Background

Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board is a statutory levy board, funded by farmers, growers, and others in the supply chain, and managed as an independent organization (independent of both commercial activity and of Government). The delivery of AHDB’s services to levy payers is focused on six sectors, covering about 72% of total agricultural output in the UK. The six sectors are Pork, Dairy, Beef & Lamb, Horticulture, Cereals & Oilseeds and Potatoes.

Problem

AHDB needed to migrate the existing around 100 BI dashboards from Tableau to PowerBI and make the best use of PowerBI so that the market data and research findings are widely available in a format that allows farmers and growers to get more value from the dashboards. We were engaged in this project through G-Cloud procurement to undertake a feasibility study of Microsoft Power BI and test whether this software can meet AHDB’s reporting needs which at the time were being met through Tableau. Subject to Microsoft Power BI functionality and the results of the feasibility study, the Customer decided to go ahead with the full-scale migration to PowerBI.

Solution Approach

We were tasked to:

  • Build up to 100 dashboards existing in Tableau, in Microsoft PowerBI
  • Ensure that the dashboards cover all the information and provide similar slicing and dicing and filter functionality as available in Tableau
  • Ensure the dashboards can automatically refresh and are aligned with AHDB’s Office 365 company subscription
  • Ensure the dashboards are aligned with AHDB’s Office 365 company subscription
  • Deploy the dashboards for publication on external facing websites being mindful of data

Security and Confidentiality

We used free Power BI desktop to develop and deploy reports to AHDB’s Power BI’s subscription cloud using a Pro license. These were shared with other business users with different levels of access i.e. report and data levels. The database refresh for the deployed reports is managed by Power BI gateway installed on a local on-premises server. PowerBI reports and dashboards allow different report and data security levels, differentiation of roles and permitted access levels attributed to them. Users can develop their own reports and decide on the time of data sharing with other users.

PowerBI brings only calculated and aggregated data which eases the load on the Customer’s CPU. Also, this provides reports and dashboards with better performance as compared to Tableau.

Power BI gives much better cost benefits than the Tableau server. This helped our Customer reduce the overall IT cost and achieve more flexibility through Pay-as-you-go model that allows the customer to add and remove users as they wish.

Similar dashboard and features in ‘look and feel’ to Tableau helped in a seamless transition from the existing dashboards to the new Power BI dashboard.

Ease of use and self-service of BI (SSBI) enabled quicker and better adaptability of Power BI by the business and technical users.