverables.

Data discovery

Before you can define a clear data governance strategy, you need to understand the state of your data. Deep-dive sessions help you see if you have data in the format you need to answer business questions your stakeholders are asking.

Once this analysis is complete and documented—and put into a robust process to accommodate future needs and growth—you’re ready to define a data governance model and implement it, monitor, and adapt.

Get quick wins and prove value leveraging rapid prototypes

The best way to start with Power BI is to start small. Implement the tool for a single report or automate an existing one, so stakeholders immediately experience wins, and thus, trust the system. Try to improve one business KPI and use it as a “proof of value” (POV) to define your master roadmap.

Controlled empowerment

Self-service is one of the key attractions that differentiate Microsoft Power BI from other solutions. Users enjoy a lot of freedom out-of-the-box, which inevitably leads to problems.

So, how do you support innovation and self-service—within guardrails and without looking like big brother? Workspaces, certified datasets, and visualization standards are just some of the processes that provide “Controlled Empowerment” to aid your success.

How a BI Strategy Partner Helps You Succeed

From defining processes, personnel, and data governance to education and training, success with Power BI requires more than knowledge about the technology. Here’s how a BI strategy partner helps you achieve an effective Power BI implementation.

1. Expert team to lean on

Our study shows that 73% of respondents consider an external BI strategy partner essential. Having a BI strategy partner means you have access to an experienced team of BI professionals who can conceive and implement a Power BI strategy tailored to your business nuances.

2. Connect the dots and envision possibilities

A BI strategy partner helps you connect the dots between stakeholder requirements, Power BI features, best practices, and real-world experience—effectively switching the light on for stakeholders so they envision the possibilities with a self-service analytics tool.

A partner also makes it easy for stakeholders to adopt new processes and technology by promoting a data-driven mindset in your organization.

3. Rapid proof of value (POV)

A BI strategy partner can develop rapid proof of concepts to prove capabilities for stakeholder buy-in, illustrating “the art of the possible” amongst others to senior stakeholders in a matter of days.

4. Expertise and experience in a fast-changing landscape

One of the key benefits of having a partner is that you get access to a wealth of project experience and in-depth product expertise.

This knowledge will, in turn, impart best practice recommendations for all facets and phases of your journey, combined with robust processes to keep you on track. Besides, there is a minimum risk when it comes to meeting regulations and compliance or adhering to governance standards.

5. Same roles, less involvement over time

The purpose of self-service Power BI is to reduce the dependencies of business users on IT for generating reports using quality data. A partner ensures users have access to quality, reliable information by establishing initial foundational standards, ongoing processes, and long-term knowledge transfer.

6. Empowerment through training and continuous learning

Successful Power BI implementation starts with training the users. A BI strategy partner creates training programs tailored to your organizational needs, both during the implementation as well as when your educational needs mature.

With the Collectiv Power BI Visioning Program, you’ll experience unparalleled insight and foresight for your Power BI journey. The Collectiv team will help you disseminate and document a robust—yet flexible—framework, along with an actionable process. Reach out to start driving success with your enterprise data strategy.

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