Power BI adoption roadmap

The goal of this series of articles is to provide a roadmap. The roadmap presents a series of strategic and tactical considerations and action items that directly lead to successful Power BI adoption, and help build a data culture in your organization.

Advancing adoption and cultivating a data culture is about more than implementing technology features. Technology can assist an organization in making the greatest impact, but a healthy data culture involves a lot of considerations across the spectrum of people, processes, and technology.

This series of articles correlates with the following Power BI adoption roadmap diagram:

Image shows a diagram depicting the 10 high-level areas of Power B I adoption, which are described in the table below.

The areas in the above diagram include:

Area Description
Area 1. Data culture: Data culture refers to a set of behaviors and norms in the organization that encourages a data-driven culture. Building a data culture is closely related to adopting Power BI, and it is often a key aspect of an organization's digital transformation.
Area 2. Executive sponsor: An executive sponsor is someone with credibility, influence, and authority throughout the organization. They advocate for building a data culture and adopting Power BI.
Area 3. Content ownership and management: There are three primary strategies for how business intelligence (BI) content is owned and managed: business-led self-service BI, managed self-service BI, and enterprise BI. These strategies have a significant influence on adoption, governance, and the Center of Excellence (COE) operating model.
Area 4. Content delivery scope: There are four primary strategies for content delivery including personal BI, team BI, departmental BI, and enterprise BI. These strategies have a significant influence on adoption, governance, and the COE operating model.
Area 5. Center of Excellence: A Power BI COE is an internal team of technical and business experts. These experts actively assist others who are working with data within the organization. The COE forms the nucleus of the broader community to advance adoption goals that are aligned with the data culture vision.
Area 6. Governance: Data governance is a set of policies and procedures that define the ways in which an organization wants data to be used. When adopting Power BI, the goal of governance is to empower the internal user community to the greatest extent possible, while adhering to industry, governmental, and contractual requirements and regulations.
Area 7. Mentoring and user enablement: A critical objective for adoption efforts is to enable users to accomplish as much as they can within the guardrails established by governance guidelines and policies. The act of mentoring users is one of the most important responsibilities of the COE. It has a direct influence on adoption efforts.
Area 8. Community of practice: A community of practice comprises a group of people with a common interest, who interact with and help each other on a voluntary basis. An active community is an indicator of a healthy data culture. It can significantly advance adoption efforts.
Area 9. User support: User support includes both informally organized, and formally organized, methods of resolving issues and answering questions. Both formal and informal support methods are critical for adoption.
Area 10. System oversight: System oversight includes the day-to-day administration responsibilities to support the internal processes, tools, and people.

The relationships in the diagram shown above can be summarized in the following bullet list:

  • Your organizational data culture vision will strongly influence the strategies that you follow for self-service and enterprise content ownership and management and content delivery scope.
  • These strategies will, in turn, have a big impact on the operating model for your Center of Excellence and governance decisions.
  • The established governance guidelines, policies, and processes affect the implementation methods used for mentoring and enablement, the community of practice, and user support.
  • Governance decisions will dictate the day-to-day system oversight (administration) activities.
  • All data culture and adoption-related decisions and actions are accomplished more easily with guidance and leadership from an executive sponsor.

Each individual article in this series discusses key topics associated with the items in the diagram. Considerations and potential action items are provided. Each article concludes with a set of maturity levels to help you assess your current state so you can decide what action to take next.

Power BI adoption

Successful Power BI adoption involves making effective processes, support, tools, and data available and integrated into regular ongoing patterns of usage for content creators, consumers, and stakeholders in the organization.

Important

This series of adoption articles is focused on organizational adoption. See the Power BI adoption maturity levels article for an introduction to the three types of adoption: organizational, user, and solution.

A common misconception is that adoption relates primarily to usage or the number of users. There's no question that usage statistics are an important factor. However, usage is not the only factor. Adoption is not just about using the technology on a regular basis; it's about using it effectively. Effectiveness is much harder to define and measure.

Whenever possible, adoption efforts should be aligned across analytics platforms, BI services, and other Power Platform products. These products include Power Apps and Power Automate.

Note

Individuals—and the organization itself—are continually learning, changing, and improving. That means there's no formal end to adoption-related efforts.

The remaining articles in this Power BI adoption series discuss the following aspects of adoption:

Important

You may be wondering how this Power BI adoption roadmap is different from the Power BI adoption framework. The adoption framework was created primarily to support Microsoft partners. It is a lightweight set of resources to help partners deploy Power BI solutions for their customers.

This Power BI adoption series is more current. It is intended to guide any person or organization that is using—or considering using—Power BI. If you're seeking to improve your existing Power BI implementation, or planning a new Power BI implementation, this adoption roadmap is a great place to start. You will find a lot of valuable information in the Power BI adoption framework, so we encourage you to review it.

Target audience

The intended audience of this series of articles is interested in one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Improving their organization's ability to effectively use Power BI.
  • Increasing their organization's maturity level related to Power BI delivery.
  • Understanding and overcoming adoption-related challenges faced when scaling Power BI.
  • Increasing their organization's return on investment (ROI) in data and analytics.

Primarily, this series of articles will be helpful to those who work in an organization with one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Power BI is deployed with some successes.
  • Power BI has pockets of viral adoption, but is not purposefully governed across the entire organization.
  • Power BI is deployed with some meaningful scale, but there remains a need to determine:
    • What is effective and what should be maintained.
    • What should be improved.
    • How future deployments could be more strategic.
  • An expanded implementation of Power BI is under consideration or is planned.

Secondarily, this series of articles will be helpful for:

  • Organizations that are in the early stages of a Power BI implementation.
  • Organizations that have had success with adoption and now want to evaluate their current maturity level.

Assumptions and scope

The primary focus of this series of articles is on the Power BI technology platform, with an emphasis on the Power BI service.

To fully benefit from the information provided in these articles, it is an advantage to have at least an understanding of Power BI fundamental concepts.

Next steps

In the next article in this series, learn about the Power BI adoption maturity levels. The maturity levels are referenced throughout the entire series of articles. Also, see the conclusion article for additional adoption-related resources.

Other helpful resources include:

Experienced Power BI partners are available to help your organization succeed with adoption of Power BI. To engage a Power BI partner, visit the Power BI partner portal.

Acknowledgments

This series of articles was written by Melissa Coates, Data Platform MVP, and owner of Coates Data Strategies, with significant contributions from Matthew Roche. Reviewers include Cory Moore, James Ward, Timothy Bindas, Greg Moir, Chuy Varela, Daniel Rubiolo, Sanjay Raut, and Peter Myers.