What are Power BI and Power Automate
Power BI and Power Automate are applications that are part of the Microsoft Power Platform.
Power BI is a tool that can connect to many data sources, creating interactive reports that include charts and visualisations to present data concisely.
Power Automate is a tool you can use to automate processes. This can be beneficial for increasing productivity by automating manual processes. Automated processes created with Power Automate are called "flows". Power Automate can connect to many services; the list of power automate connectors is increasing all the time.
How Power BI is used at the University
The University currently has a specialist Power BI team within the DDaT (Digital Data and Technology) department. The team focuses on organisation-wide projects aligned with the University's strategy and priorities to help the University gain insights from data, and inform its decision making.
For example, one of the organisation-wide tools that Power BI has been used for is the Pi Budget Report Tool, an online dashboard for your budgets and accounts to help you manage them more easily.
How Power Automate is used at the University
The University currently has a specialist Power Platform team within the DDaT (Digital Data and Technology) department that focuses on organisation-wide projects to develop products and services that automate tasks and workflows, streamline processes and increase productivity.
Several University applications have now been built by DDaT which benefit from Power Automate functionality. They have been designed and created with departments so that they achieve organisational requirements and have included pilot stages and rigorous testing to ensure potential risks are managed.
Using Power BI and Power Automate for your personal use
If you use Power BI or Power Automate, you are working in your personal and individual area.
Examples of how you could use Power Automate for your individual use include:
- Creating an alert to tell you when your lunch is over.
- Scheduling a flow to inform you of the weather forecast.
- Emailing yourself a list of upcoming Calendar events.
Risks you will need to consider and manage
As you are working in your individual workspace, you are responsible for managing the reports and flows you create. Power BI and Power Automate are powerful tools, so you will need to consider and manage the potential risks for anything your create, such as:
- Information security, including GDPR, confidentiality, and your responsibilities for data or information leaks as detailed within the University’s Data Protection Policy.
- Disruption to your work if your reports and flows have been set up incorrectly.
- Triggering IT Security alerts if your flows create activities which look suspicious.
- Impacts to your flows when you change your University password, or when your Personal Productivity Environment is deleted when you leave the University.
Using the Power BI and Power Automate for your team or department
If you have a project which you think would benefit from a Power Platform solution, please submit an enquiry to DDaT via TOPdesk.
To help the University make wider use of these tools, we plan to develop a programme of activities. This will give selected individuals the knowledge and skills to safely develop, manage and maintain reports and flows for your team or department.