Easy Ways to Unlock Hours in Your Day with Microsoft Power BI

When we think Power BI, most of us think of big number-crunching reports for production planning or inventory optimization packed with charts and pivot tables.  

One reason that Power BI is so good at building these types of reports is its connectivity.  It has the ability to combine data from hundreds of different data sources, organize it, cross reference it and visualize it.

All of which also makes it a great tool for a different use case – daily or weekly checks. It’s not your typical number-heavy report. However, there are fantastic and fast productivity gains to be made in terms of time saved and reduced mental load.

Let’s look at how a “quick check” Power BI report could help three different types of employees:

The Team Leader

You are a Team Leader that’s short on time. Part of your Monday morning standard work is checking that your team are on top of various housekeeping tasks.  This data is stored in a mix of sources including databases, Excel and email. Create a Power BI report to check fast:

  1. Are all team timesheets updated
  2. Has an email with a summary of last week’s activities been received from each team member
  3. Are all training tasks completed
  4. Has any team member submitted a holiday requests
  5. Has any team member on holidays this week
  6. Has any team member given or received any awards

The Project Manager

You’re a Project Manager who carries out regular checks that project members are keeping on top of entering their tasks into the project software. The project software provides some standard reports but the standard reports don’t include some specific items that you want to check. You also want the ability to cross reference project entries with employee timecard data. Create a report to check:

  1. Do hours entered exceed timecard data
  2. Are descriptions too short
  3. Are estimated or completed times not set
  4. Has data been updated in last 24 hours

The Award Scheme Process Administrator

In the third version of this use case, you are an admin for a process that collates data in Excel for a weekly report. Ten functional heads enter data which is then used to generate a management report.  As the data is saved in Excel, there’s limited data validation and users can forget to enter data or can enter data incorrectly. You can create a report to check:

  1. Has every functional head updated their data in the last 48 hours
  2. Has data been entered correctly.
  3. Is there missing data
  4. Have all the data entries a corresponding entry in a lookup table e.g list of Departments

How To Create Your Quick Check Report

  1. Identify what you want to check and create a table for each check.  Power Query is a very handy way to build these tables.  A how-to guide for three common checks is included below – find unmatched data, duplicate data, null or zero data.
  2. Then create a diagnostics tab in your report and add a table visual for every table in the tab.
  3. The actual check is simple for diagnostic tables  – if everything has been entered correctly, the table will be empty.  An empty page is a good page!

Extra Time Save Alerts

If you want to save even more time, you’ve the option to setup an alert in Power BI service if any check fails. If it does, you receive an email and can check what’s missing. Otherwise, you’ve saved an hour.

Report Building Tips

Find Unmatched Data

If your report involves joining two tables, you may need to check that you have a matching record in both tables.  Select Transform Data > Transform Data to open Power Query.

Once in Power Query, select Merge Queries As New to create a new table.

Then choose the tables and a left or right anti join.

Find Duplicate Data

Create a new table by referencing your source data table. Remember you need to use the table before you’ve removed duplicates.

Select the columns that should be unique and Keep Rows > Keep Duplicates

Filter out bad values

Click on the column and filter out nulls or zeros.

Get In Contact

The Dataworks Managed Services offer a range of services to take some of the load off your employees.  These include implementing projects like the Quick Check report to achieve productivity gains, supporting employees as they build skills in these areas or full outsourcing of tasks. 

If you want to learn more about Microsoft Power BI and how we can engage with you to get started on your journey contact us today on 051 878 555.

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