Building a Comprehensive Application Portfolio Dashboard Using Microsoft Power BI
Many of the world’s leading IT organizations are facing a major data visibility problem in today’s data-rich environment. Their IT application portfolio data is incomplete, outdated, and stuck in a database and therefore is not being used or reviewed. The good news is that there is a straightforward solution to this problem.
In this article, we discuss how Infosys Consulting recently built a comprehensive and user-friendly Microsoft Power BI application portfolio dashboard for a client, turning relevant data into a gold mine of organizational insights.
Solving IT application portfolio visibility crises for a Leading Aerospace and Defense Manufacturer
The Infosys Consulting team was spearheaded by Associate Partner Sanjay Khurana and included enterprise architecture expert Gus Gil and Microsoft Power BI Dashboard expert Ryan Hartman. The client sought to improve data accuracy and completeness of the application inventory and related metadata. The solution involved a survey-based method to capture all the information and then to create an interactive IT application portfolio dashboard for reporting.
- Data validation and cleanup: The small amount of data collected previously was inaccurate. While the data cleanup and validation were time-intensive activities, the team recognized these as critical steps to properly feed the comprehensive portfolio dashboard.
- Develop custom surveys and collect data: Based on the available (but incomplete) client data, and our data-gathering templates, we created custom surveys targeted at all application owners in the organization. This is a very important step in the process. The survey creation required extensive VBA programming to ensure that correct questions were asked based on the type of application. The completed surveys contained roughly 100 questions capturing all necessary data, including technical and business-related. For example, data concerning OS, OS version, business criticality, and application security data.
- Clean up collected data: As in step 1, the newly collected data had to go through a data validation and clean up phase. Some examples include removing extra spaces from survey responses, editing for correct business function spelling, and assigning codes to application servers. Several review sessions were conducted to ensure the accuracy of the data.
- Developing the dashboard: After the data validation and cleanup was complete, we developed the comprehensive application portfolio dashboard. Our team selected Microsoft Power BI as our business intelligence tool of choice, as it is highly interactive and has all the capabilities required for this solution. We spent a significant amount of time choosing the correct visuals that would provide the most powerful insights, based on the collected data.
- Data Exploration and key insights: At this stage in the engagement, we had a fully operational IT application portfolio dashboard, and were now able to explore the data in real-time with our client. With the help of interactive slicers and filters, we could see data segmented by various data points, such as IT owner, functional group, database, and user count. In addition, with the click of a button, we could now drill down into applications based on their criticality, for example, applications deemed “business critical”.
The timeline for this project completion is two months and it is a worthy endeavor for an organization to enhance its decision-making capability into the IT application portfolio. Not discussed in this blog post, but certainly worth mentioning, are two value-add projects that can be taken on when application visibility is no longer a concern, application portfolio rationalization, and application portfolio optimization initiatives, both of which can lead to lower IT costs and reduced IT risk.
If you found this article helpful, be sure to read our blog on how Infosys Consulting turned data into an opportunity for a supply chain leader through Microsoft Power BI
To discuss how we can help your organization, please contact:
Joshua Biggins, Partner, CIO Advisory at firstname.lastname@example.org
Consultant, Infosys Consulting
Ryan has successfully delivered business analytics and visualization solutions to a number of Fortune 500 companies within the technology, sports apparel, manufacturing, aerospace and defense, and financial industries. He specializes in Microsoft Power BI reporting and dashboard creation. He can be reached at Ryan.Hartman@infosys.com.
Associate Partner, Infosys Consulting
Sanjay has worked in product configuration, pricing, quoting for the past 20 years within the manufacturing and technology industry.