Business Intelligence

Have you ever wondered where the billions of bytes of information generated daily by companies and users are stored and what are they used for? Welcome to the information age.

The data handled by companies is critical and confidential. That is why we must know what possibilities we have, and which one best suit our needs. Broadly speaking, there are two ways of storing data: the traditional option, using a local data center through a set of servers owned by the company, which is managed and controlled in a private way. And on the other hand, we have cloud computing, also known as cloud services, this allows the user to access all kinds of resources with only one condition, having an internet connection.

But is the information useful if we can’t process it, shape, it and connect it? At Alfa Consulting, especially in the Digital Execution area, we have been adding value to our clients for more than 25 years through different digital solutions.

Today, there are many Business Intelligence tools on the market and each of them is used according to the needs of the client in question, but two of them stand out above the rest. Power BI and Power Apps, both developed by Microsoft.

On one hand, we have Power BI, which allows the user to connect, analyze and visualize their business data by providing relevant information that is not available at a glance. Thus, decision-making is more agile and simple, since all sources of information are concentrated in a single place, the scorecard. The information is presented visually, it is interactive, and the data can be updated in real time.

Furthermore, this powerful tool can connect to hundreds of different databases simultaneously. From SAP or Microsoft’s SSAS to online platforms such as SharePoint, Salesforce, Google Analytics, among others.

The final deliverable are very intuitive dashboards that use interactive graphics to add an additional layer of information, while giving you the option to filter the data suiting consumer’s preferences.

For example, one of our clients from Portugal working in the Oil & Gas industry, with multiple refineries and more than 50 workers/specialists per factory, needed to optimize its operational management system and improve its operations control. In this case, it was deemed appropriate to collect all the data to create a dashboard with indicators that would alert of deviations, number of emergencies, delayed work orders, among others.

In different case, a client with a notable presence in the renewable energy sector decided to launch a macro-project at a global level, to lead the smart grids market. Hence, it needed to have a control center to monitor the evolution and progress of the main branches in the project. By connecting databases from different parts of the world, it was possible to control in real time the progress of each project branch, identifying overdue tasks as well as the next milestones and deliverables.

The final deliverable, in this case, is an application that offer us complete business logic and workflow capabilities to transform manual business operations in digital and automated processes. Additionally, applications created with Power Apps have a dynamic design and can run smoothly in a browser or mobile devices, both in phones and tablets. Power Apps “democratizes” the custom business application creation experience by enabling users to create feature-rich custom business applications without writing code.

For example, a customer in the oil sector with hundreds of service stations spread across Spain, decided to improve its execution time, optimize the preventive maintenance, avoid rework, and increase operations control, by creating a database with all its service stations, collecting millions of data from each team in each station to later structure an action plan.

We proposed to build an application to carry out this task, with the objective to structure the information collected in an organized way, parametrize the data, minimize human errors and define what type of information should be collected by the operators. This was the result:

In essence, with these tools you can connect different databases at the same time and create any type of solution for your business.