Recently a client came to us to see if we could help them automate their RFP distribution system. Currently the client has an employee manually check several websites for RFPs and alert the appropriate business vertical when a relevant RFP is found. The current system requires manual data scraping, meaning the process is slow and results in RFPs being missed. For the proof of concept phase with the client, we decided to build a machine learning model to classify the RFPs correctly and provide a way to automate the routing of the RFPs. The client wanted to break the project into stages so once the initial Proof of Concept was successful, other parts required to automate the whole process would receive the go-ahead.
Microsoft has just introduced dataflows to Power BI service which they see as the next step in the self-service revolution Microsoft began with Excel. Dataflows incorporate the necessary ETL steps and allows other people to access and work with the dataflow. Think of dataflows as power query on steroids with the capability of multiple users to take advantage of a centralized ETL operation on data.
Organizations I have worked with typically find themselves lacking a disaster recovery (DR) plan for an assortment of reasons. They have never had an outage; Disasters are too numerous to plan for; It is too expensive; They have one - it is called backups; Etc.
Technology has evolved to a point where every company, big and small, now has access to affordable and effective disaster recovery solutions. It doesn't take much to protect your organization from extinction due to a disaster. The following are a few things to think about when devising your organization's recovery plan.
Do you have a disaster recovery plan?
If you do, when was the last time you tested your disaster recovery plan?
Are you aware that there are ways to test your disaster recovery plan?
Recently I was leading some Power BI sandbox co-development with a client whose business is based on buying and selling commodities with US and Canadian customers. As we explored ways to solve business problems with Power BI, we encountered a situation where their Canadian customers’ financial transactions are in Canadian dollars (CAD), but the client’s reporting was all in US dollars. The client wanted a dynamic currency conversion calculator built into their reporting to show all financials in US dollars. There wasn’t a dynamic currency table in the client’s SQL server. This was a request that I had not fielded before, but I was confident that Power BI could handle it. Below I outline how we solved this particular challenge in a few simple steps:
Millions of users have adopted Microsoft's widespread business analytics platform and are seeing their businesses transformed. Over the past three years, we’ve learned a few tips on how to optimize your teams Power BI training and deployment. Below are 10 Tips for Power BI Training, that will immediately empower your users.
This week I had a chance to work with a client who wanted to start their journey into Business Continuity Planning using the Azure Site Recovery tool. This was their first-time recovery planning, so they wanted to start with a few non-production machines. They could watch for any performance impacts to the machine and end with a failover test. During the experience, I ran into some issues that I thought would be helpful for others.
An organization I worked with owned a site in New Orleans. Our disaster recovery plan was simple; It required that the General Manager transport the most recent backup tapes to a designated accessible sister site where IT would redeploy the site's data and applications. When Katrina hit, our disaster recovery plan worked flawlessly and we recovered within the prescribed RTO and RPO. However, the 37 employees that used that data to generate revenue for the organization were scattered around the country unable to conduct business leaving our customers with an inferior product. What good is a disaster recovery plan without an associated solid business continuity plan?
What is Common Data Service?
Common Data Service is a cloud-based data storage and management system that standardizes your data across business applications like Dynamics 365, Office 365, mobile apps, and Power BI.
Your data is stored in standard (or customized) entities, similar to how a table stores data in database. If you use Common Data Service, your suite of business applications feed data predictably to these entities, allowing simple data sharing, data mining, and business intelligence.
This dashboard probably looks very familiar to you. You might have five or six dashboards you’re watching for ebbs and flows, spikes and surges. Maybe you have a very advanced process that involves downloading data into Excel and mashing different channels together. But that doesn’t sound very advanced, does it? Manual data entry? Staring at four online dashboards, commenting on "this one is up, or this is down"? There’s nothing advanced here. It doesn’t tell you how people responded, how their interactions lead to anything. Do you let your marketing data impact future creative decisions? If it's not producing marketing intelligence, your marketing data is completely useless.