By Nimisha Kumari
Cloud Product Management
In the summer of 2017, I joined the Arrow Cloud Services team as a product management intern. One of my first tasks was to research and identify a BI platform that could move my team to the next level in analytics maturity and scale.
My challenge was to find a tool that met the following requirements:
- Deliver a low-cost, collaborative solution that is easy to use
- Provide the capability to be deployed globally
- Offer seamless integration with different data sources and model reports that can be published across our teams
- Reduce manual swivel-chairing of data, eliminating the effort and need to produce static PowerPoint files
- Produce detailed insights across our teams
Ultimately, the new tool needed to transform our cloud business and yield bigger efficiencies.
And the Winner is… Microsoft Power BI
After much exploration, Microsoft Power BI was selected for the Arrow Cloud team’s analytics and visualization needs. Power BI is Microsoft’s suite of business analytics tools that enables data-driven culture and delivers powerful insights.
Power BI can connect to multiple types of data sources, simplify data prep and drive ad hoc analyses. It also produces beautiful reports that can be published on the web and across mobile devices. In fact, everyone can create personalized dashboards with a unique, 360-degree view of their business. Power BI is also tightly integrated with natural language Q&A and power maps that display information, such as building types, geographic locations and energy consumption.
How Does Power BI Work?
The Power BI Desktop and Power BI Service (cloud) work cohesively to obtain data from multiple sources and generate reports that can be shared in PowerPoint or as an interactive dashboard for collaboration. Power BI offers a myriad of powerful functionalities and benefits, including:
- Increases efficiency, because it is easy use and there is no need for formal training
- Generates reports directly from Google Analytics, Social Media Analytics (Facebook, Twitter, SQL and other databases) for predictive analysis and forecasting
- Monitors real-time data from multiple sources and drills down to identify issues when necessary
- Uses mobile apps for real-time alerts to make operations more efficient and agile, resulting in quicker response times
- Allows easy sharing of dashboards for quick and meaningful discussions and decision-making
- Provides a unified campaign dashboard, as well as a collaborative site where the account team can ask questions and instantly receive answers in chart and graph form to share with the team and clients
- Enables employees to better understand program data, resulting in better justification of program expenses, data-driven program management and community engagement
How Arrow Uses Power BI
Being a cloud analytics platform and service, Power BI was deployed for the Arrow Cloud team and quickly became a one-stop shop for our analysts to use as a collaborative self-service business intelligence tool. As a result, we can now:
- Consolidate siloed data assets from multiple platforms, including Smartsheet, Jira, Salesforce, Excel files, Oracle Database, etc.
- Capitalize on the self-service reporting and visualization capabilities of Power BI, which delivers reports and insights in minutes instead of hours
- Ensure data governance, data quality and security through Azure Active Directory authentication features
- Measure, monitor and proactively track key performance indicators, including conversion rate, web traffic, program effectiveness, etc.
- Create dashboards and reports for the sales teams that predict revenue generated by product type, IDC vertical market, timeline and customer insights
If you are interested in helping your customers be more productive and efficient in today’s data-driven culture, please contact Arrow representative today. Ask them to tell you more about Microsoft Power BI and how it can improve their analytics needs.
Last modified: April 9, 2019