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Power BI Governance Practices and Strategies

Posted by Aaron Kaiser on Apr, 01, 2019 03:04

Power BI Governance: A Quick Background

By Aaron Kaiser

Governance is the business practice that defines and manages strategies for people, processes and technologies to ensure that valuable data assets are formally protected and managed throughout your business.

Your IT team leverages governance and change management strategies with updates to the data sources and target systems and implements new practices with the goal of accelerating sustainable long-term user adoption. Power BI makes this possible by giving these rules and processes a place to reside, while living along-side your data and reporting services.

Users looking for newer sources for data discovery and analytics don’t want to have to wait for new data to be incorporated into the existing data warehouse. Cloud-based data sources are becoming much more popular because users need access to a wider variety of data. However, most of the time these sources are not governed properly and not consistent. Businesses will need to take a hard look at their current BI governance strategies and ensure they are properly prepared to scale their business intelligence needs.

Data Sources, Governance and Power BI

An integral piece to a successful BI user adoption strategy can be greatly enhanced by governed easy to use data sources. One of the first things you are going to want to do is properly assess your data scenario and how it relates to Power BI. It is imperative to understand if the data Power BI consumes includes external data that is not currently maintained. This also includes cleansed data that has been inventoried by your IT team. To improve on innovation and data exploration initiatives you going to need to improve your data quality, accuracy and reliability.

Understanding your source data access is paramount when properly deploying the Power BI roles and responsibilities. In the next section we discuss the distinction between an ‘IT-led Self-Service BI’ mode or a ‘Do-it-yourself BI’ mode.

The decisions your make regarding this key topic will ultimately determine the long-term self-service BI success in your organization.

Training & Support

Once you have a Power BI report in place and it has been running in an automated fashion and providing value to your business, you are going to want to expand on this success in terms of reach and infrastructure. This is a crucial phase in which your Power BI “Power User” must take the lead regarding users so they fully adopt the scope and vision of your new data-driven culture.

Do-it-yourself BI: Let’s say you have a user that is creating large PDF reports for a client and based on the risk calculations they want to be enabled. This will encourage future discussions on the data rather than turning over a static report every month and assist in streamlining as well as improving the overall process. Proper Power BI training and ensuring end-user adoption is absolutely key to any Power BI effort!

IT-led Self-Service BI:

A user in a department has a report that was not specifically helpful to answer his questions. The report just doesn’t assist him in making the educated decisions required with the right actionable intelligence. This user was not able to edit the report or modify it to meet his needs. He was required to collaborate with IT and their Power BI exerts to massage the data and the visualizations to answer his specific questions. IT was required to make the changes needed to make the report valuable and usable for him to make the required decisions needed for the business.

Vision for Governed Deployment

Disseminate Power BI knowledge to your internal community of users and support their efforts. This can typically be done through some of the following methods:

  • Sharing of knowledge: Power Users can share knowledge through multiple techniques such as:
    • Internal and external user groups
    • Lunch & learn sessions
    • Knowledge-base sessions
    • FAQ sessions
    • How-To videos
    • Teams
    • E-mail distribution
  • Power BI Center of Excellence: Aggregate & categorize internal practices for streamlining your reporting and define a vehicle for sharing these reports with fellow team members. This can be done through an intranet site.
  • Power BI training: Training for Power BI report architects and data modelers, as well as for Power BI report users and consumers.

Learn more about EPC Group’s Power BI Governance Strategies and how we can assist your organization in “doing Power BI right the first time.”