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Power BI in Action

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Power BI offers a package of great features and capabilities—mobile BI, natural language queries, interactive dashboards, easy-to-share content packs, and awesome visualization tools. But how does that translate to value in the real world. Here are a couple of examples of Power BI in action across the planet.

Making a difference in the lives of children

Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Fort Worth, Texas provides enriching programs for more than 11,000 youth from disadvantaged backgrounds, helping them develop qualities to become responsible citizens.
Like any organization, Boys & Girls Clubs wanted to know how well its programs were succeeding. To track program performance, they collect data on measures such as participant attendance, school performance, and healthy behaviors. Although Boys & Girls Clubs gathered a lot of information, and reported the figures in monthly PDF documents, it had no single comprehensive and actionable view of data that provided insights into the impact of its programs on individual children.
CEO Daphne Stigliano put it this way: “Being able to analyze patterns of participation is extremely important for us to be able to predict how well these kids will do in the future, and whether or not our programs are working.”
Microsoft partner MAX451 developed a solution based on the Microsoft Azure platform and Power BI. The result was transforming.
Now Boys & Girls Clubs can analyze the progress of each child and gain insight into what actions or interventions would be most beneficial. They can correlate academic achievement and participation by location, enabling staff to better predict the outcomes of their program on individual children.
More significantly, the Power BI solution enables staff to ask questions that would have been difficult to answer previously, and analyze and share insights readily. And this helps Boys & Girls Clubs gain deeper understanding about whether, as Stigliano says, “we’re making the kind of difference we want to make in the life of a child.”

Growing tourism Down Under

Tourism is big business in Australia. In 2013 and 2014, overnight tourists spent over $83B, generating more than 11,000 jobs.
But Tourism Australia has even more ambitious goals. It wants to grow tourist spend to as much as $140B by 2020. And it’s turning to Power BI to make this happen.
With nearly 300 staff and a global partner network of PR, digital, and creative agencies, Tourism Australia generates huge amounts of data. Yet all of this analytics information was sequestered in 200 spreadsheets and documents. Tourism Australia wanted to centralize this data so that its mobile and global teams could access and share a single source of information to collaborate efficiently.
Tourism Australia teamed up with Microsoft partner BizData to develop a BI solution using Microsoft technologies. By combining Power BI with HDInsight, the solution serves up mobile analytics to Tourism Australia staff, enabling them to capture, analyze, and share critical business data in real time. The system also gathers government data and real-time data from social media, such as Twitter and Facebook. The results—deeper insights and more informed decision making.
It’s paying off in a big way. Marketing, finance, and management executives can now create dashboards, access them on mobile devices, and gain real-time insights into the performance of multiple campaigns. As Dave Rumsey, Tourism Australia CIO, puts it: “We knew if we could create a level of transparency using the Microsoft Power BI dashboards, we could completely transform the way we were making decisions.  And we have — the discussions and questions that the various business units are asking about their data are on a much different level than they were just a couple of years ago.”
Power BI is helping Tourism Australia realize big dollars from big data. In just a few months, Tourism Australia saw a 20 percent growth in overnight tourist expenditures. “We’ve seen recent growth of more than 8 percent in international arrivals,” says Tourism Australia CFO John Mackenney. “We are now better equipped to market Australia to the world.”
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