Save Time and Better Visualize Your Data

If you are like me, reports are boring. Like it or not, I don’t have a long enough attention span to dig into the details of text based reports. I want a quick snapshot of how we are performing so I can quickly zero in on trends or problem areas.

Key Metrics

The key metrics important to our business are:

  • Customer Satisfaction Survey Results: No surprise here if you have read anything I’ve ever written or spent more than about 5 minutes with me.
  • Effective Rate by Employee: Since most of our work is fixed fee or under contract, it’s important for us to keep a close eye on our effective rate by team member.
  • Utilization Rate by Employee: As a services business, our time is our product. Utilization is a measure that we use to determine how much of a team member’s time is spent helping customers vs. administrative time. We shoot for an 80% utilization rate internally.

I used to gather this data in three separate reports that were cobbled together on a fairly complex spreadsheet. It wasn’t real time and, frankly, it was a pain to put together.

Power BI

About 6 months ago, we moved all of our reporting to a new(ish) product from Microsoft called PowerBI. PowerBI is part of Microsoft’s Office 365 suite. Recently, Microsoft changed the pricing model to make this solution available to most SMBs.

With PowerBI our data sources are connected to the Cloud. You can connect Excel spreadsheets, SQL databases, Google Analytics, GitHub, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and others. All of our data is kept in a SQL server database – so connecting it up was easy. Each night, at midnight, our data syncs up with the PowerBI servers, making the data available to me across any device. There are mobile apps for Phone, iPad, Android, and Windows Phone, meaning I can checking reports even when I'm not at my computer.

Here are a few screenshots (from a PC):

All up Dashboard:

PowerBI Dashboard
Drill Thru on Customer Satisfaction, with red/yellow/green lights:
PowerBI Dashboard


Switching our reporting to PowerBI has saved significant time and energy and made it much easier to pinpoint problem areas. If you are interested in more information on how we can help you bring your data to life, feel free to reach out to me.

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