Why I love my job: Quick Start engagements

One of the best parts of my job as a Business Intelligence consultant is what happens when I get a new customer. Often our first engagement with a customer that is challenged by their BI or reporting capability is a PowerBI Quick Start. This is typically a two-week intensive engagement where an Imaginet consultant (like me) embeds themselves into a team in the organization and helps the customer determine what their needs are, where they would like to be, and to discover a path to get there.

Whenever I am involved in a Quick Start, I get to learn about a new company and how it works, and meeting new people and observing how their teams function. When a team or an organization has a “can do” culture, there is really a lot you can accomplish in two weeks. 

Sometimes a new customer already has a good idea of what they want to do for a proof of concept project, and sometimes they really don’t know, or they have too many ideas and don’t know where to start. In these cases, I usually ask for some preparation by them before our initial Quick Start kickoff.

I like to know before the kickoff,

  1. who the team members will be for this effort
  2. what their roles/responsibilities are (that are pertinent to the BI space)

This helps me think about how my previous experiences can apply to a new organization and understand the make up of the team.

Then I want them to come to the kickoff with ideas:

  1. What would be the easiest thing for us to do for BI?
  2. What is the hardest or most time-consuming thing you do now (related to BI or reporting)
  3. What is something you really would like to be able to do that you can’t do now?

If they are keeners, they might even be able to consolidate these ideas before the kickoff and talk amongst themselves about the priorities. Otherwise, the first thing we need to do as a team is decide on the priorities and agree on the scope of things we will do in the Quick Start.

The other homework I ask for

  1. What kind of data to you generate and/or use now, and where is it stored?
  2. How do you do your current reporting?
  3. What other (perhaps “unofficial”) data sources do you rely on (like Excel spreadsheets)?

(By the way, I’ve come to believe that there are two types of customers – those that have unofficial data sources, and those that think they don’t.)

There is usually legwork needed within the organization to get me access to that data and get me connected to the right people.

The final thing I ask of a new customer is for them to dream about the possibilities. 

What challenges does your organization have with reporting or BI today? Do you feel like you don’t know where to start? Or that there are things you just can do right now? Talk to us at Imaginet and we can help you with a PowerBI QuickStart engagement to get you pointed in the right direction, and provide you with a roadmap to where you want to get to.

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