Making the Impossible Possible with Power BI

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Power BI is making it possible for organizations to analyze data, share data, and obtain insights in ways that were not possible for them previously. As we noted, Power BI is a significant advance because analytics of this type were too complex and expensive for most companies in the past.

Besides affordability, a big part of Power BI’s appeal is the self-serve capability and immediacy with which business users can begin gaining insights. Rather than having to wait weeks for their IT organization to analyze data, users across a company can gain the insights they seek quickly and directly through Power BI.

This was the case with supermarket chain Meijer, one of the largest private U.S. companies. With Power BI, said Joseph Openshaw, Meijer’s IT manager of business intelligence, users can pull in the data they need and can answer their own questions, rather than having to rely on the IT group to perform the analyses.

“No matter where I go, the demand for BI is always greater than the supply,” said Marilyn Richards, director of business intelligence and collaboration at Meijer. “And people don’t always have time to wait for IT to build every report. Plus, they were unable to do on-the-fly, ad hoc analysis easily.”

Eliminating the Middleman

Similar user benefits were gained by business managers at ABB Italy, a subsidiary of manufacturer ABB. Before deployed Power BI, managers had to rely on an IT liaison to the company’s external IT supplier to perform market analyses and generate new reports, a process that could take up to four weeks.

After employing Power BI, ABB Italy marketing managers and business users were able to query internal and external data sets directly. ABB Italy can now generate custom reports in just a few hours.

“Before, you really thought twice about ordering a custom report and sometimes you didn’t do it,” said Alessandra Gilberti, BI manager for ABB Italy. “Now, if you have a question, you can use Power BI to find the answer. There’s no barrier between you and the analysis you want to perform.”

Deeper Digging

Condé Nast also has benefited by giving direct access to Power BI to users across its 20 media brands. Before Power BI, there were a lot of redundant requests and several rounds of questioning before users were able to get the answers they were seeking.

“Power BI is a solution for the ‘second question’ problem we’re increasingly seeing,” said Justin Glatz, director of business and corporate systems at Condé Nast. “Many other BI solutions work well for answering that first question, but it’s almost impossible to follow up. In contrast, Power BI seems designed from the start to quickly answer the chain of questions that arise after the first inquiry.”

A Universal Need

Giving business users in smaller-sized companies direct access to data and the ability to perform analyses quickly and easily is the goal of Enlighten Designs, a systems integrator and app developer in New Zealand. As with the organizations described above, Enlighten Designs CEO Damon Kelly says his customers want to unlock information in such a way that business users can ask questions and get answers themselves instead of waiting for IT to generate a report.

There is a rising demand for business intelligence, said Kelly, because everyone has more data than they have ever had before. “Customers,” said Kelly, “are not just looking to gain insights from their data, but also want to make organizational decisions from it.”

Unlocking 101 New Possibilities

Norway’s Oslo University Hospital also was able to gain analytical capabilities that were not possible before it employed Power BI. The hospital’s previous analytical tools were not able to provide up-to-date information, and analyses often required programming skills that researchers and administrators lacked. It took months to collect and analyze radiological data, which might not be updated for years.

When the hospital implemented a Power BI solution, the data could be collected and analyzed over the course of a few hours and presented to executives and researchers the next morning. In addition to faster analyses, executives were able to make decisions based on the most current information, which previously had been unavailable to them.

“This is a dream,” said Eli Marie Sager, MD, Chief Executive Officer at The Clinic for Diagnostics and Intervention at Oslo University Hospital, explaining how hospital researchers now use Power BI to collaborate with colleagues at the hospital and elsewhere in ways not previously practical or possible.

Power BI dashboards give users filtering and drill-down capabilities, and queries can be made in the form of natural-language searches, eliminating the need for programming skills. “I can envision 101 uses for Power BI here,” said Karl Oyri, research fellow at the hospital’s Intervention Center.

MaxQ Technologies provides state-of-the-art Power BI solutions and incorporates Power BI within advanced business solution suites. Contact us to learn more about Power BI and how your business could benefit from a Power BI solution.

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