Generate Routine Reports in Seconds, Not Hours: An Example

I’m new to engaging with the online world and I’ve found the idea of writing a blog to an unknown audience quite unappealing. ¬†While we hope other people also benefit from reading our blog, I wanted to say “Hello” to those for whom it’s intended.

Hello ūüĎ謆 to Gabi,¬†Wicus, Janeli, Jonni, Chris, Jochen, Alan, Mahao, Grant (x2), Bhekezakhe, Nonku, Bryan, Warwick, Luan, Graeme, Siya, Graham, Rory, Abdulla, David, Ashleigh, Mbusiseni, Naresh, Janet, James, John, Linda, Paul, Eric, Janine (x2), Carl, Michelle, Noxolo, Josh, Sharon, Greig, Daya and Dayne. ¬†It’s great to have you connected to our community in some or other way.

After trying for a while to develop a financial reporting tool we realised ¬†that in South Africa right now, people aren’t ready for “query-based” reporting because they don’t know what’s possible. What we’re trying to do over the next while is to let¬†people experience it and give us feedback. ¬†We’ll do that primarily through this blog so please have a read and tell us what you like.

North Beach Park Run – Power BI

I have written at the end of a previous blog about how we came to develop something fun around North Beach Park Run.  Currently I run the report manually for the parkrun volunteers every week and so while I did it I thought I would share with you the process so that you can see how easy it is.

Here is the end result (note the report is interactive so click to filter and explore data):

Signup for the Community

The reason I’ve mentioned certain people in this blog is that¬†we’ve been involved with¬†some or other data project with you. ¬†We’d like to gauge your interest in participating more actively in the community particularly around Power BI so please drop a comment on this blog post or click on this link to signup and indicate how you’d like to be a part.


For those who are interested, here’s how the report refresh happens:

Generating a New Report In 5 Clicks

Aside from the time it takes to load data and publish the reports and the fact that we’re using a spreadsheet as a database (we have our reasons – @Dayne, @James, @John: this an example of where incremental load is necessary and easy in Excel), this report takes about 20 seconds of my time!

Here’s the process of querying and refreshing data (click on image to enlarge):

1. Load the event history from the web Click Refresh in Excel (Source: North Beach Park Run Event History)

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This generates this result (see the table has event 250 in the top row)

2. Compare Previous Load to Current – “Click Refresh in Excel

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This query looks at event history and finds data for event 249 since the last load but not for event 250

3. Load new run results in the Results table¬†– “Click Refresh in Excel” (Source:¬†Results for Event 250)

Screenshot (40)

We can see the individual results now loaded for event 250

4. Load all the Data into PowerBI¬† – “Click Refresh in Power BI

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The data refreshing from the spreadsheet

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And now event 250 appears…

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5. Publish the report to web (overwrite existing)¬†– “Click Publish in¬†Power BI

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The report loads to Power BI web

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And publishes what is embedded above

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And there we have it – 5 clicks and the volunteers from North Beach parkrun have their data (as well as anyone else in the world who is interested)

One Response to Generate Routine Reports in Seconds, Not Hours: An Example

  • Very Awesome Braddo! I’m super excited to see where this takes south africa! We have such valuable data out there that is not being used to make make better decisions.

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