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How Rockwell Automation Drives a Data Culture 

Headshot of article author Lauren Faber

For 115 years, Rockwell Automation has been a market leader in industrial automation and information with a strong culture of innovation, integrity, and corporate responsibility. To ensure Rockwell Automation continues to be a market leader and to better serve its customers, it established a Business Intelligence Center of Excellence (BI CoE) to provide meaningful insights through high quality data and information.

The BI CoE seeks to master data management, self-service analytics, and improve BI throughout the organization. Rockwell Automation made significant investments and created the right opportunities to upgrade team skills to help adapt to modern-day data management, analytics, AI/machine learning technologies, and best practices.

Rockwell Automation chose Power BI as its BI software of choice due to its self-service and enterprise capabilities and market-leading visualizations. Paired with Azure and Power Apps, the BI CoE motivates employees to look at data first, and then expand individual perspectives to uncover information and build out critical solutions through informed decision-making. Power BI helps consumers take their local and domain-specific subject matter knowledge and rapidly transform them into key drivers for business change.

Building a Power BI User Community

To democratize BI and empower all to become data analysts, Mike Bitter and Chris Wagner, Enterprise Architects within the BI CoE created an internal Power BI user community on Yammer to get a better understanding of the community’s skills and needs.

Wagner determined that knowledge of Power BI in Rockwell Automation could be enhanced. He polled the user community and developed presentations for monthly Power BI user group meetings. Wagner started posting to the user group’s Yammer channel daily with helpful information and answers to questions from users. Recognizing that his team could not be on call to assist users whenever the need arose, Wagner introduced the concept of Power Hours, a weekly two-hour session where users can meet with members of his team and each other to work through questions and challenges.

The first time they hosted Power Hours, more than 400 people signed up for the event within 24 hours of the announcement, confirming the need and appetite of the Power BI user community.

Using Power BI template apps, the Wagner’s team teaches Rockwell Automation employees how to create sample reports. Users can learn about topics such as page interaction and visual guidelines, and can copy and use any of the elements of the app. The apps also include reports to look up content owners and Power BI Pro users.

Looking Forward

By developing a Power BI and PaaS Azure solution, Rockwell Automation changed the culture of its company to deliver agile and data-driven solutions. By working closely with the user community, the BI CoE team now understands consumer needs and can develop solutions and provide information that help employees accomplish their goals. Rockwell Automation will soon be enabling Power BI dataflows which will enhance its ability to develop content through self-service data preparation.

Read the case study for more on the Rockwell Automation business intelligence center of excellence.