Four Best Practices to get the most out of your SSBI/Power BI Implementation

“Practice makes perfect” is a saying I have heard since I was young.  What Mom never told me was that if I practice the wrong things, I may become perfectly wrong!

Although I have learned some things the wrong way, there are many things that have helped me to learn and practice things the right way.  Here are four things you can practice to get the most out of your Power BI implementation.

  1. Create a central repository for all Power BI content. There are two things that I despise.  One is doing the same work over and over again.  The second is not being able to figure out where to go to get the information that I need.  Creating a central repository ensures that your data models, reports, and dashboards are easy to access.  You will ensure that reports are created with consistent managed data.  You will be able to enforce governance policies.  Finally, you will be able to maintain a secure environment for your data. Power BI repositories can be created as shared network drives, SharePoint Libraries, or even group OneDrive locations.
  2. Provide proper training to empower users. Untrained data model designers and report writers are practicing what they know.  In many cases, users are cobbling together information from blog articles, YouTube videos, and co-workers forming their working knowledge of Power BI.  This form of self-training often leaves large gaps in their knowledge that can be very costly to your organization.  One of the best things you can do to ensure the success of everyone using Power BI is to provide the best training possible as early as possible in your Power BI implementation.  This will ensure that your team members start practicing the right way of doing things from the beginning.
  3. Plan data models that are user friendly and easy to maintain. I have learned over 16 years of training that human nature is to simply find the first way of doing something and then use that method over and over again.  Generally, the first way we do something may not be the best way.  When generating data models, it is incredibly important that you plan for easy to understand field names and that you provide useful and meaningful measures.  This may take a lot of effort in the first few data models that are created.  As you create data models you need to keep an open dialog with the users to ensure that you are providing the data they need.  As you learn the needs of the report writers you will become much better at anticipating and meeting their needs.
  4. Create reporting solutions that are intuitive, flexible, and easy to use. No one likes a boring or inaccurate report.  Creating great reports is an art form.  It takes time to master not only Power BI tools but also understanding your audience well enough to create the reports they really need.  The best way to create great reports is to start by understanding what problem, fact, or event the report is trying to analyze.  You must also understand the audience for the report.  You need to consider what their predispositions are, what they already know or don’t know about the report analysis, and what they expect to get from the report.  Finally, you must understand the scope of data that will be needed to provide meaningful results.  Once you have all of these pieces gathered you will be ready to create a great report.

If you find these tips helpful and want to learn more, join our SSBI/Power BI expert for a one day planning class and create a plan and deliver great results for your BI reporting and your company’s long term outlook.

Register for the One Day SSBI/Power BI Planning Workshop on May 30th in Bellevue, WA.


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