Next-Level Power BI
O'Connor says momentum for Power BI keeps growing. "Customers and suppliers with Power BI push companies to get involved, too."
As a result, O'Connor’s company interviews five to seven Power BI job candidates per day. He says the most important people to hire are the business analysts who translate tech speak into business speak and vice versa. Finding that person ignites a Power BI practice.
It's so important that O'Connor cross-trains business analysts to teach classes as Power BI architects. "They're not just trainer trainers, they're data architects." O'Connor's clients use their own data during their training classes, so it often takes some work to get those datasets cleaned up, he adds, but they consider that part of their training project. "We don't do the basic Power BI training."
O'Connor found training to be a surprisingly good Power BI business creation tool, moreover. "It seems counterintuitive, but those customers we trained are now on phases seven, eight, maybe nine,” of expanding the amount of information available through BI. When properly trained, he says, clients spread the Power BI message across the company, and look for other ways to use the program to pull value from their data.
Ghiasi sees the same situation in companies he trains on Power BI. "Their vice presidents know their business, but they don't know how to visualize the data,” he explains. “They quickly see the value of providing information to the team, and Power BI uses auto-refresh to keep data up to date."
The Gift that Keeps on Giving
For EPC Group, continuing Power BI engagements have become the norm. "They call us after finished projects for new work because we know their data, along with their compliance and governance requirements," O'Connor notes.
Another jump in continuing engagements came after he dedicated three people to focus on user interface details for dashboards and reports. "We use the customer's colors and branding," he says, which has led to a big jump in client satisfaction and repeat business.
West has experienced that same stickiness. One of his Power BI clients regularly added service hours to keep a business analyst on-site creating new reports and working with company executives to convert those reports into business insights. "We charged an extra $20k per month for a two-year agreement," he notes, adding that many of his Power BI clients opt for extra time to use his business analysts.
O'Connor has found Power BI engagements lucrative too. His largest Power BI project was for a "well-known shoe manufacturer" moving away from SAP to lower their costs. "We migrated 900 SAP reports to Power BI, saving millions and millions of dollars in development and maintenance costs." It was a multimillion-dollar project for EPC Group.