Learn how a regional government agency established a strong but agile data governance strategy to boost data accessibility without sacrificing data security.
Skypoint recently engaged with a regional government agency serving over 1.7 million people across several counties. Their Waste Prevention and Environmental Services group works with the communities, local businesses, and residents to manage resources and plan for the future while protecting the things they love about the region.
Previously, the organization used an on-premise version of Power BI but decided that a premium, cloud-based option was the only way to get what they needed out of the product. This migration to a cloud platform had to be handled strategically, though, to properly implement their analytics capabilities and data governance policies throughout their large organization.
The organization’s senior data scientist and BI developer was part of the team overseeing this transition. He knew that he needed expert guidance to do it right. So he teamed up with Skypoint Cloud to both implement Power BI Service and develop a reliable governance model to help employees use the platform responsibly.
For this government agency, cloud implementation was a completely new territory since, up until this point, they had already been an on-premise organization. And a lot was at stake since the organization handles large amounts of resident data.
They had to navigate these uncertainties and potential risks carefully while addressing three different work streams simultaneously:
Their IT team was extremely cautious about data security and access. The client’s internal project lead pointed to a specific security concern, stating, “We were cautious about the Power BI services capabilities of publishing content outside of our firewall because of its fairly liberal default permissions settings.”
The client’s IT team needed to ramp up their Azure expertise before supporting BI developers and other users within the organization. Simultaneously, BI developers and business users were impatient about the pace of adoption. They felt restrained by IT and wanted to start using Power BI Service as quickly as possible.
The team was juggling many goals and concerns as they navigated the steep learning curve and the project’s complexity.
This regional government agency decided to work with Skypoint Cloud because of their existing positive relationship as their on-call service providers for their IT department. They felt they would be the team to help them tackle this important transition.
“Skypoint Cloud has a pretty stellar reputation in the Microsoft data space. So they were a natural fit for us,” the project lead said.
The organization approached Skypoint to support them with three critical pieces:
We split the project into three parallel components—data governance, admin training, and implementation—to address all the requirements while allowing the team to efficiently move forward.
Migrating to the cloud was a major transition for this government agency. We helped their team ease the concerns by educating stakeholders on the benefits of Power BI Service and securing buy-in from admins, the IS (Information Security) team, and business users.
We also illustrated how Power BI Service delivers more benefits over the on-prem report server as we built the data governance model. Our dedicated training reinforced these messages to drive adoption.
“Skypoint Cloud’s trainings helped us actually get our hands dirty in the Power BI Service,” said the project lead. The team benefited from the hands-on training and passionate communication style of the Skypoint team to not only understand the complex concepts that were coming into play but also to get excited about this next phase in their data journey.
The project achieved three main goals to put this government agency on the path to robust data governance and the democratization of data:
1. A Labeling Policy for Power BI Assets
We designed and implemented a labeling policy for all of their Power BI assets. The sensitivity label allows developers and users to see what the content is, how sensitive it is, and what they can or can’t do with it.
A triaging framework based on the content’s criticality was also established. This helps developers understand the documentation and governance requirements as well as their responsibilities in ensuring data security and supporting the content over time.
2. A Single Source of Truth
Our training showed this team how to reuse datasets in Power BI—a capability not available through the report server. The feature allows them to separate the data model from reporting and create a single source of truth that connects to all reports.
Furthermore, we set up separate workspaces for datasets and reports to support the governance policy.
3. A Documentation Model for Governance Policies
Their team also received a documentation model with governance policies for content ownership and sensitive content labeling.
The governance model details the logistical components of how developers should implement each policy at the artifact level. It also outlines the monitoring and auditing components so admins can become workspace stewards to ensure compliance.
The documentation established a foundation on which their team can build their data practice. For example, they have developed a workspace user guide to support the governance model, and they are working on a Center of Excellence and an enterprise-wide data governance project as part of the BI roadmap.
Skypoint Cloud helped the organization implement workflows and governance policies to facilitate self-service BI. The effort democratizes data—putting insights and information in the hands of more people to support accurate decision-making while promoting security and trust in data throughout the organization.
We help teams and organizations of all sizes leverage Power BI to transform their data strategies. Get in touch to see how we can help you achieve data governance and accessibility.