Actionable Insights with Microsoft Power BI at TravelEdge Group

TravelEdge Group

Clade Solutions gives TravelEdge Group an enterprise-wide “Reporting Refresh”.

A need for organisation wide visibility

Following several months of widespread growth, the company faced an obstacle with their outdated internal reporting capabilities, hindering company progress through its error-prone structure. While taking this into account, it was agreed that a major overhaul was required to provide the leadership team with the information they needed for further growth.

CEO, Kim Wethmar, was concerned that the team lacked the required visibility to assist them in making informed business decisions. “As a travel management company, we have access to large data sets,” she says. “We not only require insights into the general operational data and trends but also need to surface sales activities, retention metrics, the financial health of the business in a single dashboard. On top of that, we’re a people business, and I am passionate about employee engagement. We worked very hard to build an open, feedback-driven culture and I like to have real-time insights into these key metrics.”

The TravelEdge Group conducted a rigorous selection process, before finally choosing Microsoft Power BI as the analytics platform and Clade as the partner to develop and implement an enterprise-wide “Reporting Refresh” Business Intelligence project. “We had already invested in the Microsoft Office 365 and Dynamics 365 platform, therefore Power BI was a logical choice for us,” says CIO Senthu Jegadheesan. “We shortlisted a few very strong BI specialists but Clade stood out for their travel industry experience, their expertise in both Power BI and Dynamics 365 and also their partnership approach.”

Simplify, automate and improve

The project’s primary objective was to simplify, automate and improve the internal reporting outputs and processes. The report formats needed to be standardized and delivered to authorized end users, anywhere and on any device. In total, 73 reports were defined. Finance was the key stakeholder and needed to take delivery in three months.

The project presented three major challenges:

  • The complexity of the system landscape; Data had to be extracted and transformed from a variety of sources, including a travel management automation software, online booking tools (OBT), finance, payroll, HR, contact centre management software, and Microsoft Dynamics 365 and SharePoint.
  •  Lack of a data dictionary; Critical to any BI project, a company-wide data dictionary describes the contents, format, and structure of the database and the relationships between its elements. This ensures, for example, that a particular debtor code is consistent across all systems.
  • Organisation-wide, cross-departmental reporting requirements; The CFO was the project sponsor and the largest stakeholder but the project encompassed ‘the whole organisation, including each department’ reporting requirements. As multiple data sources had to be combined, there was a significant amount of data extraction, transformation, and consolidation.

It used to take the team days to prepare our boards reports. now, with just a few clicks, we have the required information in the right format for our board members.

Gordon Timm, CFO, TravelEdge
An iterative approach

By following Clade’s carefully structured iterative approach and accommodation for progression, the heads of each department were continually engaged to ensure the dashboards and reports met expectations and the data was validated. The short release cycles of the developed data models and dashboards also allowed rapid feedback and updates.

Clade educated and trained TravelEdge Group’s power-users to become self-sufficient. As through BI projects in particular, once the data model and guidelines have been defined, the business users can design and deliver subsequent dashboards themselves.

TravelEdge Power BI Chart
Actionable insights at the executives’ fingertips

The new analytics platform met the key objectives of “Reporting Refresh” by simplifying, automating and improving the reporting processes and outputs. With comprehensive and easy-to-navigate dashboards, each department executive now has easy access to the information they need and are able to act on those insights immediately. “It’s still too early to do a full ROI on the project but we can already see an enormous improvement in productivity,” says CFO and project sponsor Gordon Timm. “It used to take the team days to prepare our boards reports. Now, with just a few clicks, we have the required information in the right format for our board members. I’m very excited about what the future holds and look forward to leveraging the platform to start answering some of the tough questions around budgeting and forecasting in the coming months.”

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