Case Study

Cognos to Power BI Conversation

The Challenge

Software licenses are often a non-trivial investment. And, one that is so very often an ongoing cost. We have many clients who wish to look for cheaper alternatives. Those alternatives are often to be found within the Microsoft Suite itself, and as a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, SoHo was the first choice for a large bank committed to making savings.

SoHo often works with clients who are concerned about:

  • Limited business functionality from existing software
  • Poor user experience (UX) resulting in underutilized tools
  • Increasing support costs for legacy applications

SoHo was approached by a large bank with an Office 365 (O365) license, already paid for.

SoHo’s client was paying for both Cognos and QlikView to accommodate their business intelligence (BI) requirements. With clients committed to digital transformation, it is not uncommon for SoHo to identify areas where the Microsoft Suite is underutilized due to additional tooling being purchased. This has significant financial implications, as such toolsets are already included as part of their O365 license.

The Solution

Microsoft’s Power BI offers a more modern and user-friendly interface and setup than our client’s original reporting tools. With user-driven business intelligence and conversational analytics, Power BI allowed SoHo to quickly customize and configure the reports.
Key to forcing data to provide actionable information is cleaning, selecting, and transforming the data. SoHo implemented various steps to prepare the client’s dataset for use.

A dataset is a single set of data created as a result of taking data from multiple data sources. Such datasets are typically used for Automated Machine Learning (Auto ML) or to create visualizations of different kinds. SoHo utilized datasets taken from single sources such as an internal Excel workbook and from more than one internal and external data sources.

By filtering the datasets, SoHo created smaller subsets containing only the important data and contextual relevance. This data was then used as the basis of visualizations. Visualizations, i.e., the graphical representation of data, play a central role in Power BI. Power BI offers a wide range of detailed and attractive visualizations.

SoHo recreated the existing Cognos and QlikView reports and dashboards. By working with the analytics team, SoHo applied both simple and complex visualizations to drive ongoing reporting. Over 300 reports were decommissioned, with 600 reports transitioned to run from with Power BI.

The Outcome

As a result of the project, our client has further broken down data silos and is empowered by single view-point analyses of data from multiple functions across the business. They are enjoying a better ROI thanks to the reduced licensing fee costs. Microsoft’s Power BI has a far more user-friendly payment model than some reporting platforms that actually charge per report.

SoHo’s client is now in command of a robust and agile business analysis tool with excellent internal adoption rates. As with so many tech projects, once the users got to grips with the tool, scope creep loomed, and SoHo stepped carefully away to ensure that the internal team retained ownership of the reporting system. With subsequent DAX training, the userbase became highly agile in its capabilities.

SoHo’s client now has a reporting tool that:

  • Is set up to provide over 600 customized reports
  • Implements Power automate (to schedule tasks)
  • Provides a library to develop custom visualizations
  • Power BI Simplifies the Data Pipeline
  • Power BI Simplifies Report Setup

Power BI Simplifies Reporting Setup

Power BI uses flexible tiles to organize reports. A tile is a single block containing a visualization in a Power BI dashboard. Tiles segregate each informative visualization to provide a clearer view. These tiles can be adjusted, and their size can be changed. Also, they can be placed anywhere on the dashboard at the users’ convenience.

Power BI Simplifies the Data Pipeline

The Get Data feature lets Power BI users select from a range of data sources. The data sources are anywhere in the spectrum from on-premise to cloud-based, unstructured to structured. As a popular cloud-based solution, new data sources are added every month.






PowerBI Reporting

Our Role

  • Implement an Agile methodology
  • Take holistic view
  • Analysis of 900 reports from various business domains

Project Success

  • Control the silos of data
  • Provide better security
  • All report onto Power BI
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