Turn Power BI Limitations into Limitless Data-Driven Insights with Full Data Integration

Microsoft Power BI is a popular tool to help law firm leaders work with data. However, data connectivity issues often stand in the way of unlocking Power BI’s full potential, particularly when attempting to access data stored in legal practice management software (PMS) systems. 

This struggle prevents many law firms from efficiently transitioning to data-driven decision-making, as they must continue to rely on manual data aggregation techniques and inefficient processes. Business challenges go unaddressed, insights remain untapped, and potential is unrealized.  

But, where we encounter challenges, we also discover opportunities. It turns out that there is more than one way to tap into the knowledge hidden in your data. It is just a matter of finding your firm's ideal set of tools. 

Below, you’ll see how law firms find new ways to overcome their data connectivity challenges, aided by modern business intelligence (BI) solutions (more specifically BigHand's BI solution), and how your firm can do the same.  

Challenge: Achieving comprehensive data access and using appropriate analytical tools.  

Many law firms have invested in PMS platforms to capture valuable data, including billable hours, client interactions, and financial transactions. Yet, despite the promise of PMS, using that data to make smarter decisions and optimize performance remains a major hurdle.   

To turn data into actionable insights, firms need more than basic reporting. They require robust connections among their PMS and other software systems to support the automated flow of data. They need advanced tools to perform tailored, in-depth analyses. Yet, many firms are stuck between a rock and a hard place because:   

  1. Basic PMS dashboards often fall short, lacking the depth and flexibility for deep-dive, real-time financial analyses, forecasting, and the discovery of strategic insights. Leaders miss opportunities with only a partial view of firm performance. 
  2. Meanwhile, Power BI alone often struggles to pull and integrate data from PMS systems effectively and can require specialised skills to formulate the right views. Incomplete data connectivity leaves relevant data points scattered and out of reach.  

To counter these issues, many firms still resort to manual data extraction and manipulation in Excel, a time-consuming and error-prone process.  

Challenge amplifier: Limited data access prevents timely financial reporting.  

These manual data collection and analysis processes grow particularly burdensome during end-of-month and quarterly financial reporting periods. As staff members scramble to compile the most relevant and up-to-date data in a tight timeframe, they must wade through a maze of standalone spreadsheets and static reports, armed only with the limited power of copy-and-paste. As a result, firm decision-makers experience: 

  • Delayed financial reporting. Financial reporting and analysis are delayed by days and even weeks. Outdated data can negatively influence decisions that then affect performance.   
  • Inaccurate financial insights. Without a real-time, holistic view of the firm’s performance and financial data, leaders may base decisions on incomplete or erroneous information.  
  • Reduced efficiency. The time staff spends manually compiling, reviewing, and correcting financial reports diverts significant resources away from core activities.  

Two approaches to solving financial data access and legal analytics challenges.  

Most firms cannot settle for a cookie-cutter approach to data access. Law firm leaders are implementing dynamic strategies to overcome their data connectivity issues and analytics hurdles. Two fundamental approaches are:   

1. Integrating a data warehouse with Microsoft Power BI.  

Combine a BigHand data warehouse with Power BI to unlock the full potential of your data.   

A central data warehouse aggregates all your firm’s data, making it readily accessible for Power BI analysis. Enriched data supports more advanced, statistical reporting and predictive modelling in Power BI. Automatic data transferring and information sharing across the firm’s software systems and departments eliminates manual data entry and replication.   

2. Implementing a BigHand ‘Light’ BI Solution.  

Many firms adopt a ‘light’ version of the BigHand Business Intelligence solution to achieve the same goals as a fully integrated data warehouse.  

Pre-built dashboards and reports tailored for law firms provide immediate value without requiring a complex setup or extensive data modelling expertise. Simplified, role-based dashboards require minimal training and democratise data access for informed decision-making across the firm.   

Full data access provides business intelligence for financial savings. 

With modern BI tools at their fingertips, your team members can access capabilities far more advanced than copy-and-paste. Either approach allows you to take full advantage of your existing software investments with a solution that fits your firm's size and technical capabilities. Avoid costly duplicate software purchases while enabling your firm to:  

1. Easily integrate data from multiple sources.   

Connect data from across the firm for a complete and unified view of firm operations, finances, and client relationships, including key performance indicators across all practice areas and departments. Enhance decision-making with insights based on facts that help identify areas of opportunity and risk.  

2. Automate financial reporting.  

Automate data collection and report generation for more efficient financial reporting cycles. Team members can generate accurate and up-to-date reports relying on templates that instantly populate with fresh data. Tailor dashboards and automated reports to the needs of specific roles and users and drill down to view more granular data.  

3. Enable real-time financial data monitoring.   

Continually monitor critical financial metrics like WIP, accounts receivable, and expenses up to the minute. Identify potential issues early and make informed adjustments. Transparent, auditable processes help ensure data integrity and reporting accuracy, increasing leaders’ confidence in financial results.   

4. Perform advanced data analytics.   

With complete data visibility, you can drill down into data over time and perform sophisticated analytics that produce more impactful insights. Analyze historical data and trends to predict future cash flow, resource allocation, and profitability. Proactively monitor and use data to develop more accurate matter budgets, assess which cases to pursue, improve client relationships, and more.  

Technology offers more options than ever, and you can often find several ways to get where you want to be. If you’re ready to transition to real-time data-driven practices, speak with one of our BI experts today to discuss your current needs and how a light version of our BI solution could add value. We’ll discover how best to connect your systems to improve your firm’s financial efficiency, accuracy, and timeliness with time-tested, scalable solutions.   

About BigHand Business Intelligence

BigHand’s Legal Business Intelligence is the most advanced BI solution for law firms. It’s flexible, autonomous and source agnostic data warehouse solution, replaces manual law firm finance reporting with a real-time digital overview of your financial data.

Specifically tailored for lawyers, finance and management teams, it strips the complexity away from the mountains of information you generate. The self-service tool gives users controlled access to the appropriate legal finance data which can be quickly and easily shown through any visualization tool of choice, including PowerBI.

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