Our client is an racing body responsible for promoting, operating, regulating and controlling a racing sport. The organisation oversees approximately 1,000 race meetings each year across 13 venues, distributing more than $40 million in prize money annually. Significant volumes of information is accumulated across a wide range of sources, which is held in multiple applications and data stores across its network. They needed a centralised data store for multiple data sources with robust reporting capability. We designed and delivered an Operational Data Source platform and built Power BI dashboards for reporting, using Acceler8 to expedite the data process.
As a regulatory body, our client needed to continuously apply a risk-based approach to its operations. However, its ability to successfully implement risk-based operations was hamstrung by its data environment. They lacked fast and reliable access to the data that informed risk assessments, and lacked appropriate tools for sophisticated analytics. With growing data volumes, the client was experiencing significant issues with reporting. Key challenges included:
- Lengthy delays to generate reports
- A high rate of inconsistencies in reported outcomes
- Slow turn-around time for reporting and analysis activities
- A high resourcing effort to develop custom reports and queries
With a data environment that was not fit for the client’s purposes, there were frequent instances of manual user intervention and extraction of data from source systems to uncontrolled platforms such as Microsoft Excel. This, in turn, created a host of risks for the client relating to data integrity, privacy and confidentiality. The client was struggling with a constrained ability to identify, predict, assess and act on emerging industry risks, particularly regarding the pressing issue of animal welfare. We were engaged to implement improvements to the organisation’s data storage and reporting capabilities, with a view to transforming its data operations in a risk-based environment.
Over a three month period, we deployed a new data storage platform and configured a new reporting and analysis capability for our client.
Data storage – Recognising the need for a new data storage environment, we designed and developed a customised solution to centralise the client’s data assets in an Operational Data Store (ODS). The ODS was designed and built with Acceler8 Lite, based on our proven methodology for centralising data assets. The approach uses a model-driven ETL generation approach that significantly decreases development times, ensures consistency, minimises human error and provides a repeatable process for continued use over time.
Reporting and analysis – With the ODS in place, we designed a new reporting solution, built on Power BI, to present key metrics relating to animal welfare, integrity and racing that were identified by the client as strategically or operationally important. We recognised the client’s requirement for simple, easy-to-use and automated reports that could be customised to the organisation’s needs. The choice to deploy Power BI was consistent with the client’s preference to ensure interoperability with its Office 365 suite. With its excellent reporting and dashboard functionality, consistent presentation views and functionality that is familiar across the Microsoft stack, Power BI has better uptake among introductory users than more complex platforms.
The client has realised tangible benefits as a result of the enhanced data and reporting environment. In particular:
- Time savings: Through automation, our solution has enabled the client to automate approximately 100 packages that would usually require 11 manual processes. Importantly, the turn-around time to deliver reports and data requests has been substantially reduced.
- Data confidence: With automated reports and standardised processes, our client has much higher confidence in its data given the risk of manual error has been removed. There has been a marked improvement in data quality and integrity.
This particular project demonstrated our ability to transform an organisation’s data management, reporting and dashboard capabilities quickly and cost effectively.
We are now working to work with the client to deliver incremental upgrades and improvements to ensure that Power BI dashboards are fully customised for, and aligned to, user requirements. With an improved ability to view, analyse and interpret data from across the organisation, users are now requesting new types of reports and dashboards to take advantage of information that was not previously accessible.