Power BI Implementation: Access Plus case study
Migration and implementation of Microsoft Power BI for a UK based construction company
Access Plus is an ISO 9001:2008 certified organization & IPAF Rental+ certified company specializing in delivering specialist solutions in powered access equipment rental throughout the UK.
Delays in decision-making and data inconsistencies were the major challenge.
In the construction industry, tracking and analyzing data from various sources, such as project schedules, cost estimates, resource allocation, vehicle tracking, diver vehicle ratio, contracts and equipment utilization, was challenging for Access Plus. They heavily relied on manual processes, spreadsheets and a third-party application, which took time, leading to delays and data inconsistencies. Most importantly, running intra-day reports posed a major challenge. Access Plus sought a platform with robust reporting capabilities to streamline all the financial processes, enhance data accuracy, and improve overall analysis and reporting capabilities.
Implementing Microsoft Power BI as a centralized data analytics platform.
In the 1st phase of the project, our team from Evolvous and Access Plus analyzed and discovered their existing system and identified the pain points. We suggested implementing Power BI as a centralized data analytics platform to provide them with intuitive data visualization and interactive reporting for data-driven decision-making. The essential steps in the development process were as follows:
- Analysis and Discovery: Sitting with the key stakeholders from the Access Plus team, we identified their reporting and data analysis needs. We also tried to identify the types of reports they wanted to generate, the sources of those data, and the frequency of the report generation. Through multiple discovery calls, interviews and workshops, we took a deep dive to understand their specific metrics, KPIs, and business questions.
- Data Modeling: We collaborated with the IT team to define the data models and identify the key data entities and relationships required to manage the data effectively.
- Data Integration: After identifying the existing data sources, which included project schedules, resource allocation, contracts, invoices and other financial records, they were integrated into the SQL server database, acting as the central data repository. Data connectors were established to extract, load and transform data from various sources within 30 minutes of intervals.
- Data Visualization: Using Power BI’s intuitive interface, we created visually appealing and interactive dashboards that provided a holistic view of their projects—customized visuals showcased metrics such as project progress, budget utilization, resource allocation, and driver efficiency.
- Report Automation: To streamline reporting processes, we designed automated reports using Power BI’s scheduling and data refresh capabilities every 30 minutes, ensuring intra-day reporting for relevant stakeholders.
- Testing and Deployment: The application underwent rigorous testing before deployment to ensure data accuracy, functionality, and security. Once clearing all the tests, the application was finally deployed for internal usage.
- User Training and Adoption: With comprehensive training on using Power BI effectively, we tried to familiarize the users at Access Plus with the platform’s features, allowing them to leverage the power of data analytics effectively.
Interactive dashboards for real-time insights steered the overall efficiency.
Implementing Power BI yielded significant results and benefits for Access Plus. Some of the key outcomes were:
- Streamlined business processes and reporting: The application automated several processes – tasks such as expense tracking, budget management, driver-vehicle ratio and invoice processing were streamlined, saving time and eliminating errors which increased overall efficiency. With automated report generation and scheduling, Access Plus stopped most of the manual effort and reduced reporting turnaround time. Accurate and up-to-date reports were readily available to the stakeholders at Access Plus, improving transparency and communication.
- Real-time Project Insights: The team gained real-time access to data through the application. The interactive dashboards provided real-time insights into project progress, resource allocation, budget utilization, and driver efficiency, allowing project managers to identify bottlenecks for quicker decision-making and enhanced analysis.
- Centralized Data Analytics Platform: Power BI served as a centralized data analytics platform, enabling the Access Plus team to consolidate and analyze data from multiple sources in a single location.
- Enhanced Project Management: Access Plus improved project management processes by leveraging Microsoft Power BI. They could proactively identify potential risks, monitor project performance, and optimize resource allocation, ultimately improving project outcomes and profitability.
Leveraging Power BI’s capabilities as a business intelligence solution empowered the team at Access Plus to track, analyze, and visualize its data effectively. They gained actionable insights on an everyday basis for better project management, data-driven decision-making, and improved profitability by centralizing data analytics and streamlining reporting processes. Power BI was pivotal in transforming the company’s data into a strategic asset, enabling them to stay ahead in the competitive construction industry.