So you’ve got your monthly routine: managing information from various data sources, combining information and creating reports. In all sense you feel you’ve got it down to a tee. Or maybe you’re constantly frustrated with being one step behind, or not being able to access data when you need it with the result of your decision making involving a touch of educated guesswork! If either of these scenarios sound familiar, then it’s time to introduce Business Intelligence with Microsoft Power BI.
Before we look into Microsoft Power BI, there are a few tell-tail signs that you’re being left behind. Here’s 6 of the most common:
KPIs are a monthly thing
A Key Performance Indicator isn’t indicating much if it’s only being examined once a month. KPIs must be measured frequently. At a minimum, they should be measured daily. Ideally, they’re monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If it takes days to run a single report, it’s simply not possible to make strategic business decisions. Power BI allows you to visualise and analyse your data using a live, interactive dashboard so you have instant access to visibility and reporting.
Data has multiple versions of truth
Not only is the amount of available data sources growing, but so is the complexity of the data. As a result, there’s a rise in reporting experts spending an increasing amount of time developing reports and analytics for an extended user base within a company. With different users each manipulating data differently, it becomes challenging to maintain a consistent shared world view across the company.
This is especially apparent when those reports are generated in Excel and manipulations live only in an individual’s own files. These might then be shared through paper reports, word of mouth, emails, or via the company network, causing further fragmentation and loss of control of data consistency.
Power BI provides interactive visualizations and real-time business intelligence with a user friendly interface, so that users can create their own reports and dashboards using reliable company data, maintaining data integrity and consistency.
Consolidating multi-source data is an art-form
As often happens when companies grow, organisations split each business segment into their own, largely autonomous division, each with its own budget and management process. But at the end of the day, information must be consolidated from each division into a single report in order to keep track of budgeting, forecasting, performance, and general company health.
This involves manually extracting data from each system and compiling a report in Microsoft Excel. But this is time-consuming, tedious, and open to human error. Usually it can only be done by the IT department so those who need the information can’t pull it or adjust it themselves.
With the Power BI service, you can publish reports securely to your organisation and setup automatic data refresh so that everyone has the latest information. Furthermore, you can access your data and reports from anywhere with the Power BI Mobile apps, which update automatically with any changes to your data.
Report building takes time
If you’re still pulling reports manually, you know the many steps involved in hopefully getting an accurate representation of your company data. There’s the process of extracting the data, manipulating it by hand based on your needs, and validating the information to ensure reports reflect the right data. This takes valuable company time and resources.
For many companies, it takes up to three days to pull a single report. This is a major problem. Clearly, if a report or analysis takes significant time to generate, minute trends and KPIs are not being monitored daily or even likely weekly. If a deviation occurs, it could take days or even weeks before it’s noticed and action is taken to correct it.
The future is cloudy
How can a decision maker be expected to make decisions without full insight into all the operations of a company? Take, for example, the CMO who must justify their budget but can’t quantify the marketing spent on a campaign. Or the Director or Sales who needs quick insight into forecasts, goals, expenses, and earnings before the weekly sales meeting. Or the CEO who wants to know which products are most popular in a specific location.
Restricted data access
As mentioned above, data sources and complexity are growing at a rapid pace. Not only is it vital for companies to measure and monitor internal data, but they now need to keep a reading on the external data exploding around them. In fact, over time a company’s external data will far exceed their internal data. Companies that don’t learn from and adapt to this Big Data will be quickly left behind.
As such, many companies keep BI in the hands of the IT department. Generating reports and analyses are time-consuming and complex. If you don’t have a degree in computer science, it isn’t likely you’re going to master the system.