Leveraging Power BI to join data from various sources and create powerful data visualizations.

The Challenge

No one-size-fits-all solutions 

A large national health plan sought to gain visibility into a set of prioritized medical cost savings initiatives against an annual goal of $115M+, but did not have the data or a centralized architecture to support an effective reporting solution. In these situations, a one-size-fits-all solution does not exist. Similar scenarios often require implementing a data storage solution coupled with one of the many reporting tools available within the marketplace.

While the enterprise utilized several data visualization tools, the internal analytics team did not have available resources for development. An existing internal team manually created reports using Microsoft PowerPoint and Excel, but the executive team was not satisfied with the level of detail provided and the amount of time that the reporting took to provide each month.

The Solution 

Standardized reporting with minimal disruption 

The West Monroe team worked with the health plan to perform a rapid assessment of the plan’s needs and collected data needed to recalibrate and validate against the 16+ business initiatives. This assessment revealed that the health plan had data available in non-standard formats across a variety of PowerPoint and Excel documents and within an existing Microsoft Access database. Updates were made infrequently, and executive leadership lacked a central location for reliable, detailed, and updated information.

The health plan needed a solution before the next monthly executive update, so the West Monroe team quickly mobilized to validate business initiatives and determine potential solutions based on the requirements gathered through interviews with key stakeholders.

The team ultimately determined that Microsoft Power BI Desktop would be the best solution to meet the needs of the organization based on three key considerations:

  • Ease of Maintenance: Developers were not available to support the solution on an ongoing basis, so updates and maintenance required a simple interface. Microsoft Power BI Desktop has an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface that does not require technical development experience to use.
  • Limiting New Licensing: Additional licensing was not needed as Power BI Desktop was already available via the health plan’s existing Microsoft 365 subscription.
  • Standardized Reporting: Executives required consistent reports across each of the business initiatives to view summary data and drill down by initiative.

The Impact

Connected, scalable data, and analyics

Since the health plan user group was limited and reporting needs were clearly defined, this lightweight Power BI solution could be implemented rapidly. It yielded three key benefits:

Connect and Relate Multiple Data Sources

The health plan did not have the desire or budget to increase data storage or implement a single point-of-storage for their data, and Power BI enabled the team to join various existing data sources. Once data was imported and related within Power BI, it could be easily refreshed in the solution with a single click, bypassing the former manual process.

Provide Insightful Analytical Capabilities

The solution also gave the health plan adaptable visualizations that can be automatically refreshed with updated data and filters, as compared to previous manual processes that required re-creating graphics monthly.

Adapt and Scale Based on Business Needs 

Upgrading from Power BI Desktop to Power BI Pro will help further scale the solution, enable real-time data pulls, and improve available support.


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