A Great Lakes-based over-the-counter drug maker employs more than 10,000 people globally. Since 2005, the public company has made more than a dozen major acquisitions, growing net sales to nearly $5 billion in 2018. A shared sense of innovation and vision were key growth drivers, but as the company brought on new businesses, different internal branches each developed or maintained their own processes; evidenced in the company’s use of Power BI.
The dynamic Power BI self-service analytics platform delivers fast, actionable insight to drive business transformation, but the keys to unlocking its rich potential often lie in strategic deployment and governance. A consistent, organized environment frees users to analyze key data, while an inconsistent, disorganized one can impede business progress.
This supplemental healthcare manufacturer’s IT department found itself spending disproportionate time responding to Power BI platform help requests. The bulk of requests centered on working with basic features and navigating organically grown platform disorganization. The IT team wanted to empower users with skills to master the platform and maximize insight. It chose to invest in Power BI, inviting BlueGranite to collaborate in its efforts.
We initially partnered with IT here in a weeks-long discovery engagement to uncover the origin of adoption hurdles. Although Power BI had been in place for a while, it was instituted without adoption standards, leading to uneven adoption, reporting backlog, and redundancies – the same report reproduced in different ways across departments. Other hurdles, including legacy nonstandard configurations of the self-service analytics tool and a series of upgrades within a short period of time, further hindered efficient use and analysis. Further, users and IT had moderate levels of experience in using the platform, but little experience in maintaining it for a large user base.
BlueGranite identified where investment would empower IT, enable users, and optimize value. Our plan championed streamlining configuration, engaging teams enterprise-wide, initiating cross-department collaborative partnerships, and breaking down barriers between business users and IT. The goal was as much of a people engagement as it was a processes engagement – user trust and buy-in were crucial to success.
After the initial discovery engagement, the healthcare manufacturer brought BlueGranite back for a six-month tactical deployment to drive Power BI platform adoption and success.
We first addressed technical hurdles, eliminating legacy issues and empowering IT to maintain operational improvements moving forward. We also developed custom reports, giving IT insight into platform health, and user activity and growth.
BlueGranite simultaneously worked with users and IT to close adoption gaps across departments. While formerly each department used Power BI in the way that seemed best to them, we uncovered common challenges across teams, and helped the teams connect around the best, most flexible use of the system to overcome these challenges. We also identified and worked closely with power users who continue working across departments and teams, furthering collaborative growth.
We then focused on training, delivering hundreds of hours of instruction across more than 40 departments, both in the U.S. and internationally. BlueGranite tailored instruction to the users’ experience and specific role in business data analysis. We also offered one-on-one on-site and virtual laboratory sessions giving users targeted, expert Power BI help for their greatest platform challenges.
Successfully empowering IT to deliver a highly functional, unified business insights platform to users now trained and ready to leverage its full functionality, allowed us to also help IT plan for the future of Power BI; a goal that once seemed far-reaching.
Streamlined Power BI management and adoption across an enterprise can do so much more than build the bottom line – for this manufacturer it’s fostering interdepartmental cooperation to drive corporate alliance and advancement, and engaged team members are gaining a more holistic view of this organization.