Developing a culture of analytics is not an easy endeavor, with no one-size-fits-all roadmap. There are an incredible number of cultural factors surrounding the people, processes, and technology which affect user adoption and overall success. In the whitepaper, we propose three ways to approach delivery of business intelligence solutions:
These three delivery approaches do not require an exclusive either/or decision. Multiple approaches can be successfully employed simultaneously in the same organization, even within the same functional area, based on the level of business user involvement and control. Gartner frequently refers to a variation of this as Bimodal BI.
However, a key departure from Bimodal BI is that we define two forms of Self-Service BI in the above chart. Frequently we hear the term ‘Managed Self-Service BI’ to denote what we are terming ‘IT-Managed Self-Service BI.’ From client engagements, we have observed Self-Service BI taking place in radically different ways. Therefore, we have opted to make the distinction between ‘Business-Led’ and ‘IT-Managed’ with respect to Self-Service BI. This distinction hinges entirely upon who owns and supports the data layer and semantic layer. For instance, as soon as a business user combines a non-governed data source (ex: industry data or demographics data) with ‘sanctioned’ internal data, we consider the solution to fall under ‘Business-Led Self-Service BI.’ Categorizing a solution as led by the business (as opposed to owned by IT), has implications in defining service level agreements (SLAs), integration points with existing processes, and opportunities for extensibility.
The second half of the whitepaper focuses on the tactical deployment options offered by Power BI (whereas the first half emphasizes strategy). There are numerous ways to implement Power BI based on your organization’s business and technology objectives. Though early releases of Power BI placed it squarely in the realm of small self-service BI projects, Power BI has since evolved to become capable of playing a part in delivery of corporate BI solutions as well. Utilizing a tool like Power BI does require making some key decisions, which are discussed throughout the second half of the whitepaper.
Though it is evolving at an unprecedented pace, Power BI is still a young tool. As such, system capabilities to govern and manage Power BI are still maturing. In this whitepaper, we offer suggestions for tracking system usage, security, performance, and data sources with respect to governance. Practical suggestions regarding features available as of April 1, 2016 are included when possible in the whitepaper. We believe that governance activities can, and should, be conducted not just by IT but also by business units who own solutions which fall under ‘Business-Led Self-Service BI.’
The whitepaper concludes with a sample roadmap which provides an outline of what tasks are involved, as well as whom is responsible, for each phase of delivery. Note that the phases of delivery, for each deployment mode, correlates to the phases introduced in Section 2.
We hope you enjoy the whitepaper, available for download from the Power BI documentation site, and find the ideas useful for your organization. At BlueGranite we are well-versed with how all of the Microsoft BI reporting tools can be used to deliver value and solve problems. Please contact us if we can help you with your BI and analytics solutions.
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