Deploying Microsoft Power BI to Generate Insights for Increasing Profitability and Improving Workflow Efficiencies

December 5, 2023 Amanda Sherry

When companies experience rapid growth and scale their operations by migrating to an enterprise ERP platform, they soon discover they have a lot more data to work with. This includes the new financial and operational data that the ERP system collects as well as information from third-party sources—such as industry sales data.  

If leveraged correctly, all this new data can provide insights to help management teams further accelerate company growth—as they analyze financial, sales, marketing, production, and distribution performance. Drilling into the numbers enables faster decisions on how to generate more revenue, operate more efficiently, and increase profitability. 

Extensive Chart of Accounts and Tables Require Complex Data Model 

That’s the opportunity Southwest Spirits wanted to seize on, shortly after deploying the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central ERP Platform. As the third-largest spirits distiller in Texas, Southwest Spirits is run by a team of industry-leading master blenders, distillers, marketers, packaging, and supply chain experts. 

The chart of accounts in Business Central is more extensive for Southwest Spirits compared to most businesses. That’s because of the highly-regulated spirits industry, plus the typical sales, marketing, and administrative transactions. The company also has a manufacturing facility, so there’s a wide range of data to extract for reporting. 

After identifying Microsoft Power BI as the tool that could efficiently extract and report on data from Business Central and third-party sources, the internal IT team needed help in building data models and data flows to accommodate the company’s large data set, which spans approximately 160 tables.  

The usual approach is to create smaller data sets aligned to each business area and then create table cross-overs. However, Southwest Spirits preferred the all-in method with the ability to drag and drop tables into different reports. 

Generating Financial, Production, Sales and Marketing Insights 

To solve the Power BI data modeling challenge and to go live quickly with enhanced reporting capabilities, Southwest Spirits turned to Western Computer. The management team considered other solution providers as well and chose to collaborate with us—not just as an implementation partner—but also as a business partner. 

To build the Power BI solution, we combined our experience in how Business Central works with how manufacturers and distributors use Power BI to generate reports. We worked with the Southwest Spirits data entities and built them into the reporting data model, using proprietary tools that we created for other customers in the wine and spirits industry. 

With Power BI and the new data model, Southwest Spirits is now generating insights in four key areas of its business:  

  • Financial—With the Business Central chart of accounts tracking detailed revenues and costs, the Power BI reports allow managers to determine if the numbers are in line as well as opportunities to improve. 
  • Production—Power BI helps evaluate manufacturing efficiency and where dollars and time are going so managers can make changes that allow the company to operate more profitably. 
  • Sales—managers can better understand product pricing as well as the brands, SKUs, and markets that are more profitable to focus on areas where the company can continue to grow. 
  • Marketing—Aligned with sales data, managers can leverage marketing data to measure the return on investment of campaigns and redirect funding to the most profitable activities. 

Guillermo Rodriguez, the Southwest Sprits CEO, commented on the value of Power BI: “As a small company, every single penny counts, and Power BI will allow us to evaluate our expenses and our revenue in ways that we simply cannot do otherwise. We can measure the business from a profitability, efficiency, and return on investment perspective across multiple data sources—with the ability to look at everything in one place and see what's working, what's not, and then make the necessary changes.” 

To learn more about how Southwest Spirits can now generate insights for increasing profitability and improving workflow efficiencies by deploying Microsoft Power BI, check out the complete project success story. And to find out how we can deliver the same benefits to your company, contact Western Computer today

About the Author

Amanda Sherry

As Director of Marketing at Western Computer, Amanda Sherry brings a wealth of knowledge from her nine-year tenure in the Microsoft Dynamics space. A seasoned professional who has worked extensively on the partner side, Amanda offers insights into Microsoft Dynamics applications' transformative impact on businesses.

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