The Power of Power BI


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The Power of Power BI

Power BI is a Microsoft software that allows users to make sense of large data sets by displaying data in an intuitive, interactive visual format. It can be used to visualize static data as well as dynamic data that is updating in real time.

Power BI was first used at CRA as a way to organize data for internal operations. It was a test drive to determine if it was a program they wanted to invest time and staff to learn. Clearly, the answer was yes, and we (Ty Harkness and Laney Hayssen) were the staff chosen to work on the inaugural Power BI project. The progress was slow, our report was far too large for what our computers could comfortably handle, and the dashboard was bulky and inefficient, to say the least. But after many iterations and late nights, we developed an efficient effective dashboard. The client loved the final report including its flexibility and the ease of updates. 

Fast forward 12 months later, and CRA has now put together dozens of Power BI reports for their Life Sciences Practice. The projects have ranged from physician segmentations, to market maps, to key behavioral influence databases and everything in between. CRA has sent a few employees to training courses including a three day conference to learn about what is up and coming in Power BI development.

Recently, we created a two-part Tech Lab series to share what we’ve been able to accomplish using Power BI with all of CRA. Over 100 CRA employees attended from different practice areas, and we were able to teach them the basics of Power BI and how they could apply this new tool to their own work. We got an enthusiastic response and lots of new ideas from the Tech Lab attendees. Power BI is on its way to becoming a core software available for all CRA employees and teams from any practice can use this exciting tool for their own internal and client needs.

Overall, we are incredibly excited to see how Charles River Associates has supported the technical growth and initiatives of its employees.