From Insight to Action: ClearPoint & Power BI

You don’t have to choose between ClearPoint and Power BI, and you probably shouldn’t
From Insight to Action: ClearPoint & Power BI
You don’t have to choose between ClearPoint and Power BI, and you probably shouldn’t

“Should I use ClearPoint or Power BI?” We hear this question a lot. Since both applications deal with measures, the tools’ distinct purposes are easily confused.

Often, an organization’s strategy department wants ClearPoint, while the IT department wants Power BI (or Tableau, Qlik, Domo, or another big-data application). The good news is that you don’t have to choose between ClearPoint and PowerBI, and you probably shouldn’t. Let’s quickly review what each tool is designed to do.

ClearPoint is perfect for integrating qualitative and quantitative data from across the organization – regardless of its source. Within ClearPoint, you can easily create summary views, add qualitative analysis, and generate reports that combine data that is automatically sourced or manually entered into the system.

When combined with qualitative information from across the organization, your leadership team can make strategic business decisions in context. It’s the ultimate reporting solution, designed to automate your management and reporting process so you can focus on executing and making decisions.

PowerBI, by contrast, is a powerful data analytics tool that allows users to visualize and learn from big data. Power BI is great for taking transactional data (from a thousand entries to millions of entries) and helping you to draw insights from this data.

Many times, you don’t even need to know what you’re looking for to start the process. You can gain insights across different types of transactional data as well as GIS information.

What PowerBI cannot do is easily accept ad-hoc data sources, manual data entry, or easily capture and present analysis and recommendations. It’s great for drill down, but not as great at placing data in context.

So how do these tools complement each other as part of the management process?

To put it into context, let’s check in on Mary from Metropolis. Mary is tracking Metropolis’ strategic plan in ClearPoint to help the city better serve its citizens. One measure she is tracking is the number of contract bids to local businesses, which has been below target for several years in a row. At her next staff meeting, Mary would like to suggest an initiative aimed at improving this metric in the year to come.

But first, she needs more information. Mary decides she wants to dive deeper into the data on businesses that have been awarded contracts to see if there’s anything she can learn that might help these local businesses succeed going forward. She queries the transactional data on awarded bids in PowerBI, hoping to find the answer.

Using PowerBI’s key influencers tool to analyze her bid data, Mary is able to determine that the local businesses who were awarded bids in the past three years were heavily clustered on the east side of the city, and that food service businesses tended to have better success overall. Given the city’s focus on revitalizing the west side of the city and supporting family-friendly neighborhoods, this data was invaluable to Mary.

At her next meeting with her boss, Mary suggested improvements to the bid approval system to ensure businesses interested in improving the west side’s livability by introducing new businesses would be better supported throughout the application process. So that her proposal was clear to the City Manager and other decision makers, Mary used ClearPoint to report on her findings.

She embedded the visualization that drove her insight from Power BI into ClearPoint and then typed in her contextual analysis and recommendations beside it. Since Mary was already tracking the total number of bids that the City awards in ClearPoint, she decided to add summary level data on the relative number of bids awarded to different areas of the City.

Now, she can see the data by area. By capturing this data before implementing improvements, she established a baseline to track how her proposed initiatives might help businesses on the west side win more bids in the future.

Mary then attached an Excel spreadsheet with the underlying data on the bid measure’s detail page in ClearPoint in case others wanted to look at the transactional data. Finally, she included the bid measure in a Briefing Book that summarized the City’s strategy to revamp the west side of the city to put her recommendations in context with the City’s overall plan and ensure alignment.

ClearPoint makes it easy to take insights from Power BI and align them with your strategy, then communicate the plan to your team, allowing you to tell a story with your data to inspire change. In Mary’s case, her analysis of bid data in PowerBI allowed her to communicate changes to the bid awarding system that would bring the city back in line with its strategy to support development of the west side.

With ClearPoint’s user-friendly interface and easy exporting, customizing the look of her pages to include all the quantitative and qualitative information she needs was as easy as dragging, dropping and double clicking to add her ideas.

Meanwhile, over in the Police Department, Jerry noticed a spike in the crime rate (one of the strategic measures he tracks in ClearPoint). Both the City Manager and the Police Chief want to know what is causing the rise in crime and what the City should do about it. Like Mary, Jerry turns to Power BI to analyze the 12,000+ underlying arrest records.

He doesn’t know exactly what he is looking for, but these records show the types of crime and the arrest location. With Power BI, Jerry can create a GIS map to visualize the location and severity of crimes. He discovers that there are a greater number of petty crimes, like vandalization and disorderly conduct, on the east side of the city, whereas a greater number of serious crimes, like assaults and larceny, are taking place on the west side.

Jerry brings this data to other departments in his public safety task force and makes two different recommendations. On the east side, he recommends a partnership with public works and transportation to improve the lighting and bus routes in that part of the city. On the west side, he increases police patrols and starts a community policing initiative.

In ClearPoint, he provides rich analysis of the issues and links projects and funding that support the true needs across the city. The changes that Jerry recommended not only decreased the crime rate in both sections of the city, but also prevented Jerry from having to hire more police officers.

So whether you’re still determining which metrics you should track as part of your strategy or simply looking for more insight into the underlying data driving the metrics you already have, PowerBI can help you identify relevant insights that can be used to inform your plan.

By using PowerBI and ClearPoint side by side, Metropolis was able to align its next steps with its KPIs to ensure city resources are being used as efficiently as possible to achieve the city’s goals.

Together, the two tools drive valuable analysis and effective decision making through change management and reporting. With ClearPoint’s flexible API, Metropolis and other organizations can integrate the two tools to keep all the organization’s data updated in both applications.

Together, PowerBI and ClearPoint take your decision-making to the next level. PowerBI can be used to quickly identify trends and anomalies in your data, and ClearPoint can be used to place that information in context.

Find a problem in PowerBI, then use ClearPoint to coordinate the activities to solve it. As a central hub for your data, decision making, and reporting, ClearPoint serves as a tremendous facilitator and partner for all your reporting needs, allowing you to spend more time providing insights and solutions.

ClearPoint Strategy

We make management reporting simple and efficient so you can focus on making better decisions. Are you ready to take your data to the next level? Schedule some time with our team today.

From Insight to Action: ClearPoint & Power BI

Sean Callison

Vice President of Sales & BBQ Master

Sean is the Vice President of Sales at ClearPoint. He leads the Sales department and focuses on developing impactful, consultative sales teams.

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