As the first stage of the process, the discovery stage is really about us getting to know your business, and what your reporting needs are. Typically, this will involve a short meeting to cover:
- What your business does on a day-to-day basis & the key information that drives decisions
- What current reporting (if any) you have in place
- The requirements of your project
At this point, we'll also discuss your current dataset credentials to ensure that Power BI is capable of producing up-to-date reports from the data your company has available. Once we've defined the purpose of the reports in terms of what they're being developed to achieve, we'll move onto the Design phase.
Now that the general project overview is complete, it's time to delve into the details of the project, and plan out the steps needed to produce a fantastic end product. Whilst the discovery phase is about determining the result we're looking to deliver (e.g. a cost reduction or an income expansion), the design phase is concerned with how we're going to deliver this. We'll consider where your data currently sits to ensure that we employ the optimal connection method to it, and begin considering the data manipulation steps we'll need to take to transfrom the data into a workable format. This way, if there's a way to output your data that'll increase the efficiency of the project we can employ this from the off, rather than at the development stage when it'll cost valuable time. By the end of the design phase, we'll have a carefully constructed plan of action to follow that'll ensure the efficiency and success of the project. Once this plan is complete, we'll move onto the Development phase.
The development stage is where the project really begins to take shape, as the ideas generated in the first two stages are put into practise. This is typically the longest stage of a reporting project, since it involves undertaking the required data manipulation steps as well as the production of visualisations in Power BI. The key to this stage is communication, so we're often in contact with our clients whilst developing reports to clarify any questions that weren't answered during the discovery & design stages. By doing this, we can make sure that the 'first version' of the report requested is as accurate as possible.
Once the initial report development is complete, we'll show our clients the report produced and give them the opportunity to give feedback, and request any additions to the report that they might now desire. For this reason, projects often progress through design & development a number of times since changes to the project requirements are inevitable as it progresses. After all relevant feedback has been actioned and a final product is agreed on, it's time to address the delivery of the reports.
There are a large number of different ways to deliver Power BI reports, and the suitability of each method depends mainly on the permission requirements of your organisation. Our most commonly used delivery method is through embedding content into a dedicated SharePoint reporting site, however it's also possible to deliver reports in programmes like Microsoft Teams, through generated public links, or directly through Power BI. During the Delivery stage we'll take account of the number of users you require and their usage needs, as well as the privacy requirements of your data, to determine the optimal delivery method. We'll then get the report(s) up and running and set up an automatic daily refresh to keep your data as up to date as possible. Once this is complete, the report(s) will be ready to go live.
Once the reports are live, the maintenance stage is ongoing and consists of HG Technology fixing any issues that arise with the report(s). Some typical issues that arise in the maintenance stage are issues with dataset refreshing, as well as compatability issues with visualisations across months, quarters and years. During the Development phase we'll automate as much as possible to ensure that data is presented in a consistent way as time goes on, however there are inevitably some aspects of reports (such as report sliders) which have to be manually changed at points in the year- for example at the beginning of a new month, or financial year. We'll review the reports at reular intervals during the maintenance stage, making sure that data is presented in the optimal format at all times.