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Using Power BI analytics to improve end user experience

  • Posted on September 19, 2017
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes
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Since Microsoft introduced Power BI in 2015, its usage has grown and its capabilities have continued to evolve. With the introduction of Power BI Premium in early 2017, enterprises are now able to scale out their Power BI ecosystem while managing costs and using its wide breadth of capability. 

Power BI is most valuable when a large amount of data is available to process and gain insights from, and Skype for Business (SfB) generates an endless stream of call quality and telemetry data. This data is readily available in the SfB Quality of Experience (QoE) database, but the ability to analyze it is limited to the capabilities built into SfB. Traditionally this was the Monitoring Server and more recently the Call Quality Dashboard (CQD), both of which generate reports based on this data, however these reports provide a limited number of actionable insights as the data is not easily manipulated. 

These reports are crucial to understanding the state of a SfB deployment and identifying areas experiencing degraded performance and guidance on corrective actions to take. While CQD was a step in the right direction, a more powerful tool is Power BI. Power BI opens up a range of possibilities for IT looking to diagnose and troubleshoot issues, as well as for Executives looking for high level insights into adoption and usage of Skype for Business. 

Making sure the user experience is optimal is the key to a successful deployment of a Skype For Business. The three components that make up the user experience are, user satisfaction, call quality, and reliability. Data on all three of these metrics are collected and stored in Skype for Business, and the use of Analytics on this data can confirm the overall user experience as well as provide information on individual users reporting poor calls. 

A Power BI dashboard based on the data can be created and shared showing high level insights into the state of a Skype for Business deployment. This dashboard view is particularly valuable to Executives looking to gather information at a glance. Additional analysis can be done at more granular levels to gain insights into specific problem areas helping IT validate theories and implement change. 

Common problem areas include adoption rates, device types in use, and network constraints. Data from existing network monitoring solutions can be combined with SfB data allowing for correlation between network and application layers, helping drive root cause analysis. For example, SfB may show a large number of poor calls in a particular subnet. Combining this data with network metrics from that subnet can answer the question of where the bottleneck is. 

Integrating Power BI and Skype for Business is one of many innovative ways Avanade is helping clients create a digital workplace and draw insights into their data. Microsoft is a recognized leader in Analytics and Unified Communications technologies and Avanade has deep expertise implementing these solutions. Together we are realizing results for our clients and their customers through the power of the Microsoft ecosystem. 

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