Power BI offers many advanced functions for data analytics. It is very helpful wherever there is a need to organize many data and present them in the form of transparent reports. And our customers do not have to be an expert to use it. This is a huge advantage in comparison to the standard analysis made in Excel.
Predica built a companywide analytical reporting tool that anyone in the company, where was it implemented, can use without extensive training. It’s very intuitive and allows to build very advanced visualizations.
One of our customers, large manufacturers of pharmaceuticals in Poland, wanted to know which marketing actions are the most effective. Their distribution network covers the markets of Central and Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. With a long history on the market, they are a trusted partner for patients, healthcare professionals and business associates.
Conducting marketing activities on the regulated pharmaceutical market is a challenge, yet nobody can avoid it in a highly competitive environment. In this case a lot of parameters and data had to be analyzed, so easy to use tool was mostly desired.
Project goals were:
• Sales and marketing predictive analytics, i.e. a what-if analysis that shows how different marketing activities impact sales and revenue in the short and long term.
• Recommendations on how to allocate the marketing budget and how to optimize the media plan (the way the company is cooperating with media agencies), taking into account seasonality and other factors.
• Use of external and unstructured data to understand how factors such as weather or pollen (allergen) conditions impact sales and thus should impact marketing activities.
Predica designed and developed a fully extensible platform based on Azure Machine Learning and some on-premises components, such as SQL Server Integration Services and SQL Server Master Data Services that allow our client to gather, manage and improve their internal and external data, and apply advanced analytics. We used Power BI to visualize the data to business users.
Some of the solution’s key features that allowed our client to meet the project goals included:
• Automated data loading process with tools for business users to manage master data.
• Marketing campaigns based on recommendations and what-if analysis.
• More accurate sales and revenue forecast.
Every organization is made by people. People who interact with each other – over morning coffee, in meetings during the day and at casual catch-ups in the workplace.
Nowadays, this communication also happens in electronic form, through e-mail, phone, instant messaging or social media. This form of interaction gives us a great opportunity to analyze the data and pick up additional insights.
Our customer has implemented Yammer as a social network within their organization. Once it was put in place, the questions started to rise. How are people using it? Who is the most active user on a given topic? Who is the focal point of conversations on this network?
All data is there in the form of users communicating on a platform, however, what was missing was an easy way to consume data from these interactions. The good news for us and our customer was that there are APIs and ways to consume it through the cloud.
The goal was to build a solution that provides insights into the company’s social network interactions.
Yammer provides a Rest API which allows us to consume its content and get all the messages and interactions from its channels. To achieve our goal, we had to find a way to:
• Ingest this data into some common database.
• Analyze this data based on assumed metrics.
• Present it to business users in an easy way.
The Azure cloud seems to be the best tool for a job. Solutions don’t have to be complicated and always created in complex, customized ways. Instead, even elaboration applications are built on top of platform components and enhanced with some additional code and extensions. We can construct these solutions on top of platform services. The key is that there is no need for servers – it’s just platform services and our code.
Here, we have used the following elements of the platform:
• Azure Functions: a serverless code execution piece of Azure. It allows us to execute code for data ingress in an easy and efficient way. Its purpose is to import data from data sources into the common storage
• Azure Storage: an intermediate data store for files and data which is later processed
• Logic App: the KEY element of the solution. Logic Apps implement data ingress and processing logic, and then orchestrate the entire flow.
• Azure Cognitive Services / Text analytics: used to detect the sentiment of the messages on Yammer
• Azure SQL Database: provides final storage and data warehouse where we store the information gathered from Yammer. It also takes part in data processing with stored procedures
• Power BI: offers an easy to use and navigate the presentation layer.
In the solution there is the crucial component of it –Azure Logic App
Azure Logic App is an integration platform which allows you to build complex integration workflows between different data sources and platforms with additional logic added to them. We have built a flow we’ve built to analyze the sentiment of the messages posted on Yammer using Azure Cognitive Services.
Getting data is one thing but getting the right insight and providing it at the right time for users – that is a completely different task. Even the best data is not so useful if there is no way to analyze it easily. We understand this business need, and we have the tool to address it – Power BI. Using Power BI, we are providing easy to consume and navigate dashboards presenting data gathered from Yammer.
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