The Kiefer Data Analytics and Visualization Practice Group has successfully helped clients better interact with their data and rapidly deploy business intelligence dashboards using Microsoft’s business intelligence tool, Power BI.
While organizations seek to monitor KPIs and metrics, they often struggle in finding the time and resources to analyze and interpret this precious and valuable data. These data sets often contain meaningful insights that could enable an organization to run more efficiently, however, without the right tools and expertise, an organization will continue to make decisions based on their “gut” rather than the facts. Power BI and business intelligence dashboards make it easier for organizations to better interact and consume large amounts of data and make better business decisions.
The Value of Dashboards
Kiefer Consulting has experience in rapid dashboard development. Our team has the expertise and experience in building dashboards that have assisted organizations in managing budgets, monitoring complex projects, resource management, and tracking KPIs. Our dashboards often pull data from decentralized data sources and aggregate the data so data relationships can be made, trends can be recognized, and anomalies can be quickly identified.
A Rapid Dashboad Development Deployment Methodology
Kiefer has established a proven approach that focuses on rapid deployment and iteration.
Business Intelligence differs from our typical software development project where its common to have an “all or nothing” mentality. In a business intelligence implementation, a rapid and iterative deployment is not only preferred, it’s typically more successful in helping an organization in building a data culture. We believe that its “best practice” to focus on a specific business area. We typically will work with a business unit that has the most to gain from delivering improved reporting. We align with a functional area of the business, like the Project Management Office, Sales Department, Supply Chain, Finance or Operations. We deliver to this area of the business first with a goal of delivering fast. Once we deliver the first dashboard, we work with the client in an iterative style to advance more meaningful data insights and gain momentum and credibility. We then take the lessons we’ve learned into the next area of business and start again.
Dashboard Readiness Assessment
Kiefer uses a proven methodology to initiate a Dashboard Development project. Here are a few of the high-level questions we ask in order to estimate level of effort, time, cost, etc.
- First, it’s important to understand what you’d like to learn from your data. Think about the questions you’d like to answer with a visualization.
- Make all the data sets you’d like us to work with available to the Kiefer team. These are the data sets where the answers to the questions live. Sometimes the data may not all be in one data set… so, you’ll need to provide us with access to all pertinent data. We can use a Power BI Gateway to interface with the data. Worst case, the data can be extracted and provided as a CSV file.
- Kiefer will then look at the data, understand what data is important to present on a Power BI dashboard and determine how best to answer the questions using the dashboard. This step is important to determining the level of effort required to build the dashboards. By examining the data and understanding the insights you’d like to gain, we’ll be able to estimate how many hours we’d need to deliver the dashboard solution.
- Based on the questions and the data, we’ll give you a proposal for each dashboard. Depending on the amount of work we need to do with the data (formatting, cleansing, etc.), the dashboard build and desired branding. The cost of development may vary from dashboard to dashboard.
Kiefer can also help you navigate the licensing models for Power BI. We are a services provider, so we don’t sell licenses, but can help you in better understanding the appropriate licensing agreement so you can leverage Power BI and users (internal or external) will have access to dashboards.
Examples of Rapid Development
Rapid development is an iterative process that relies on client engagement. When our clients provide the data and we build the dashboard, the client will often think about additional questions they’d like to see answered. This is very common.
“This is great. Now, can you show build a visualization that shows all expenses that exceed the budget by 10% or more?”It is common for customers to see what is possible and find more questions they want answered.
Our customers quickly realize that there are other questions that are important to ask, data relationships that must be made to better understand the data or specific visualizations that will help in gaining the insights they seek.
Kiefer’s process has approach to data analytics and visualization has helped organizations become more data-driven and has helped many organizations in both the public and private sector create a data culture. Data culture is an organizational perspective that puts value on data and the insights that the data can provide.
SB1 County Dashboard
Kiefer leveraged public data to show how SB1 funds were being used across the State of California. The dashboard allows you to filter by county.
Internal Kiefer Dashboards
Data culture is strong at Kiefer. We use dashboards to manage resourcing and to monitor project performance.
MiraCosta College Dashboards (Measure MM)
The MiraCosta dashboards were built to provide full transparency for Measure MM, a construction bond program. This gives audience a quick and comprehensive view of spend, budget, and performance.
Let’s Get Started
Kiefer has worked with clients to deliver a proof-of-concept. This is often a very logical place to start. By starting small, iterating, and then expanding, the organization can better understand where and how dashboards can provide benefit to the organization.
Contact Kiefer to learn more, see examples of our work, and find out more about what we see as “best practice” for an organization that is looking to leverage data in a more meaningful way. And, if you have an urgent and pressing need to report, assess, or communicate, you may need us to help you in a rapid dashboard deployment. This is also something you can count on us to help you with.