A well-known consumer packaged goods (CPG) company specializing in pet food asked Imaginet for a solution to provide more effective data reporting across all factories. They had been using PowerPoint slides to report key production metrics, which led to errors and inconsistencies. These inaccuracies were further compounded by failing to validate the data against the actual sources to address data quality issues.
The factories were also building reports independently, so they were inconsistent with one another, and some were reporting on projects outside their scope of responsibility. There were no established data reporting guidelines to adhere to, which led to arguments and confusion. When the PowerPoint reports were shown at meetings, considerable time was wasted because the numbers were disputed and clarified.
An Effective Data Reporting Solution
The most effective way to eliminate errors was to replace their manual processes that created PowerPoint slides with Power BI. Some developers had already started using Power BI, but they were not following industry best practices and there were no corporate and departmental standards, so an early mandate of this project was to establish clear guidelines and best practices for developers and report authors to follow when building their own reports to ensure consistency in reporting.
How We Created an Effective Data Reporting Solution
Imaginet built a Power BI data model with dashboard visuals using industry best practices to replace the PowerPoint reporting, but also to be a reference example for developers within the department. The Power BI data model extracted data directly from the original sources, such as databases, Excel files, and SharePoint lists. This led to consistent data and a single interpretation of KPIs and measures. The PowerPoint slides were replaced by Power BI reports, and they eliminated the time to prepare PowerPoint for meetings. For each subject, we created a Word document describing the data, its sources, and the business logic used for reporting purposes. On the Power BI reports there was a link to this documentation in SharePoint so that report users could easily see what the numbers meant and how they were calculated.
We used Git for version control of the Power BI artifacts and trained other developers to use this instead of storing the Power BI Desktop files in SharePoint (or not version-controlling them at all). We also created documentation for developers to describe the best practices they should follow when creating their own Power BI models and reports.
What Made This Project Unique
This project was key to establishing best practices for Power BI report development with this client, and significantly reduced the manual processes they had been using, which was also plagued with errors and inconsistencies. The business users’ confidence in the reporting data increased dramatically, preparation times for meetings decreased significantly, and report developers learned how to build reports with best practices, to be more consistent and streamlined.
Effective data reporting is crucial. Automated processes lead to more accurate data, which leads to better business decisions. Having the tools in place to critically analyze data and understand how it relates to your daily operations is invaluable.
Our team has been working hard these last few months, and we are excited to share our success with you. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter to stay updated on our most recent Microsoft 365 projects. Fill out the form at the bottom of the page if you have a specific data solution in mind.
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