Get your law firm’s data under control with Microsoft Power BI

Changing Data Needs

If your law firm’s data needs are changing over time, you are not alone. Due to advances in technology, law firms are capturing more and more data. This data is captured in a variety of ways. Both the sheer volume of information and the variety of data types have created a substantial challenge. Data structure and visualization have become much more difficult.

For example, your firm might have different software applications for accounting and client management. These were likely not designed to be integrated so that data from one program could be shared with the other. Perhaps your print cost recovery software has its own proprietary reporting system. Or maybe your document and case management applications have limited reporting capabilities.

Luckily, these issues are addressed by business intelligence (BI) software. BI software helps you manage your data, optimize its visualization, and create actionable insights.

What Is Business Intelligence?

Modern BI is a technology-driven process for analyzing and presenting data. BI facilitates informed decision making and strategic planning. Microsoft Power BI, in particular, is the tool of choice for many legal professionals. It allows law firms to evaluate the performance of individual attorneys, save money by tracking billing data, and manage risk more effectively.

How Does Microsoft Power BI Work?

Microsoft has made it easy for non-technical users to generate useful reports from vast swaths of data originating from a wide range of sources. Depending on what kinds of data you have and the reports that you want to view, you can be up and running with Power BI in about ten minutes. Whether your collection of data is on-premise or in the cloud, it is easily imported into the Power BI cloud service.

As soon as your data has been uploaded, you can create and present your reports on multiple devices. Through the use of live dashboards, custom visualizations, natural language queries, and report exploration, your firm will gain valuable insights into its business operations.

An Example of Power BI in Action

To illustrate the utility of Power BI in a legal setting, consider the following example. Suppose that you want to determine the effectiveness of the firm’s advertising efforts with respect to geographic location. Simply import a list of cities where you have advertised, as well as the fees collected per city. By viewing a graph with both data sets, you can visualize which locations are providing the best ROI.

While a bar graph or pie chart would be somewhat useful in this scenario, a geographical visualization with circles of different sizes and color saturation would be more suitable. The circles show the locations where you have spent advertising dollars. The lightness or darkness of a circle’s color indicate lower or higher amounts of ad spend, respectively. If certain high- and low-saturation areas are overlapping, you can see these as opportunities for reducing your ad spend in high-saturation areas. The overlapping low-saturation areas are doing a good job of attracting paying clients. If you’re advertising in two nearby cities, and it costs a lot more to advertise in one of them because of its larger population, but the smaller city is bringing in a significant amount of revenue, it makes sense to reduce your ad spend in the larger city.

Implement Power BI Today

Is your firm is struggling with the challenges of managing unstructured data and deriving actionable insights? We’d love to help you turn things around. Our consultants can help you leverage the capabilities of Microsoft Power BI as well as many other data management tools. Contact us to speak with one of our business intelligence consultants today. We’d love to make sense of your data, protect its security, and boost your firm’s productivity.

By | 2018-05-01T16:34:07+00:00 April 24th, 2018|Business Intelligence, Power BI|0 Comments

About the Author:

Daniel Gold is a lawyer, consultant, and technologist. He is also a nationally recognized author, public speaker, and podcaster. Daniel's mission is to make a difference in the lives of professionals at both work and in life. He is also regarded as an expert in both eDiscovery and IT managed services. Follow him on Twitter at @DanielGoldEsq.