Best Practices For Getting Started With Power BI

Kiefer Consulting has successfully helped clients do more with their data. In 2018, Kiefer made the decision to establish four practice groups to better serve our customers. The Data Analytics & Visualization practice area focuses primarily on helping customers leverage data, gain insights, and make better decisions.

Our practice is built on years of experience with Excel, SSRS, SQL, PowerQuery, and PowerPivot. When Power BI became more widely distributed and business intelligence was offered as a self-service tool, we began to get more calls about business intelligence services. Kiefer clients began expressing interest in Power BI dashboards so they could uncover relevant information in complex datasets. Organizations that were new to Power BI wanted us to help with a proof of concept so they can better understand what is possible with tools like Power BI.

Start with a Proof of Concept

As organizations explore possible applications for Microsoft Power BI, we often recommend a proof of concept (POC). A POC offers organizations the opportunity to see their data on a dashboard and data visualizations that have relevance to them. Demonstrations of dashboards that we have built for other clients do not resonate like a dashboard that presents visualizations that are relatable and data that is familiar.

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We have discovered that POCs that are built to answer 3 or 4 questions about a client’s data will frequently result in the client asking to see the dashboard answer 3 or 4 more questions that they hadn’t considered. This demonstrates the value of using actual data as opposed to using pre-built demos to show the capabilities of Microsoft Power BI.  

Connecting to Data Sources

Data can come from just about any systems. Kiefer has a proven approach to extracting, transforming, and loading (ETL) the data and blending data from multiple sources to build a data warehouse. This warehouse will feed dashboards that pull data from one or more sources. Instead of having to inspect lines of tabular data or having to uncover trends on a spreadsheet, dashboards can help organizations better consume complex sets of data and make better decisions, quickly.

Our team can help you better understand how to get data from systems. We have helped organizations extract data from ERP systems, financial systems, public-data sources, and much more.

Assess Your Maturity

Once you get started with Power BI. It shouldn’t take long to determine where your organization may sit on the Kiefer Digital Maturity Model for Data Analytics & Visualization. We use the maturity roadmaps to assist clients in making a long-term plan for digital transformation. The maturity model helps identify the characteristics of an organization that has reached a specific level, and the anticipated challenges that may prevent them from advancing to a higher level. We also consider “appetite for change” and evaluate “appetite” against an organization’s “ability to change”. Our team often works with clients to understand their current position on the maturity model and offer strategies and best practices to come up with a plan and a roadmap.

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Leveraging the Investment

Microsoft 365 offers organizations numerous features and capabilities that can support improvement and promote digital transformation. We are a Microsoft Gold Partner and can help your organization in leveraging your investment and do more with data, improve processes, and deliver valuable insights. If you are not using Power BI, we can help you get started.

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