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Analytics Accelerator

Book an office hour appointment to discuss if the Analytics Accelerator or other CalData service offerings are right for you.

Overview

The Analytics Accelerator is a holistic approach to help your department or program move from manual, high effort reporting to streamlined and automated reporting.
Move from manual to automated reporting in order to free up your data teams time for more meaningful tasks
Many departments face a variety of public and internal reporting requirements. For some departments, these reports are done in Excel then output as static charts and PDFs. A sizable portion of analysts’ time is used to meet these recurring reporting requirements and other manual data tasks.
The Analytics Accelerator aims to both free up analyst's time and provide them with new skills to tackle new analytic challenges. During a 1-3 month engagement, we will train a cohort of department analysts in PowerBI.
PowerBI is a dashboarding tool included in the latest statewide Microsoft Office licensing contract. This means that there is no cost for most departments to use this tool. Not familiar with PowerBI? See this brief overview video.
This service moves beyond the limitations of individual ‘tool based’ training to a more holistic approach:
  • Cohort training model. Groups of data staff learn together so that the department benefits as a whole.
  • Wraparound support. Training doesn’t end in the classroom but includes consultation, office hours, and documentation.
  • IT engagement. Special engagement is available for IT staff interested in leveraging and governing PowerBI.
  • Train the trainer model. The training also incorporates a train the trainer model for select staff, and provides the materials for them to train other staff after the engagement has ended.
The goal of this service is to help an entire data team upskill their data practices. This service is based on a successful program launched by CalData staff in the City and County of San Francisco.
Visit our showcase to see past public sector analytics accelerator engagements
Watch a 7 minute presentation on the Analytics Accelerator to hear more about this service

How this service can help your department

This service can help your department:
  • Automate your reporting using dashboard tools
  • Upskill the Excel pros on your team by teaching them PowerBI
  • Alleviate concerns around governance and security that may be blocking your teams adoption of PowerBI
  • Develop user friendly dashboards for your leadership and management
  • Create accessible, enticing public reporting

Who is a good fit for this service

This service is a good fit for:
  • Data & analytic team or Program team leads who want to upskill an entire team or group
  • Department leadership and management who wants to have dashboards for key operational areas
  • Analytics or reporting or program staff who want access to tools to make their day to day life easier and learn new workflow practices to maximize data work
  • IT staff who want to empower their program side to better use their data in a secure and governed reporting tool
This service may not be a good fit for:
  • Programs that have already automated their reports. If you have already automated all of your reports and key measures (e.g. no manual prep in Excel etc), you probably don’t need this service. NOTE: But if you are interested in migrating to PowerBI, this service will help you do that quickly.
  • Programs that need to change or automate data collection. The service helps automate the analytics portion of the report process. It is designed to work with existing data that is already collected in the format or structure you need.
  • A la carte training. This service requires that analysts complete each training module. The trainings build on each other and are meant to be taken holistically not a la carte.
  • Individual training. This service is designed to train whole teams together as a cohort. We’ve learned that this is the best way to make an enduring department impact.
  • Departments without data or analyst staff. The training assumes a baseline analytical ability. More in our section on expectations.

What this service includes

The Analytics Accelerator is more than traditional training, and includes wrap around support:
All analytics accelerator engagements will involve working on actual department work products (report, dashboard, etc) in parallel to the training. Successful completion of the Accelerator involves the successful completion of these reports. Read below for more
During the engagement period (1-3 months) participants will participate in:
Scoping Session
Needs assessment meeting to identify how to structure the training and which components to prioritize. Identification of pilot reports to be working on in parallel to course work.
Program Staff Training/Offerings
Courses/Workshops/Other group engagements
  • Intro to PowerBI (10 hrs)
  • Intermediate PowerBI: Data Structure and Modelling (10 hrs)
  • Intermediate PowerBI: DAX (10 hrs)
  • Data Visualization Best Practices (6 hrs)
  • User Centered Dashboard Design (5 hrs)
  • PowerBI Service, Security & Governance (9 hrs)
  • Special Review Session as needed
(Optional) IT staff Training/Offerings
  • Curated Selection of Program Staff Trainings
  • PowerBI tenant settings check up mtg
  • PowerBI Governance dashboard creation
  • PowerBI Governance patterns
Project Review Sessions
Targeted application of learnings on a priority department dashboard(s) and report(s), with extensive consulting and coaching from the CalData team. Dashboard will be selected at beginning of engagement during scoping session and worked on until engagement ends via special Project Review sessions
Train the trainer
Extra training for department PowerBI champions so they continue to support onboarding new staff to PowerBI
Office Hours & Consulting Appointments
1:1 Consulting to support completion of pilot dashboards. As well as assessment of absorption and application of data concepts and learning to pilot reports.
After the engagement, staff will have access to:
Enduring recorded CalData training materials & documentation
Extended Access to Office Hours for Department PowerBI Champions for advanced consultation and technical assistance
PowerBI Champion access to special advanced training materials

Expectations of department partners

Types of participants

The engagement can be tailored to a wide range of staff familiarity with PowerBI
  • Beginners - Perfect for the accelerator
  • Intermediate - Maybe your department already had staff attend an '8-hour bootcamp' for PowerBI. There is still enormous value in scoping an engagement. Often those bootcamps dont teach best practices and this gap ends up holding back teams from their full potential.
  • Advanced - maybe you are Advanced PowerBI whiz, but want to help bring along others in your department but it feels overwhelming. Lets partner!
There are no restrictions to staff based on group affiliation or classification. Data Teams, Program Teams, IT teams etc are welcome. But there are some things we do require. See below section for more

Expectations

Below are the expectations departments will need to meet to use this service:
  • Staff cohort. You must identify a group of staff to participate. This service is not designed for 1 or 2 analysts, but for whole teams or groups.
  • Existing staff skill level. Staff to be trained in PowerBI at minimum should be experienced and comfortable with Excel pivot tables. The program assumes a baseline analytic competency and moves at a quick pace to maximize analyst time. It is not designed to take non-data staff and teach them data skills.
  • Data ready for reporting. This service does not help create new data or turn manual data collection processes into automatic ones. The traditional applicant will have a data source (ex. csv/Excel file or SQL table or database) pulled from a source system that they have access to for processing in their existing reporting tool (e.g. Excel).
  • Data leadership participation. Data or Program leaders should be active participants in the process. They will help shape the engagement at an initial Analytics Assessment meeting and will be required to participate in a regular progress meeting to ensure alignment.
  • PowerBI Champions. CalData will work with you to identify department PowerBI leaders for additional training and investment.
  • Organizational commitment and prioritization.
    • Dedicated staff time. The program consists of a mix of training, course work, project work. This will involve a significant time investment (~80 hours) spread out over 2-3 months.
    • Department reporting project. Departments will need to identify reports with business impact for staff to build as they go through the course.
    • IT partnership (or participation). This program is designed for partnership (and ideally) participation with department IT departments. At minimum IT should be willing partners to install PowerBI, enable PowerBI licenses, and establish workspaces ahead of the training to enable department participation. CalData can walk them through this process.
  • Presenting and Disseminating. Part of our goal is to document and communicate what we learn and accomplish so both other departments and jurisdictions can benefit. We will need input and feedback and some participation from departments in this process. See examples in the showcase section.
Unsure about any of the above expectations? Book an office hour appointment to discuss how the Analytics Accelerator or other CalData service offerings could be scoped for your need.