what does a bi consultant do

Power BI is a powerful tool for businesses. However, for business decision-makers, Power BI consulting is only as valuable as the knowledge of those wielding it. That’s where Power BI consultants come in. Let’s dive in. 

What Is Power BI?

Microsoft Power BI is a data visualization software. It is renowned for its top-tier capabilities, like being interactive, versatile, and agile. With the ability to visualize, transform, and model data, companies primarily use Power BI as a source of business intelligence. 

What Are The Roles And Responsibilities Of A Power BI Consultant?

Power BI is the first toolset to enable a genuinely agile, up-tempo delivery methodology in the business intelligence space, and even today, it remains the only platform actually to deliver on that promise. The expensive, slow, and ineffective BI projects of the past several decades can now be replaced with affordable, fast, and impactful sprints that move the needle on improving your business – instead of bogging you down in a spiral of sunk cost.

Accordingly, the most effective Power BI consultants are the ones who unlock that promise for their clients. In our experience, this means becoming a “decathlete” who fills multiple roles – roles that traditionally were spread out across a team of specialists.

Power BI Consultant vs. Developer: Why Decathletes Are the Future

The roles and skills required in a traditional BI project are all still required in a Power BI project. Those roles include:

  • Gathering requirements, understanding the client’s goals, and listening to feedback
  • Architecting the overall solution
  • Extracting, Transforming, and Loading data (ETL)
  • Creating a dimensional model of the organization’s data
  • Building reports and visualizations
  • Designing user experiences that meet the stakeholders’ needs

But even though the roles are the same, the job couldn’t be more different. Whereas most traditional BI consultants were (and still are) specialists who wore one hat, Power BI only reaches its potential when the primary consultant is competent in ALL of the roles.

Why is that? Well, the traditional, specialist-driven approach bogs down in a surprising – but evident in hindsight – place. Its Achilles heel is communication cost:

Power BI Consultant vs. Developer: Why Decathletes Are the Future


The specialist model requires TREMENDOUS amounts of communication – both between the client and the team AND then between the specialists on the team itself. Endless meetings. Massive requirements docs that take weeks to write before any actual work begins. Emails and instant messages. Decisions spread out across all mediums and were forgotten the next day.

All of that cost would be bad enough on its own, but all of that communication surface area also invariably leads to tremendous amounts of miscommunication – which wastes time and money on dead ends before spawning its own communication processes to correct it.

In total, this approach is almost entirely consumed by communication costs, and actual business improvement – the true original goal – gets insufficient traction:

Separate Model Chart

When you compress all of those roles into one person, though, the communication cost shrinks to the tiniest fraction of its traditional size, and business improvement gets the traction it deserves:

Decathlete Model Chart

When Does Hiring A Bi Consultant Make Sense For An Organization?

While Power BI consultants are often helpful, it doesn’t always make sense to hire one. However, if your business is generating around 25 million dollars or more annually, good Power BI consulting offers plenty of ROI. In addition to hitting these revenue numbers, other indicators that Power BI consulting may be right for you include if:

  • You are spending excess time manually creating reports
  • You rely heavily on spreadsheets for decision-making
  • Employees are trying to piece together reports from multiple sources
  • Bottlenecks in the reporting process cause delays in valuable information sharing


How Much Does Power Bi Consulting Cost?

The cost of a single Power BI consulting project can be clearly visualized as follows:

  1. Size of the Consulting Team * (B) Average Bill Rate * (C) Duration of the Project

Traditional BI consultants would typically charge a reasonable hourly rate (B) but employ sizeable teams (A) and drag the project out for many months beyond its original scope (C). This priced most small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs) out of BI but also put BI beyond the reach of individual departments in large enterprises as well. The minimum price tag started in the low six figures and quickly climbed toward seven figures as the projects overran their original budgets.

A good Power BI consultant might charge a slightly higher hourly rate than traditional BI consultants but more than offsets that with a smaller (often one-person) team and a dramatically shortened duration.

Typical Power BI projects consisting of a from-scratch data model and a set of evolving reports should start to deliver returns within the first $15-$20k of spending and reach completion around $50k in total cost.


What Is It Like To Work With A Power Bi Consultant From P3 Adaptive?

Working with a P3 Adaptive consultant feels like working with a human being – as opposed to a robotic developer or a slick salesperson. And a pretty exceptional human being at that – one who:

  • Quickly comes up to speed on the nuances of your business
  • Genuinely becomes your ally in realizing your ambitions and overcoming your obstacles
  • Possesses superhero-like technical skills to go with their human traits
  • Rapidly produces intermediate results for your crisp validation and feedback
  • Never wastes your time or money

Our experts can work with Power BI, Microsoft Fabric, Azure, and more, depending on your organization’s needs. To learn more or get started, contact us today