How to Communicate Power BI Governance

Explaining Power Bi Governance Article.

Tips for communicating the importance of Power BI Governance to your organization

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The Trouble With Governance

As Power BI governance becomes increasingly essential in organizations, communicating why it’s important has also been increasingly difficult.

One of the biggest hurdles companies face is convincing potential stakeholders or executive sponsors to spend time and resources developing Power BI governance in their organization.

Generally, people associate the word ‘governance’ with authority, rules, and roadblocks.

However, Power BI governance is meant to support and empower users. It promotes a positive data culture of trust that fosters and breeds more business intelligence.

The more users are analyzing the data the more insights will be found, leading to more effective and data-driven decisions.

The next section in this article will hopefully provide you with some tips on how to communicate Power BI governance effectively, providing relatability, new perspectives, and examples.

Tips for Communicating Governance

Use a Metaphor: Power BI School

One of the most popular memory techniques taught is relating the content to something familiar to you. 

Using this technique with Power BI Governance, let’s take a softer approach and think of the Power BI Tenants as a Grade School with Power BI Administrators as their school Principals.

A school’s focus is to educate its students, foster their growth, and empower them to apply their knowledge to real-life situations. An example of a school mission could be to provide a safe and accessible environment while creating a community of acceptance and respect. 

Applying this concept to a Power BI Tenant, we want users to improve their Power BI skill levels, empower them with support and resources, and create a data culture of trust. 

Here are some school-related examples that can be applied to Power BI Tenants and the benefits they have for your organization: 

SchoolPower BI Tenant GovernanceBenefits
School Library and Providing Textbooks and Materials to StudentsProviding guidelines, glossaries, documentation, templates, and request processes to Power BI usersUpskills users faster, increasing productivity and awareness. Fosters more Business Intelligence.
Student Tests and Teacher EvaluationsProcesses for Certifying content before publicationStandards and testing provide consistency and increase trust. 
Professional Development Days for TeachersSetting up Power BI lunch and learns or workshops for Power BI Champions and usersUpskilling users will provide higher-quality content providing more value to the organization.
Student Report CardsAuditing the Power BI TenantIdentifies areas that may require additional resources, support, or security. Prevents misuse of data and data exfiltration.
Tutoring or after-school helpCommunity of Practice, and a Centre of Excellence with Power BI Office hoursIdentifies Power BI champions and skill gaps. Increases skill gain and fosters community with workshops and challenges.
Janitors, School maintenanceCleaning up unused content in the Power BI ServiceMonitoring and managing the tenant will be easier. Supports the organization by reducing bottlenecks and streamlining processes.
Guests to the School must Register at the Front OfficeGuidelines and processes for External users viewing contentPrevents data exfiltration in the organization and misuse of data.

Of course, in every school, there is the dreaded principal’s office… 

The principal’s office is where the most impactful decisions for the school are madePrincipals design the school’s mission and values, monitor the teachers and students, and set up their school for success. 

Similarly, Power BI Administrators architect the structure of the tenant, create standards and processes, and monitor their users to set them up for success. 

Here are some School Principal related tasks that can be related to Power BI Administrators:

PrincipalsPower BI Administrators
Assign Students and Teachers to ClassroomsCreates workspaces and assigns access roles.
Oversees School PropertyMonitors Tenant Health (Ex. Premium Capacity, Gateways, Usage)
Talk to students who are not following the rulesAddress users who are not following Power BI Standards and guidelines
Walking around the school to visit classroomsMonitoring the Power BI Activity in the Tenant  
Sets up Rules for the Students (Ex. Do not run with Scissors)Sets up Tenant settings, policies, and processes for users

Speak to the Money

An organization’s goal is to be profitable. Therefore, communicating how Power BI governance will save the company money and increase profit, is essential to the conversation.

So how can Power BI governance save an organization money and increase profit?

  • Governance can lessen the ambiguity between metrics in reports. Glossaries, certified datasets, and version control can increase the value and quality of the data, ensuring your users trust the data for their decision-making.
  • Governance can lessen the risk of data exfiltration and misuse of data. It prevents confidential data from leaking out of the organization for competitive gain (insider trading) and data compliance fines from auditors.
  • The more upskilled users are while analyzing the data, the more discovered insights on the business. Newly discovered insights can increase operations, such as identifying bottlenecks to streamline efforts.

