To say that Power BI has been a game-changer for HR consulting firm APTMetrics may be an understatement, according to CFO Marty Kelly.
Kelly credits Power BI with not only improving his company’s performance, but with making his job and those of his co-workers an order of magnitude easier and more efficient.
APTMetrics’ primary business is assessment-centered talent management solutions. Kelly says Power BI has yielded benefits across all areas of the business, including finance, marketing, sales, and operations, allowing for the consolidation of information across multiple disciplines. The scope of Power BI’s potential uses is limitless, he said.
Kelly took advantage of MaxQ’s Power BI expertise to implement a solution that matched his business needs and made it easy for his team to access data from multiple sources, view and manipulate the data, generate reports, and perform an unlimited range of analyses.
Although Power BI was deployed initially for managing accounting in the financial department, Kelly said the solution’s flexibility has provided a host of unexpected benefits.
For instance, Kelly said he now can take snapshots of the consulting business via Power BI and know much earlier in the month how well the company is doing. By monitoring and managing the project allocation of the company’s 40 consultants, he can make adjustments that improve business outcomes, something he could not do in the past.
Using Power BI, Kelly said, he can view up-to-the-minute information as the consultants input their time and project data into the shared system. “If I know a week-and-a-half into a four-week month that I am falling short,” he explained, “I can call the consulting officer and get people more billable hours.
More Effective Financial Management
Power BI also has enabled Kelly to manage the company’s financials in new and more effective ways. “I use Power BI for in-depth financial analysis, database management and querying, and to create graphical presentations in support of the company’s business model,” he explained.
Power BI is extremely fast and flexible, said Kelly, enabling him to access and analyze data and respond to business issues faster than in the past. It also enables him to delve into financial data to pull up sophisticated financial extracts and generate reports from multiple databases with relative ease.
“I can slice the data in unlimited ways to meet the needs and requests for analytics,” he said, “and I don’t have to distribute reports because people can access shared Power BI reports.”
Power BI also has made forecasting more accurate and reliable, Kelly said, as well as easier to perform. “With ten days of information, I’ll nail the forecast for the month,” he explained. “What used to take four hours, I can now do in ten minutes.”
A Wealth of BI Benefits
Besides better financial management and forecasting, Kelly said Power BI makes it easy to create and monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) for marketing, sales, and the company’s financials. Power BI also enables him to analyze detailed project lines of business and to better understand the company’s customers in terms of revenues and profitability.
In addition, Kelly said he uses Power BI to generate “Flash” reports covering key aspects of the company’s revenue stream—consulting hours, assessments delivered, and how many tests were administered on the IT platform side.
Power BI enables him to nest multiple layers of data, which consultants and other teams can then expand, collapse, button, unbutton, and drill down into.
Everyone in the Power BI Pool
Initially used only by Kelly and his financial staff, the use of Power BI is quickly expanding to support the entire company, including three businesses (consulting, assessment practice, and IT platform for high-volume testing), business partners, the APTMetrics sales staff, and the executive team.
Power BI plays a huge role in the annual financial plan, Kelly said, enabling him to manage the yearly results of the business more effectively. After budgeting and forecasting for the full year, he can refine the plan in real time as the year progresses. “I can see how sales activity is turning into business,” he explained, “and I can more easily compare actual financial data with the full-year plan.”
Kelly also uses Power BI to calculate sales incentives, prepare supplemental financial information for the company’s CPA, and support pipeline activities. “With Power BI I can see whether we are back on a sales cycle and if there is too much quiet time. If we haven’t heard from a customer in a while, it’s time to contact them.”
Accessing data to generate reports has become easier with Power BI, Kelly said, eliminating the need to compile data in Excel and run reports from Microsoft Dynamics. “I used to have to drag a Crystal report into a database or do a direct query from the Dynamics tables and mine those. Power BI is much faster and more efficient.”
Installation a Breeze
Kelly also had praise for the ease with which he and his team could begin using Power BI, and for the MaxQ team who installed and configured the Power BI solution. Once the MaxQ team understood APTMetric’s requirements, he said, they were able to write the formulas, connect the data sources, and have Kelly and his team up and running in two days.
“For setup, we needed help from the folks at MaxQ,” said Kelly. “But once it was set up, we haven’t needed much help afterwards, just an hour of consulting support from time to time.”
Only the Beginning
After one year of using Power BI, Kelly says his company is just getting started. “We addressed key business needs first, but we haven’t come anywhere close to tapping Power BI’s capabilities.”
A big benefit has come from requiring less people to do the work, said Kelly. “If I didn’t’ have these tools, I’d have a million people doing all these tasks. With Power BI, I need less professionals to get the work done, and the work is more efficient and accurate.”
Has Power BI exceeded his expectations? “Absolutely,” said Kelly. “The cost is low and the value for the money is amazing. Every day we see new ways to use the tool. It keeps giving more value.”
Has it made the business more profitable? “Yes. More forward looking, efficient, and profitable.”
“I’m a big fan,” said Kelly. “I have yet to see a downside to it.”
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.