Case Study

Fortune 500 Financial Institution Powers Up Its Reporting With phData + Power BI

The Customer’s Challenge

A Fortune 500 financial institution (with over 2 million customers) faced the same challenge many companies face in 2022: turning traditional, manual reporting into an automated and optimized reporting process using modern BI tools. With an eye for the future, they wanted to not only transition to Microsoft Power BI and Snowflake, but also build a data-centered culture within the company.

phData’s Solution

phData partnered with the client team to transition their existing reporting workflow to Power BI and set up their new Snowflake environment to support the new, automated reporting process. With the capacity in place, our Consultant then focused on building capability: they trained developers and end users on the new platforms, laying the foundation for an internal Center of Excellence with templates, SOPs, and channels for sharing information. 

The Full Story

Business Intelligence (BI) capabilities have shifted dramatically in the past decade. With the introduction of tools like Power BI and Snowflake, companies can now pull reports on demand and set up dashboards for continuous tracking.

Today, companies have the opportunity to invest in both the data platforms and the data engineering expertise needed to reach that ideal state. 

Our customer was no exception. Traditionally, reporting within the customer organization was highly manual. Team leads pulled data into CSVs, ran analysis within Excel spreadsheets, and shared their findings with SharePoint files and PowerPoint decks. 

They knew they needed to move both their data engineering and reporting to the cloud, but they didn’t yet have the internal capacity (or capability) to make the change on their own. The customer needed a vendor who could help migrate their reporting process to Power BI (using Snowflake’s Data Cloud as a foundation). But they also needed a partner who could train their developers, financial analysts, and end-users on how to get the most out of these new tools. 

With those needs in mind, phdata engaged the client in a two-prong approach: development to build capacity and training to build capability. 

Why phData?

The customer chose phData because of our expertise in transitioning clients from one BI tool to another. Our partnership with Power BI, specifically, stood out. We’ve helped our customers turn unrelated sources of data into coherent, visually immersive, and interactive business insights. 

Our Data Coach curriculum also offers pragmatic training that exceeds other Power BI courses. combination of our training expertise from Data Coach and the technical expertise of our Power BI development team made it a perfect fit.

Building Capacity: The Shift to Power BI and Snowflake 

phData began by working with the financial reporting team to identify the financial reports they would need to pull on a consistent basis. With a list of the insights that would need to be front and center within Power BI, we developed the appropriate data visualizations and dashboards within the new platform.

At the same time, phData helped the data engineering team transition to the right tables and views within Snowflake. We mapped this directly to the reporting needs within Power BI so that the new Snowflake environment would be set up to accurately display data held within Snowflake on the Power BI dashboards and visualizations.

Throughout this execution, phData bridged the gap between the customer’s IT team (which owned their Snowflake instance) and individual business units (which owned Power BI). We worked to translate what each team needed, why they needed it, and how the requests would impact the reporting process. 

Building Capability: One-on-One Training and the Center of Excellence 

Instead of taking a “do it for you” approach, phData engaged the customer at every turn. The goal was to not just get them set up with the tool, but to also upskill analysts, developers and end users across the organization, driving adoption as the end result. 

phData’s consultant team accomplish this in a few different ways:

  • While developing dashboards and data visualizations, phData developers met regularly with the customer’s teams to walk them through blockers and answer their Power BI questions. They used “lightbulb moments” during screenshares, 1:1s and training sessions to further personalize the engagement. 
  • In training sessions, phData’s consultants leaned on our Data Coach curriculum to help the customer create a data-fluent workplace capable of producing stunning data visualizations, interactive dashboards, and actionable analytics.
  • phData set up the foundations for a Center of Excellence, aimed at fostering data literacy across the organization. We created templates, SOP documentation, and a Microsoft Teams channel for sharing information and seeking assistance on Power BI issues. 

Taken altogether, these efforts not only set the customer up with Power BI reporting (powered by Snowflake data), but also scaled their internal analytics capabilities. 

Results

By the end of the engagement, the customer had a fully implemented Power BI instance designed to make business and financial reporting a much simpler, repeatable and scalable process for the organization. They now have a roadmap for migrating their existing, manual data workflows to Snowflake, shifting the focus from maintenance to fully scaling out their BI reporting and analytics.

Taken altogether, this investment in training improved retention at the company. The project increased retention by helping employees become more valuable to not only their teams, but to the company at large. This helped not just the company, but it helped employees challenge themselves in their current roles.

Better yet, the customer now has a team of Power BI developers that have learned the ins and outs of the platform by developing alongside phData consultants and participating in the individual training sessions offered by phData. 

The company can now act on business intelligence faster. Report development time was slashed by 35%, and report fail rate decreased by 25%, which enabled developers to create three new net reports during our engagement. Reports that had taken a week to update now take an hour; reports that had taken a few weeks to develop now take days.

They now have both the tools and the expertise to make better business decisions based on BI analytics and reporting.

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