When a major health insurance provider decided to augment its existing business intelligence and analytics capabilities, leaders knew they faced challenges. While in-house analysts were comfortable using traditional on-premises analysis tools (IBM Cognos and SAS), the health insurer needed a versatile option; one that could empower everyone in the business with relevant data, while generating user excitement and buy-in.
After a thorough evaluation, the corporation chose Power BI Premium for its cloud-scale capacity, interactive visualizations, and ease of use. As the company prepared to formally deploy the business intelligence ecosystem, a few hundred eager employees across several departments began using Power BI Desktop on their own.
Power BI Desktop enables individual users to collect, transform, and visualize data. Enterprise-class Premium offers a host of formidable, expanded capabilities, both to the business – including governance of data access and consumption, row-level collaboration, and performance scale – and to users – including easy collaboration and sharing of rich reports, whether peer-to-peer or through Power BI Apps.
While user acceptance and adoption is crucial to the success of any new technology, any solution and subsequent rollout must be built on a foundation of clear rules, roles, and responsibilities to maximize its benefits. The unanticipated, grassroots employee adoption of Power BI Desktop was untenable. It put enterprise-wide deployment hopes in a precarious position, risking overall adoption, and creating the possibility the organization might miss out on taking full advantage of the platform’s capabilities.
This fragmented employee Power BI Desktop use, along with their building and sharing of Power BI Desktop files, reinforced the need for comprehensive deployment and a good governance framework: better monitoring, structure, and security through more centralized distribution using the Power BI service.
Using our Catalyst for Modern BI framework, BlueGranite worked with the health insurance provider to develop a customized and wide-ranging deployment approach. We provided guidance navigating possible deployment approaches, architecture choices, workspace design, security, and more. We also collaborated to introduce Power BI Premium, solidifying methods to more easily and securely distribute and re-use large and complex models in the cloud, rather than through opening Power BI Desktop files.
Dedicated capacity with Premium unlocked the ability to design a governance and deployment plan that better aligned Power BI to organizational expectations.
Deploying workspaces with Premium also helped lift some of the IT security team’s initial concerns about moving data to the cloud. Elements such as shared and certified datasets alongside auditing and monitoring procedures allowed the company to better manage PHI (protected health information) and PII (personally identifiable information) in the cloud.
Using multiple elements of our Catalyst for Modern BI, BlueGranite helped design a:
We also assisted with several QuickStart projects, alongside organizational staff, to help prove Power BI’s potential to achieve intended results across different use cases. Through QuickStarts, BlueGranite elevated the enterprise’s capabilities to extend best practices in data modeling, report development, and deployment.
Through training and exposure to BlueGranite’s methodologies, we empowered developers to bring these practices to more and more of the grassroots users. Some of the modeling, reporting, and training use cases included:
With the help of BlueGranite, the company achieved a coordinated, efficient Power BI deployment plan. Completion of the various QuickStarts gave the health insurance provider confidence in Power BI and allowed the company to expand deployment into other areas of the business.
The engagement enabled the company to: