Webinar: Business Intelligence Solutions: Using Data Analytics to Improve Operations


Highlights from the July 20, 2022, webinar hosted by Corey Shaner, HBK Director of Business Intelligence, and Amy Reynallt, MBA, Senior Manager, HBK Manufacturing Solutions.

Business Intelligence is a new service offering at HBK designed to help businesses understand the value of leveraging data to drive decision-making and improve performance. Recognizing the value of connecting tables of data, businesses can create a dashboard using a tool called Power BI that allows business to spend time spotting and acting on trends in their businesses rather than analyzing data.

“What gets measured gets managed.” – Peter Drucker

As an organization matures, there is a need for more information, but it may not exist because it wasn’t measured. There is an opportunity to put in place a way to capture data points that will allow you to measure a process or person better.

Our lives are becoming increasingly connected by the devices we use for work and leisure each day. If data can be harnessed and packaged appropriately, we can deliver the information we need to enhance the performance of our organization.

By 2025 the world will create 181 zettabytes of data annually, so much data it would require seven Empire State buildings full of servers to capture it all.

Business Intelligence helps organizations analyze historical and current data so they can quickly uncover insights for making strategic decisions. Business intelligence tools make that possible by processing large data sets across multiple sources and presenting the findings in visual formats easy to understand and share.

Start the process of implementing business intelligence tools by understanding the wants and needs of key stakeholders in order to complete a Business Requirement Document as the roadmap for the project. The completed document will include identification of the software program needed to complete the process. Once the software vendors have amassed the data and granted access, the developers will create APIs that extract the client’s data from the vendor’s database, which can then be transformed if needed and loaded into a data warehouse where BI tools can be used to display the performance metrics. The warehouse can be hosted on a client-owned server or in a cloud-based environment, most commonly a SQL warehouse.

In the warehouse we’ll see multiple tables of data. Each table has a primary key structure, which allow us to connect tables and pull previously unrelated information together. The discovered relationships should be documented in a catalog that acts as the playbook for developers and helps keep projects on track in case of employee turnover.

The dashboard and reports provide real-time insights into the performance of the business, real-time analytics that highlight opportunities and potential problems as they occur so decision makers can make data-driven decisions faster, including creating predictive models that can be used for budgeting and forecasting.

Two platforms for dashboards and reports are Power BI and Tableau. They allow the used to consume the information and make data-driven decisions in real time.

Power BI: Power BI is the preferred application, for one, because it allows integration seamlessly with other Microsoft products. Features includes:

  • Power Apps for application development
  • Power Automate for process automation based on triggers
  • Power Virtual Agent: an AI-based tool that connects consumers with staff by recognizing keywords

Power BI is extremely efficient in the way it stores and displays large amounts of data. Dashboards are completely customizable, including changing formats to accommodate whatever level you are targeting or benchmarking.

The process produces reports that can be saved in a variety of ways, including producing an app, a preferred way to get information to the user. The reports could generate questions about employees or processes. Whatever the case is, there’s a way to measure it and eliminate future problems. Power BI can be used to measure any kind of information, financial or operational, for which data exists.

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