Having worked with a number of clients to implement Power BI in their respective environments I noticed that one factor appeared to be common to all. The success of the project depended greatly upon the relationship between the business analyst and the database team. Since this seems to be an issue which greatly impacts the ability to implement Data Based Decision Making, I decided to talk about it in my recent webinar PASS BA Marathon. Too often I see companies which decide to join data together in an analytics platform, such as Power BI, and fail to take advantages of the separate skillsets in the organization. The data team has spent a considerable amount of effort and energy determining the best ways to combine datasets together. Logically one would assume that this expertise would be leveraged to help the business team analyze data. Instead the business teams are tasked with joining data together. While this approach can work, it will take longer to train the business in areas in which they may not be familiar, and the results will be mixed, especially when considering scalability and maintenance needs over time. To leverage the capabilities of the self-service business tool, which tool doesn’t really matter as the same issues will exist in for example Tableau as well as Power BI, the data team needs to be engaged. The skills they have gathered over time allow them to design a plan a data model which can be refreshed automatically without causing issues.
Using Areas of Expertise
Business Analysts time is best spent using the unique skills they have gathered over time too. Their familiarity with the data values allows them to determine at a glance how the business is doing. Codifying this knowledge into meaningful reports which can disseminate this information throughout the organization provides the basis for data based decision making. To make them successful, they need a data model which has all of the information they need which is well documented so that they can find the values they need to provide meaningful data visualizations. Too often the report generation is left to the data team, and many times there is a reporting backlog of items as there are not enough resources to do provide all of the information a business needs.
Data Based Decision Making should be an organizational goal, as it has been shown to be a major tool for business success. When the Data Team and Business Analysts work collaboratively by using their specialized skills to create and implement a solution, this solution will be successful. The result will be a model which provides the a path for the Business Analyst to continue to use the data to answer either routine questions, such as “How successful was the business last month” to more obscure questions, such as “What happened to sales volumes after a bad story in the press?”. These and many other questions are answered using the model and tools, like Power BI to implement an enterprise wide solution.
There is more to implementing a self-service BI Tool such as Power BI than merely knowing how to make the tool work. A process and a commitment to work among teams is required as well. I enjoyed the opportunity to talk about integrating the tools with the company data management polices at the BA Marathon. If you would like to know more about this topic, please come join me at the PASS Business Analytics Conference in San Jose May 2-4 as I will be going into more depth than was possible in the webinar.
Data aficionado et SQL Raconteur