The 8 success factors for a Power BI implementation

The 8 success factors for a Power BI implementation


Many problems in a Power BI implementation stem from a shaky or inadequately thought-out technical foundation. Many organizations run into the same pitfalls. Having completed 100+ different BI projects for both international corporates and scale-ups, we have compiled a list of 8 success factors for you. This will make your implementation of Power BI go smoothly and quickly.

You can read the full roadmap for a successful Power BI implementation in this slidedeck.

1. Establish a reporting rhythm in the MT

First, it is important to create a set rhythm for reporting. Whereas you initially had monthly or quarterly insight in a single Excel report, you now have daily or weekly access to the most recent figures. Looking at the same numbers with the MT every week creates two habits:

  • Many new questions are coming up. Questions such as, "Why are sales higher/lower than the same period last year?", or, "Are we still on track for this quarter?" are the beginning of a data-driven organization.
  • By looking at the same numbers every week, you spot trends. You see accurately what is happening in an organization. Compare it to photographs and a movie. Instead of viewing one picture of your organization per month, you now view a constant movie.

Based on these two points, you can take action each week. Make sure to also structure the organization accordingly.

2. Use a scrum methodology

By working with a scrum methodology, a result is created that meets the needs of users. And the end result is often just a little different than you envisioned beforehand. Using scrum methodology, you create a steady rhythm. By working in small iterations of, say, three weeks, you create short feedback loops that allow you to make quick and appropriate adjustments.

By working with scrum, you avoid two pitfalls that many other organizations face. On the one hand, you avoid not using the dashboard. Users are involved with a scrum methodology though, giving them a grip on the result and getting something out of it.

On the other hand, the MT will not become impatient. The dashboard users have a lot of input and control over the project. This allows them to see the progress of the project every day or week and provide feedback on it.

3. Involve key players directly in the project

For a BI implementation or process to land well in the organization or business unit, buy-in is very important. Indeed, users need to feel ownership of the dashboard. Based on the numbers shown, they are going to use the dashboard to improve work and processes.

The best way to accomplish this? Involve key players within the organization or business unit in the dashboard right from the start. They have the opportunity to provide valuable input and feel involved in the project. In doing so, you also counteract resistance.

4. Don't stumble over data quality as a blocker

In any project, data quality plays a role. Data quality is rarely good the first time. Still, it's not a smart move to clean up all the data first, before starting implementation. On the contrary, we believe that insufficient data quality is the reason to start with BI. In fact, according to our findings, that works a lot more efficiently.

When developing a BI dashboard you immediately identify which data is out of order. In many cases, this can be cleaned up immediately. These errors were less likely to be discovered without Power BI. From our experience, Power BI shows the correct numbers in 99% of projects when compared to old reports.

In short, with Power BI you clean up your data very purposefully and accurately so that figures in the dashboard are always correct.

5. Don't skimp on documentation

Proper documentation is a must. Therefore, we do not recommend saving on this. By documenting, you answer the following questions:

  • How is the BI solution set up?
  • How are your KPIs calculated?
  • Who is responsible for which process?
  • Why were these particular choices made?


With all these answers, you'll avoid problems in the future. You thus remain independent of the BI vendor and of specific people (single points of failure). With good documentation, you ensure easier maintenance and the ability to turn the knobs yourself.

Documentation costs money. But if improper documentation creates major problems this will cost even more money. After all, a specialist will have to figure everything out from the beginning to get the errors out. Good documentation will prevent this from happening.

6. Remain critical of development

When you remain critical of the development team, you create a good collaboration between the business and the development team. After all, you want to avoid working with a party that performs everything you ask of them.

The technical design means everything for the flexibility, scalability, and cost of your BI solution. So find a development party that is critical and acts as a sparring partner for your business. After all, together you come up with the best innovations and solutions.

7. Continue engaging with the business for optimization efforts

To keep making optimization strides, it is important to keep the business continuously engaged because this will lead to new insights. And new insights always lead to new questions.

By continuing to answer questions, users will continue to use the BI dashboard. There will be a focus on answering tomorrow's questions. Source systems, data, and technological capabilities are expanding, technology is evolving, new data sources are being added, and the organization is changing and evolving. Exactly these characteristics are the core of a data-driven organization.

8. Always have a product owner on the project

The final success factor is having an (in-house) product owner. A product owner provides translation between business issues and the technical team. Without a good product owner, noise arises quickly in the communication between these two parties.

The product owner knows the business as well as the applied technology. Of course, you may encounter unexpected problems during the process. A good product owner guides this process in the right direction while also monitoring the timeline. In this way, the user remains constantly involved in the process and knows what is going on. This ensures a high acceptance rate.

A good product owner is critical to any BI project.

Want to know more about a successful Power BI implementation? Then schedule a kick-off session with one of our specialists. We are happy to tell you all about implementation and what's involved