In this PowerBI deployment whitepaper excerpt, we discuss how deploying PowerBI at scale presents a range of issues. Much of it comes from how an organisation grows. Setting the time aside to address the nascent issues is not important in a business’s early life, nor is the impact of them apparent enough to make them worth addressing. For less experienced executives there are the pitfalls of not even knowing there are issues building up. Often gaps can be patched with a bit of human ingenuity, effort – and of course – Excel. In our view there are four key issues that converge to lead to common mistakes and wasted costs.
First is access. Working with data is often viewed to be something best left to specialists, propeller head techies or the “number crunchers” in finance. Workers are left data illiterate and dependent on someone else to do the work – and thinking – for them. Scary, weeks long self-study technical courses reinforce this idea. What is usually needed is content and training targeted to the audience. An executive may just need 5 minutes of focused education on a dashboard pertinent to them, and only the analyst will need the weeks long course.
Second is quality. Systems have improved significantly in their ability to filter their front-end input so that the correct types of data are captured, but still users find a way to enter data in the wrong place, format or not at all if it doesn’t help them complete their task. More challenging in modern environments is the array of systems involved that simply don’t relate to each other at scale. A frontline worker may remember all the different codes that relate to a given customer or product, but a bulk data analysis system does not and is unable to relate them. Good data quality is recognised in the literature as one of the key factors in ensuring a successful implementation alongside governance of that quality.
Third is discoverability. Even in only moderately complex organisations data is used, reused & recycled with next to no traceability. This leads to duplicated effort, inconsistent definitions, that then drives contention within the business as people disagree over what is the right way or measuring progress. Access is also often siloed, with line of business or system owners being protective over what they see as their data, wary of how others may interpret it.
Last is governance – a polite way of saying ownership and management of data. People in the organisation need to care for, manage and nurture their data – KPMG state that “Data is now the most significant asset many organizations possess” – and as such needs to be cared for – but like all intangible things it is easily forgotten about. Businesses that are prepared to put a value on that asset are few and far between, and most often only realise its value when a core system experiences an outage.
This is an excerpt from our Enterprise PowerBI Whitepaper – please follow the link to read all the content – it’s free & there’s no sign up required.
Need help after reading this piece of our PowerBI Deployment Whitepaper? At Talos we have defined our PEBBLE Enterprise PowerBI Methodology to help organisations drive success in deploying PowerBI as a complete self service analytics platform. If you are struggling with any of the challenges discussed above, we might be able to help. Please get in touch if you’d like to have a discussion.