As the year is coming to an end and winter weather has thoroughly frozen over BlueGranite’s home office in West Michigan, we’d like to take a few moments to look back and reflect on our growth and accomplishments in 2016, as well as share some annual company updates with our community. This was an exciting year when it came to celebrating 20 years of business, increasing our team, and growing client relationships, plus much more.


Updates to get excited about

In November BlueGranite celebrated a milestone – being in business for 20 years. Although our offerings have transformed over time, we have continued to grow, doubling in size over the past 8 years. This was made possible through our dedicated team, deep client relationships, and our community. We are looking forward to celebrating many more years to come!

As mentioned, our team has grown and continues to expand. We now have team members in 11 states that reach as far west as Denver, across the Northeast, Midwest, and Southern regions. Next year we plan to develop further in areas across the U.S., getting closer to our clients. Additionally, thanks to our team’s growth, we are fortunate to have a diverse set of deep client relationships, with over 70% of our business coming from existing clients.

Not only has BlueGranite grown internally, we have also grown externally. In 2016, we continued to stand out as one of the largest Microsoft partners specializing in data and analytics solutions in the U.S. As our partnership has continued to grow, we have also expanded our service offerings in Advanced Analytics, including work with Microsoft R Server Training and Azure Machine Learning. Power BI was our fastest growing service last year, and we expect that to continue to gain popularity in the future.

Top blog posts this year

In 2016, we had some awesome content come from our writers! Check out some of our top blog posts below to learn more about some of the most popular topics to come up in the industry.

  1. Top 3 Reasons to Upgrade to SQL Server 2016 Reporting Services, by Jason Thomas
    If you are looking for reasons to upgrade from the SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) 2008 R2 rollout, this is a great post to highlight the changes that came with the 2016 update. There have been many notable improvements, tool integrations, and added features that make it worth the consideration to upgrade.
  1. Power BI with ArcGIS Maps Closes a Critical Gap, by David Eldersveld
    After the announcement of ArcGIS Maps for Power BI, more advanced mapping capabilities were made possible. This tool finally closed a gap in Power BI and now can make comparable and visually appealing maps that help satisfy numerous customer requests.
  1. Built-in Analytics: Why R Matters to a SQL Server Professional, by Andy Lathrop
    Earlier this year when R Services was announced, it became easier than ever to operationalize high-performance Big Data analytics with traditional, unstructured, or hybrid data sources. This blog post does a great job summarizing some of the exciting new features that were added, giving users more powerful capabilities.
  1. New Microsoft Power BI Governance and Deployment Whitepaper, by Erik Roll
    Two BlueGranite team members published a whitepaper on Power BI Governance. This post reviews 3 approaches to Power BI delivery, including Business-Led Self-Service BI, IT-Managed Self-Service BI, and Corporate BI. The published whitepaper is also available for download through the above link.
  1. Visualizing Your Data Made Easy with Power BI and R, by Mike Cornell
    This blog post explains details of Power BI, specifically a web publishing component that allows for sharing via multiple mediums. There is also a short video demonstration on how easy it is to incorporate R into your BI experience.

Most popular content

The most popular webinar of the year was Effective Communication through Data Visualization, presented by Meagan Longoria and Jason Thomas. By viewing the recorded session, you will be able to learn more about how data volumes are continuing to grow, making visualizations that are much more meaningful and important for proper communication. This webinar highlights how to transform boring tables into visually appealing reports, with examples using Microsoft Power BI.

Our top solution brief for the year was Billion-dollar Retailer Forecasts Future by Adding Modern Reporting to ERP. BlueGranite was able to work with a large clothing retailer to help in adding reporting functionality for its enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Through this project, we worked with the client to gain better business insights, which led to informed decision making and cost savings.

What a great year!

2016 was a great year for BlueGranite in terms of growth, but it wasn’t just thanks to our company. From all of us at BlueGranite, thank you for your support this past year – we couldn’t have done it without our community, client, and team member relationships. Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season and happy new year!