Successful companies continually improve the way in which they envision, manage and execute their internal projects. Companies which execute their projects effectively (on-time and on-budget) have a tremendous advantage in the marketplace – provided they are doing the RIGHT projects.
But. we hear a common pain from many of our clients around reporting and insights – How can we monitor the overall health of our Project Portfolio, without getting mired in Resource constraints and “Eye-Chart” style reporting? Executives need continuous insight into how their portfolio is performing, and to do this they need to calculate the ROI and Health of each project individually and then aggregate. They also frequently need to consider Resource Availability, Schedule Constraints and Costs when assessing the health of any given project.
We have been working with our Project and Portfolio Management clients to help them build dashboards and visualizations of project data managed in Microsoft Project Online. Microsoft Project Online is a Cloud Hosted Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution for Project Management Offices (PMO’s), Project Managers and Project Teams to formally manage ALL of the projects in their portfolio in a disciplined manner. Blum Shapiro’s Project and Portfolio Management practice helps companies improve their Project Management capabilities, often with technology tools such as Microsoft Project Online. You can learn more about our Project and Portfolio Management practice here.
Microsoft Power BI is uniquely suited to the building of these dashboards and visualizations, because it is also a SaaS type of product – which means you don’t need to purchase BI servers or make room in your data center. That would make this into another project! Further, it is designed to connect to, shape and model ALL data you may need, whether this data is On-Premises, in the Microsoft Cloud, or in another Cloud. Finally, it’s really, really EASY to get started.
Power BI comes in two licensing offers: Free and Pro. The Free Edition works well for individuals or departments who want to build personal dashboards for themselves, simply to keep track of or analyze important data for which they are responsible. We’re running workshops throughout the fall called Dashboard in a Day where we help clients connect to cloud datasets (such as Project Online) and build themselves a simple set of reports and dashboards. Truth in advertising: it takes less than a day.
However, collaboration is valuable. Nobody wants to hold status meetings with Senior Management at their desk or even be tied to a projector. Therefore, we recommend that companies with a clear Project Management directive upgrade to the Pro Level ($10/user/month), and the biggest reason is in order to take advantage of Content Packs. A Content Pack is a collection of pre-built Datasets, Reports and Dashboards which can be published and shared across an entire enterprise. As easy as it is to connect and consume data in Power BI, some knowledge of the source systems is extremely helpful. Since not everyone needs to understand how data is stored in Microsoft Project Online, let’s arrange and model the data for our colleagues and direct reports, then share our insights.
Blum Shapiro Consulting offers a Power BI Content Pack which contains pre-built reports and dashboards for Microsoft Project Online. All that is required is for us to change the web address of our data sources from ours to yours, publish the content pack to your Power BI tenant, and your organization will have instant visibility into the project portfolio.
In order to get this instant visibility, users would follow these simple steps:
First, Sign up for Power BI Pro.
Once signed up with an Organizational Account, users will have their own dashboard viewer.
Second, In the lower right hand corner of the application, Click Get Data
Under My Organization, Click Get
Select from one of several Content Packs (in this case, Project Online Customer Immersion Experience) and click Connect
After about 10 seconds, users will have a prebuilt set of Reports and Dashboards to view.
Before we leave, we’ll help you set up an Hourly Refresh Schedule on the data from Project Online. That way, the dashboards you share will always be up to date.
Contact us to learn more about Power BI Content Packs, Microsoft Project Online or our Dashboard in a Day workshops.