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The Power of Power BI – a revolution for data driven PPM

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Why do organisations implement Project and Portfolio Management systems?

Invariably a key objective is gaining control and visibility of the project portfolio. We want to gather project information efficiently and turn it into insights to be shared with stakeholders promptly.

Project Online is a great tool to rapidly implement a highly personalised project database and adopt a consistent process framework. It’s the combination with Power BI that raises this solution to another level.

What is Power BI? This is how Microsoft explains it:

“Power BI is a suite of business analytics tools that deliver insights throughout your organization. Connect to hundreds of data sources, simplify data prep, and drive ad hoc analysis. Produce beautiful reports, then publish them for your organization to consume on the web and across mobile devices. Everyone can create personalized dashboards with a unique, 360-degree view of their business. And scale across the enterprise, with governance and security built-in.”

As a cloud service within Office 365 it is instantly available and connects easily to Project Online’s data sources (such as Projects, Resources, Tasks, Assignments, Risks, Issues, Timesheets and many more). Report authors use the Power BI Desktop tool to build reports and publish them to the Power BI Cloud Service – here charts and data visuals can be combined into top level dashboards and shared with others. Users can reuse published data models to create their own reports and dashboards on the fly.

What’s so great about all this?

It works instantly – as a cloud service it spins up when you need it.

It can combine data sources from multiple applications – so you can connect to your accounting system to retrieve financials to combine with Project Online data. It can access your on-premise database by way of a gateway which is easily set up. Or how about bringing in Excel data for ultimate flexibility – easy!

It is powerful – while it is easy to use say Project Online’s standard data sources, expert BI developers can use the built in PowerQuery for complex data extracts and transformations. The resulting data model, once published to end users, will hide this complexity and let others reuse the data easily to create their own reports.

It is easy to share –  share with colleagues, external parties, embed into SharePoint or publish to the web, bundle reports into content packs, export to Excel or PowerPoint.

It is great value – to share a dashboard or view a shared one, users will need a Power BI Pro license, which comes at a cost (and there are other license models which we won’t cover here). However, if you consider the cost of traditional BI and data warehousing platforms then Power BI is amazing value.

People love it – whoever we talk to, everyone is excited about this tool. It looks beautiful and more and more organisations are selecting Power BI as their strategic BI platform.

The benefits for your project organisation are significant: Quite simply, this is the icing on the PPM solution cake. Power BI dashboards will help you measure adoption, identify projects in trouble, share project success, measure trends, and give you the insights to drive compliance and process maturity. They allow you to demonstrate the value of data to others, thus driving buy-in of those who need to supply it. Not to mention all the time saved that used to be spent manually creating and sharing reports.

Want to find out more? Please join our webinar on Thursday June 29 (or pick a later date as it will be repeated). We will be showing Power BI in action and build a dashboard in front of your very eyes.

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