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Do you remember the last time you received an Excel file from a colleague who wanted to share an analysis they had done with you? Have you ever tried to count how many unique Excel files your organization has in total? Excel is a widespread and commonly used tool in the Office 365 suite, and for good reason. However, an organization can quickly lose control over the number of files, the location of the latest version, the data sources, and ownership of the files.

Like Excel, Power BI is a self-service tool that allows you to analyze data. To avoid an overflow of reports and dashboards, clear guidelines and roles for using the tool should be defined. This will also help ensure that there is a single source of truth.
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What does governance of reporting tools entail?

When acquiring and implementing a reporting solution, the organization should define processes to govern and manage the solution and the insights produced throughout its lifecycle. While reporting solutions are often meant to be self-service, it is also desirable for users to feel that they have the necessary knowledge and support to use the solution securely and productively. From a technical perspective, it is essential to ensure that the performance meets expectations, and the costs do not exceed what is necessary.

Governance of reporting solutions provides formal guidelines and can serve as a framework for how the solution should be used in your organization. The goal is to ensure good user adoption of the solution through clear roles and responsibilities, the availability of the solution and insights, data access security, and solution capabilities, reliability, consistency, and user-friendliness with underlying processes. These points are presented in more detail below.

1. Roles and Responsibilities
  • Define the necessary roles the organization needs during the deployment, usage, and management of the reporting solution. Access and responsibilities for each role should also be clearly defined.

  • Determine which phases and parts of the solution each role should have access to. Some roles may only require read access to insights, while others may need access to create and share insights.

2. Accessibility and Security
  • Plan the number of users who will be using the solution. This will influence the costs and the appropriate licensing model to choose, as well as the responsibilities of the various roles.

  • Define the requirements for users of the solution. Should all users be able to create their own reports, or should different user groups have varying levels of access? Consider whether skill requirements or training should be necessary.

  • Specify who should have access to the various data and datasets set up for the reporting solution. Additionally, plan for sufficient training related to security for end-users.

3. Reliability
  • Plan the flow of data throughout its lifecycle and the role the reporting solution will play in this process.

  • Ensure that information about existing reports, dashboards, and the data sources used is readily available.

  • Provide information and materials explaining how data is processed, transformed, and presented. This will increase the likelihood that users trust the information and insights they receive.

4. Consistency and User-friendliness
  • Establish a common practice for report documentation, distribution, naming standards, and version control.

  • Develop a standardized design template for official reports. This will help end-users quickly recognize official reports and instill trust in the insights provided.

  • Produce documentation and materials for report developers to enhance their understanding of available data, usage of definitions, and data handling requirements.

5. Monitoring and Surveillance
  • Measure and ensure that the reports made available are actively being used in the organization. This helps ensure that solutions are adopted and utilized effectively.

  • Seek feedback from users about the reports and ensure that the available information meets their insight needs. The users of the solution are the best judges of this.

What can you do to get started?

If your organization does not have a reporting solution today, a natural starting point is to assess the current situation and define what you want to achieve with a reporting solution. Identify the desires and needs your organization has for insights.

Create a clear plan on how your organization intends to make more data-driven decisions and determine who requires the insights the reporting solution can provide.

If you already have a solution, I recommend revisiting the goals set during the acquisition of the solution. Have the intended audience made use of the insights as desired? If not, take a step back and ensure that you have a clear plan and a robust governance framework that aligns with your needs and objectives

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Contact Nina Risung - to learn more about what is required before, during, and after implementation to ensure effective governance of reporting solutions in your organization.


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