Crimson Case Studies

Crimson Helps Great Places Housing Group Unlock Power of Data Using Microsoft Power BI

Great Places Housing Group Microsoft Data Consultancy

The Customer

Great Places Housing Group operates across the North West and Yorkshire, owning 24,000 homes. It provides a wide range of services to create sustainable communities. The group consists of Great Places Housing Association, Plumlife and Cube, with over 600 employees working across a number of offices. As a profit-for-purpose organisation, the group gives back to customers, communities and its employees.

The Problem

Great Places had a range of primary systems that served the business operationally but were rigid and outdated when it came to reporting and insights with a lot of manual reporting. Data gathering and reporting was often disparate, inconsistent and unreliable, which often led to wasted time and effort when dealing with reports. These inefficient methods led to irregular data, which meant that when reports could be produced, the data lacked reliability and didn’t have one version of the truth. As the reports required more time to produce, Technology Services couldn’t turn around reports fast enough for a number of key areas of the business.

The Solution

In order to improve reporting methods and to meet the demand of the businesses KPI requirements, Great Places needed a solution that keeps data up to date but that was also efficient to turnaround. The first step was for Crimson to engage with key senior stakeholders at Great Places and deliver workshops, which enabled the Crimson team to scope out the primary focuses, including the core data warehouse requirements and BI foundations and principles. Crimson suggested that Great Places should begin by creating a best-practice data warehouse architecture (which was mapped out and proposed) as well as storing data on the cloud (Azure), which then has the opportunity to link to a wider cloud/digital strategy in the future.

With the right data structure and governance in place, Power BI would allow Great Places to have flexibility and agility when reporting, as they can quickly change the report and dashboards as required. Power BI would enable Great Places to turn around key business reporting and KPI’s in a matter of days/weeks, rather than years.

By scoping a more comprehensive data solution in phase one, phase two could include a proof of concept in Power BI on arrears management which would help them to look at real time rent arrears, possible causes and actions/insights on how to potentially reduce them .

The Outcome

After delivering the data warehouse consultancy and implementing Azure and the Power BI Arrears proof of concept, Crimson knowledge transferred a lot of data warehouse, Power BI and Azure skillsets to Great Places data and digital teams so they are self-sufficient. Great Places have been building further dashboards themselves within Power BI across the various business areas.

The end goal for Great Places includes implementing a new business intelligence platform, which would further streamline processes and eradicate time wasted across different internal business units. By creating a consistent standard of management reports, it ensures they’re easy to maintain, reliable and future proof.

“We are now in a much greater position to meet the demands of the business when it comes to reporting and leveraging Power BI and its capabilities are enabling us to deliver great insight into the organisation. As a result we have developed a roadmap for Power BI in areas for the business supported by our data warehouse plan which is given real time dynamic and interactive reports and dashboards which we have never had before, which are being used on a daily basis. Over time, the improvements we will make with the use of all of the functionality available in Power BI will be truly transformational.”

– Barry Shields, Head of Digital and Data at Great Places Housing Group