AUTHOR: Deston Le Roux, Data Analyst
The challenge at Communicare was a familiar one; disparate data sources, where the team responsible for internal reporting spent most of their time combining data to provide a consolidated view of their tenant base.
To tackle this challenge, EOH Coastal made use of Power BI to first create a prototype model, combining data sources from CRM, SharePoint, Excel spreadsheets and the financial system. All the data wrangling logic the team normally applied was done in the Query component of the tool, whilst a model was built that consolidates the data. Finally, visualizations were used to help drive actionable insights and published to the service for consumption by the stakeholders.
Following an iterative feedback process, the model was productionised using SQL Server Analysis Services, and Power BI was used at the presentation layer, where the data was pushed to the Power BI Service and updated using an on-premise gateway. The team is now able to focus efforts on addressing problems identified from using the solution as well as getting the data to do the work as opposed to working on the data. For example, feedback from the Finance Manager indicated how doing an ad hoc piece of analysis took a few hours, whereas previously, it would take 2 days!
Given the success of the project, EOH Coastal was contracted to perform a similar challenge, this time tackling the challenge of consolidating Communicare’s overall financial reporting.
Communicare is a social enterprise that provides rental housing to a wide range of tenants including a large portfolio of social rentals (properties rented at discounted rates). Through a strong social development programme, Communicare actively supports the tenants in social rentals to improve their quality of life.
The project was managed by Communicare’s IT Manager, Fabian Bains, who is contactable via email (fbains@Communicare.org.za).