Power BI and Power Automate Solution for a Local Community College
Smartbridge implemented a Power BI and Power Automate solution for a local community college system to improve the accessibility and user adoption of a Power BI report among the college’s leadership. With this solution in place, each campus is able to access the important data that is relevant to them seamlessly.
Our client is an accredited public community college serving students across 5 different campuses in the Greater Houston area. They offer affordable education to provide community enrichment, student-centered support, and workforce partnerships to build strong foundations for the future.
The client already had Microsoft Power BI set up for their organization with a dashboard for the entire college system that included the five different campuses. This dashboard contained demographic metrics regarding dropout rates which is very important for each of their campuses to see so they can address what might be causing the dropouts.
The main challenge the client faced was difficulty getting their leadership to participate and actually use the Power BI dashboard. Since it had information from all of the campuses, this meant they would need to take extra steps to manipulate the dashboard before getting to their specific campus, department, and semester. The inability to see what they needed to see straight away was a major deterrent for the end users.
The goal for Smartbridge was to create a solution where the client can control and designate retention targets for each campus/department/semester, then any drop rate above the target would send out an alert to the respective dean and chair with a link that would take them to a pre-filtered version of the dashboard. Therefore, the user will not need to do a deeper look for the information.
With the dashboard as it was, leaders would be aware of the drop rate but would not leverage the dashboard to do further analysis as it was cumbersome and time-consuming to filter everything out. This led to having a dashboard with everything they needed but users not having easy access to the information for further analysis.
The Smartbridge Solution
We began by gathering all the requirements for the project and continued with a small Proof of Concept (POC) to show the solution working with sample data. After a successful POC, we then began to work in their development environment, sending emails to ourselves. Once tested and approved, we deployed the successful solution to production.
To solve the client’s problem, we created a Power Automate flow which used an Excel extract from all of the departments and their retention rates compared to the target. Once the flow finds a current drop rate that is above the target, it sends an email to the respective dean and chair of that department with a Power BI link that takes them to a pre-filtered dashboard for the instance in which the drop rate was higher than the target. As described, the solution worked exactly as the client wanted it to.
Success Through the Power Platform
With the combined capabilities of Power Automate and Power BI, the client has gained improved user interactivity with their dashboard now that it is a seamless experience to click on the link and get to where they need to go. Now with improved clarity regarding the information they are receiving, users will be able to track the drop rate more frequently and easily. This will help the stakeholders identify trends/patterns as to what constitutes a high drop rate and address them.
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