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From Newbies to Global Hackathon Winners – Power BI Brings User Skill Levels and Confidence Full Circle!

Headshot of article author Kelly Kaye

The Power BI User Group (PowerBIUG) sat down with Montreal Power BI User Group members and winners of the Power BI User Group global hackathon, Team Hydro-Québec to learn more about them, what inspired their winning solution, and why being engaged with their local user group is so important.

Meet the members of Team Hydro-Québec:

Team Hydro-Québec picture
Team Hydro-Québec: Francis Quenneville, France Cano, Maxime Tremblay, and William Martin

Congratulations again to the Power BI User Group Global Hackathon Champs!
Team Hydro-Québec BIXI-Montréal Dashboard
Montreal Power BI User Group

 PowerBIUG: What was the inspiration for your team’s Power BI solution?

William: First, who doesn’t like a challenge and having fun? We also had the benefit of measuring ourselves with people that I think where possibly more experience with Power BI than us. In another point of view, when you run in a race, you want to race with people that might be the equivalent or better than you, that way you get to push yourself and get more skilled in your doings.

Maxime: The project was about a self-service bike company, Bixi, who shared some data about the utilization of the system. We also used open data from Montreal and Quebec to complement the information. Open data was the inspiration because it allows anyone to make sense of it with tools like Power BI.

PowerBIUG: What has been most rewarding about your participation in the hackathon? What has been most challenging? 

William: The most rewarding was to pull off getting a team together even if most of them where a bit stressed about the possible outcome. Being part of this hackathon was a good way to win confidence in our team and in ourselves. The time frame was definitely one of the most challenging parts.

Maxime: Seeing the potential with open data, and winning of course, was the reward. As for the challenge, mostly technical, we didn’t really test the setup with the same version or WIFI problems.

PowerBIUG: Please tell us about your background, prior experience with Power BI, and level of involvement with the local Power BI User Group.

William: I started out as a .NET programmer, had the chance to migrate as a database administrator and got a lot into BI, Cubes and Tabular Models and SSRS. When I started my new work for Hydro, the first thing after interviewing me, my then future boss asked me about Power BI. At that time, I was a bit of a rookie in this environment. I knew a lot about dashboards, but in a different concept. Power BI had really sparked my interest and is was at that point that everything had begun.

Maxime: I was once an accountant, but I had the opportunity to join an IT service at Hydro-Quebec. In the last few years, we started a project with SSAS and I discovered the world of BI. We met Sophie Marchand, one of the administrators of the local Power BI User Group, when she came for a training. She showed the potential of the “Power” suite with Office, PowerPivot, Power Query, Power BI. And then, we saw it…Power BI. It was interesting enough that I installed it at home to play with it. Even managed to make a little something with the Bitcoin blockchain. When it became more popular at work, I then started to go to some of the local User Group sessions with a few colleagues.

PowerBIUG: What is it about the user group community that excites you? 

 William: It is all about people helping other people, and that is awesome. It’s also a great networking opportunity. We feel in a way connected to one another in having the same interests and trying to find ways to improve it and taking it to another level.

Maxime: Exchanging with colleagues and others about projects and getting hints about how to best use the product.

PowerBIUG: To you, why is community important and being involved in your local Power BI User Group?

 William: Well it’s like a big family where the word ”data” is the center of everything. It’s being able to exchange on how we are seeing it and how it could help our coworkers in their everyday tasks and needs. The community is a win-win way to help and get help.

Maxime: It gives you examples from a local perspective, meeting people that you end up seeing elsewhere – it’s a small world! 😊

The global hackathon provided our worldwide Power BI User Group community with a fun and competitive opportunity to use Power BI to entertain, educate, and inspire people and facilitate positive change through the data stories that are visualized. Starting with local competitions, this team was selected as the top team in their local Power BI User Group hackathon challenge. Learn more about this team of users and get connected with local users in your area!