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How to distribute accurate reports with self-service BI

Use case for how to become a data company,

How do you translate large amounts of data into clear insights for several stakeholders? With a centralized data platform, you can build a futureproof self-service BI tool.


Business intelligence means making the right decisions quickly. To do that, you need fast and flexible reporting. For a professional service organization working with over 250 partners, dealing with outdated legacy meant spending an enormous amount of time and resources on large-scale reporting. Discover how we helped this customer transform and digitize reporting by implementing a flexible, futureproof and secure data platform.

Centralizing and translating data into clear insights

In the dark
The perils of having a so-called ‘black box’ data platform shouldn’t be underestimated. A black box platform means that any upgrades or new functionalities are dependent on the IT provider. In short, you can use a black box BI and data platform for the functionalities it was built for, but it can’t be adapted to new business needs.

Problems of a black box platform
A black box platform results in problems such as legacy technology, poor performance and data quality issues. The code by which data is extracted, transformed and loaded (ETL) onto the platform may become unstable and error prone due to so-called ‘spaghetti code’: undocumented, disjointed, unstandardized custom development.

In many cases, these technical issues lead to a complex and time-consuming reporting process, suboptimal experiences and increasing costs. Reasons enough to transform your infrastructure to support a scalable, modern and self-service BI and data platform.

Technical issues lead to a complex and time-consuming reporting process, suboptimal experiences and increasing costs

The challenge of securely distributing reports
Reporting is an essential function of your data platform. In the case of the professional service company, over 200 partners use the same platform to provide 140 reports to over 5,000 readers yearly. Imagine the costs in both time and money incurred by its outdated BI and data platform.

When building a new data platform, flexible and self-service reporting is quintessential. The most basic qualifications of this functionality include:

  • Single sign-on within the portal or platform (no site jumping);
  • Data security that makes the right data available only to authorized users;
  • Self-service BI enabling every user to easily build custom reports;
  • Support for different business logic and processes;
  • Multi-language reporting.

A centralized cloud data platform with self-service BI

To translate large amounts of data into actionable insights for all partners, a platform that is accessible, secure and user friendly is essential.

Adaptable to changing circumstances
Cegeka built a new, modern data platform alongside the legacy platform for continuity purposes. On this data platform, all data sources are gathered, unified and stored. The benefit of building an entirely new architecture is the scalability; the organization is no longer restricted to the old technology and can adapt the platform to new business needs.

Embedded reporting
By creating a single sign-on experience in a “MyCompany” portal, it is possible to give every user access to the centralized platform. The portal is customer facing and personalized with the company logo. Within this portal, the user is identified and given access to the relevant data and the self-service BI reporting tool. In effect, a user can log in, filter on what information is needed and generate an automatic report. This process is completely embedded in the portal, so there’s no need to log in and jump to a different site. The portal offers one unified experience.

Identity-based, row-level security
Giving many external stakeholders access to the centralized platform necessitates bulletproof security. In this case, row-level security on the reporting tool means that every user can only see the data they are allowed to view, based on their role. The data is linked to certain partners with an intelligent filter, which is integrated with an identification tool. The reporting functionality looks and feels the same for all users, but the data incorporated into the report is automatically filtered.

Improving your cyber resilience

Organizations face increasingly complex challenges when it comes to cybersecurity. Building a cyber resilient business requires a multifocal approach taking into account people, processes and technology.

More on our full-scale cybersecurity approach

 

Future-proof reporting portal

Embedded reports in a “MyCompany” portal
The portal offers easy-to-use dashboards and reports securely for over 5,000 end users in over 200 companies. Compared to the time-consuming previous way of working, building reports via the platform takes a fraction of the time.

The reports are interactive; instead of working with a complicated Excel file or static report, end users can filter and adapt the layout of the report and automatically generate insights on command. In the same way as smartphone users can shuffle apps and logos displayed on home screens, platform users can interact with the report as they see fit.

The result is an outstanding user experience for the end user and the creation of complete, secure and usable reports.

The result is a future-proof reporting portal with an outstanding user experience for the end user and the creation of complete, secure and usable reports

Transparent and documented data platform
The large number of data sources had become quite problematic in the legacy platform. This new platform not only ensures high-quality data, but supports any kind of data, no matter the volume. This means that new data sources can be added seamlessly. The data platform offers consistent high performance and is continuously monitored.

Cost optimization
Reporting was a costly affair using the legacy platform. With a cloud-based platform such as this one, organizations pay only for the functionalities they actually use. Because if can be scaled as needed, the platform is always a perfect fit when it comes to size and processing power.

A data platform and beyond - future possibilities

With the data platform in place, new functionalities and applications can easily be added. The platform is modular and future-proof, enabling it to be extended with new use cases as required. With Azure as the cloud-based foundation layer, any building block can be added to respond to new business needs in the future – advanced analytics and predictive analytics, for instance.

Our team has guided a number of companies on the road to becoming data-driven enterprises by apply the Cegeka reference architecture as a blueprint.

Cloud Data Platform with Cegeka Reference Architecture


Challenges

  • Turn a legacy data platform into a modern cloud-based data platform
  • Implement flexible self-service BI for all end users
  • Create a single sign-on portal for reporting
  • Provide data security that makes the right data available only to authorized users

Approach

  • Leverage the Cegeka reference architecture
  • Migrate to a modern data platform and ensure continuity
  • Create a single sign-on experience in a customer-facing “MyCompany” portal
  • Implementing a flexible reporting tool with row-level security

Solutions


Results

  • Embedded reports in a “MyCompany” portal
  • Transparent and documented data platform
  • Future proof and scalable solution

Checklist data journey

Where do you stand on your data journey?

Be sure to download our checklist to figure out where you stand on your data journey to become a data company.

Download checklist now

Perhaps we’ve inspired you to work out your own use case?

  • Jan Kesters - Sales Manager at Cegeka

    Jan Kesters
    Sales Manager

Then we will discover together how we can help you to become a data company.