“This is the insight into a lot of data that we’ve been struggling to make business decisions around easily. Your (3Cloud) insight has helped us set up an environment that is solid going forward, and we won’t look back wishing we would’ve done something different. Your expertise has been awesome!”

Steve Focht, Systems Analyst at Penn State

The Solution

3Cloud DEVELOPED a Power BI solution and reports based around a new data model. 

The Power BI solution that 3Cloud developed for the OCC was a time-sensitive reconciliation process and report that would meet compliance. To enable fiscal integrity and self-service, a solution was created for a secure purchasing card inventory for all university financial officers to help solve the issue of accounting for and tracking the 10,000 active employee purchase cards when employee statuses or card limits changed. For Penn State A&BS, 3Cloud built a Power BI data model focused on student housing contracts and related student and residency attributes. Using this new data model, reports were created to allow analysts to monitor and compare housing contracts for current and previous terms, and also to inventory residence applications for upcoming terms using the same attributes. For the Food Service analysts, working with Excel was a pain point as they deal with millions of transaction records annually. 3Cloud developed a report built upon the student data model which incorporates point of sales transactions from a separate system. 

In addition, to enable teams to understand Power BI’s technical and administrative components, 3Cloud conducted training workshops covering Power BI Admin and Power BI fundamentals to ensure data modelers, report developers and analysts are equipped with the Power BI skills they need, promoting long term adoption success. Kim Thorpe, Programmer/Analyst, Penn State remarked, “I have gained a lot of knowledge about row-level security, data modeling, visuals and DAX. I have learned a ton and am already sailing along with my own reports.” 

The Results

The custom Power BI solution that 3Cloud provided for Penn State’s OCC and A&BS divisions empowers them with new insights from their data. The solution gives financial officers the ability to ingest current and historical purchase card inventory insights. Row-level security also enables the finance and controller’s offices with access to manage the catalog at each business and organizational level. This reduced the time the OCC spent manually tracking purchase cards while encouraging site-wide Power BI adoption among all financial officers. For the A&BS division, the build of a new data model and reports gives them insight into trends and decisions of students interested in living on campus over time, with the ability to compare applications for an upcoming term against prior years. For Food Service analysts, incorporating data into Power BI allows them to review and compare multiple years’ worth of point-of-sale data married to student housing and demographic information. These modern analytics insights for the divisions were impossible prior to their Power BI deployment. The data and analytics capabilities will provide leadership with fast, reliable decision support. 

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