Point Out the Risks

Having an ungoverned Power BI Tenant can lead to significant security risks to your data.

Before presenting to your audience, take a big-picture view of your tenant and assess potential risk factors. Try testing out data exfiltration and identify any gaps in the system that can be prioritized.

While presenting these items to your audience, prioritize the risk by importance and explain why it is a risk.

Here are some examples of risk factors in a Power BI tenant and why they are a risk:

Risk FactorWhy?
Users sharing reports via public weblinksSharing your data via public weblink allows anyone to view your content and data. This data can be used against your business (insider trading).
High amount of unused or low activity reports or workspacesTo make effective analytical decisions, you must trust the data and the content. Keeping your tenant organized and clean will facilitate ease of monitoring to promote high-quality and valid content.
Enterprise gateways installed on personal computersGateways should be centrally managed to prevent accidental shutdown and inaccessible data
Users sharing business content out of Personal WorkspacesPersonal workspaces and content can not be monitored as effectively as regular workspaces. Visibility into the activity of the tenant is important for monitoring and auditing.
Processes for requests and onboarding are non-existentUsers find their own way of performing tasks if the processes are not laid out. This could lead to content that is insecure, inconsistent, or invalid.
Users are inviting External Users into the Power BI tenant to view contentHaving External Users in the tenant increases the risk of data being exfiltrated and used against the organization.

Show the Plan

Your audience will be more likely to buy into governance if they have a clear picture of what you want to implement and how you want to implement it.

Start small and remember that you can always iterate over the plan. Using a smaller plan with clear goals and timelines can ‘plant the seed’ without overwhelming the audience with all the items that could be addressed.

Begin with priority items that need addressing such as tenant settings or remediating any major security issues.

For example: If an organization has public web links that could be causing data exfiltration, the first plan can encompass remediating the links and setting up guardrails with effective change management for users.

Example of a Plan Checklist:

  • Goal or Mission of the Project
  • Success Factors and KPIs
  • Owners, Stakeholders, and their involvement
  • Action plan or Task list
  • Timelines

Detailed Next Steps

The less work your audience needs to do, the more likely they will buy into governance.

Creating concrete next steps will promote the movement and momentum of the project.

Detailed Next Steps could include:

  • Creating a central community for Power BI users
  • Assign a Centre of excellence, Power BI Champions and Administrators with roles, tasks, commitment levels and incentives
  • Set up weekly meetings with the Centre of Excellence, stakeholders, and Power BI Administrators with agendas, action items, and KPIs to facilitate the growth of Power BI governance adoption

Conclusion

Communicating Power BI Governance can be enlightening and powerful for business intelligence in your organization.

Applying communication tactics such as the Power BI School metaphor, pointing out the risks or speaking about the money can produce momentum and interest.

Ultimately, increasing knowledge decreases risk. By starting to communicate the need for Power BI Governance, you are already taking the first step in protecting your data by spreading awareness.

Therefore, congrats and good luck on your Power BI Governance adventure!

Iteration Insights Governance Consultants

Iteration Insights has provided governance consultation, strategy, architecture, and implementation in several industries such as Agriculture, Industrial Equipment Wholesale, Pipelines, Airlines, Information Services and Medical Software.

Iteration Insights Governance Webpage

If you have some questions or are interested in our offerings, please send us an inquiry at info@iterationinsights.com

Resources

Power BI Adoption Roadmap: Governance

Power BI Adoption Roadmap: Centre of Excellence

Power BI Enterprise Deployment Whitepaper

Provide Governance in a Power BI Environment Module

Coates Data Strategies

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Diana Arciniega is an Analytics Consultant for Iteration Insight. She has a Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Calgary, majoring in Actuarial Science and Minoring in Statistics and a certificate in Business Intelligence and Data Analytics from SAIT. She is very passionate about Storytelling with data and empowering others throughout their data-driven journey. In her spare time, she loves reading fantasy and science fiction and playing board games with friends.

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