Hello! I am Elizabeth Oyer, President of EvalSolutions, Inc. where I provide program evaluation and business consulting services. Over the last 5 years, business intelligence (BI) reporting has become commonly used to support users’ interactions with their data in a more immediate, individualized way. In my journey as a consultant, I have learned how to implement a few affordable resources to make BI accessible in an affordable way for my clients.
Along the way, I have become much more immersed in the Office365TM technical ecosystem. Office365TM is an affordable technology, especially for the number of apps that are automatically included in the subscription.
One of my favorite tools to use is Office365TM Forms – a fairly full-featured survey tool that automatically scales for mobile devices, includes basic visuals for individual items, and is easy to collaborate for people who are in your same Office365TM ecosystem. The visuals, however, are not really where the magic happens. The PowerBITM app in Office365TM can consume the responses from the form as part of a dataflow to create a live stream of the data flowing from the form into visuals you can create.
How is this useful?
Many of my clients already have Office365TM which means they don’t have to pay for extra survey services for their basic survey needs. Using a dataflow from their form into a PowerBI visual allows for basic quality assurance like response tracking with very low friction. And even better – their data is inside their own systems, and I am not a block to their access.
Where can you learn more?
If you want to give it a try, check out these resources to give you step-by-step instructions:
- A great primer video by Matthew Yu for linking Form data into PowerBITM
- IterationInsights is a website with nice background and steps.
Forms are NOT fail-safe! Out of the hundreds of forms I’ve created, I have learned that copying a form to create a new form can also create a complicated data structure behind the scenes. I no longer copy forms unless the new form is very similar with only a few changes needed. Also, I do not update live forms if possible (adding or deleting items) – creating a new form creates cleaner data on the back end for reporting. Finally, one lesson I must also share is that Office365TM is notorious for updating SharePoint permissions. When helping your users with the proper permissions, be sure to check regularly if there are access or refresh issues that there are not updates that are needed.
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