The Practice Engine data warehouse: enhancing your reporting

IRIS Practice Engine
By Mari Sharpe | 08/04/2020 | 3 min read

Practice Engine Data Warehouse (PEDW) is a simplified version of the main Practice Engine production database that has been optimized for business intelligence reporting and data visualization.

It uses a Star Schema* tabular warehouse representation of almost all key data in Practice Engine’s production database.

The structure of the PE Data Warehouse has been created to work well with Microsoft Power BI.

Although Power BI is not required for reporting out of the PE Data Warehouse, it is recommended.

What is the challenge that PEDW helps with?

As more firms are exploring self-service and business intelligence reporting, they want to be able to achieve in-house reporting demands as well as a means to combine their data with CRM, sales, IT, and other data sources within the environment of the major data visualization tools.

Furthermore, running complex reports via the production database will adversely affect the overall performance of Practice Engine. Processing large reports which take more than a moment or two to run, can block the application transactions slowing the whole system down for everyone else.

How does it provide a solution?

Practice Engine Data Warehouse is a simplified version of the main Practice Engine database that has been optimized for creating and running larger and more complex reports with business intelligence software.

The advantages of the Data Warehouse include that it will allow for those complex reports without affecting the production site. You can avoid slowing down the performance of the system and any related problems that occur because of this.

The PEDW enables users to connect a multitude of reporting solutions to Practice Engine data without needing to navigate the production database, or conflict with active users of the application.

What are the key benefits?

  • Empowers you to meet demands for running larger, complex reports.
  • Allows you to quickly query data ad-hoc for reporting without adversely affecting the speed and performance of the main Practice Engine production database and portal.
  • PEDW data is easy to access and use compared to the main production database.
  • Access to a bundle of standardized Microsoft Power BI reports using PEDW with your branding.

What other advantages does it offer?

  • Enables you to achieve in-house reporting demands through implementing Microsoft Power BI reports or another type of business intelligence and data visualization software, based off the Practice Engine database.
  • Provides a means to combine your PE data with your CRM, sales, IT, and other data sources within the environment of the major data visualization tools.
  • Allows you and your staff to quickly access your data for reporting in Microsoft Power BI or another business intelligence software without impacting the performance of the main database and PE portal.
  • PEDW fits to the requirements of multiple data visualization tools and technologies like Tableau, QlikView, Excel, the Microsoft Power Suite (Automate, Power Apps, Power BI)
  • Customers have access to specialized training including a Power BI Orientation session providing guidance on the use of the PE Data Warehouse and Standardized Power BI Reports.

What types of data table are on offer?

  • It provides a wide range of Data Table types.
  • Access to these tables, which relate back to the main Practice Engine production database, brings together many pieces of information into a more simplified organization of your data.
  • The Data Table types include: FactWorkInProgress, FactReceivable, FactOpportunity, FactStaffPerformace, FactStaffBudgets, FactJobBudgets, DimClient, DimClientPartner, DimCharge, DimJob, DimJobPartner, DimJobManager, DimService, DimTasks, DimStaff, DimTransType, DimPeriod, and many more.
  • Key entity tables (Clients, Services, Job, Tasks) come in two variants – one showing the historical version of the entity as it was at the time transactions are raised against them; and one always showing the current properties. This enables you to easily report on Time Entered by Service Partner as at the time of the Timesheet posting, or based on the Service Partner active right now.

Although there is a fee for maintaining information within the Practice Engine Data Warehouse, customers who take advantage of PEDW with Microsoft Power BI will find that the benefits of a secure data structure with access to powerful, intelligent reporting across the business far outweigh the cost.

For more information on Microsoft Power BI and Data Visualization, visit here.