15 June 2020

PortaBI webinar video and highlights

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We recently hosted a webinar on PortaBI, our business intelligence tool for PortaSwitch. In case you missed it, here’s a video recording of the webinar, along with a brief summary of all the highlights.

In a survey at the beginning of the webinar, the majority of participants (68%) told us they had already tried to build a custom-made business intelligence reporting system — but each one also said they still had difficulties understanding many of the critical KPIs, such as the number of new registrations, churn rate, product profitability, or notifications on large decreases in traffic generated by key customers.

PortaBI was designed to face challenges like these and help you monitor all of the most important business KPIs — even those that are typically difficult to access.

Our webinar, which you can watch below, will show you how to:

  • Prevent revenue leaks
  • See the structure of your revenue and profit
  • Improve customer retention and reduce churn rate
  • Analyze the usage of your products and services
  • Explore your top customers and top vendors
  • Create custom reports to zoom in on any aspect of your business



Top Webinar Q&As:

Q: What reports can I generate in PortaBI? What if they don’t answer specific questions I have about my company?

A: Along with six predefined reports (revenue, profitability, usage, top vendors, top customers, and subscriber dynamics), PortaBI also lets you create custom reports using a simple and intuitive UI tool. No programming experience is required! Our predefined reports provide a very comprehensive view of your business, and you can apply filters to drill further down from the “big picture” and get a better understanding of your specific business questions. Then, if you have questions that are specific to your business, you can create as many of your own custom reports as you like — there are no limits. In the near future, we’ll also be adding more predefined report types to PortaBI — stay tuned.

Q: Is it possible to integrate PortaBI with other accounting platforms (Pastel / Quickbooks / Microsoft NAV)?

A: Not at this moment. In future releases of PortaBI, we’ll allow either exports of data to outside tools, or the ability to enrich data within PortaBI by adding info from other systems (ERP, CRM, etc.). This approach will give you a better understanding of your revenue within the context of cost.

You might also consider trying PortaOne IPaaS, which allows you to easily integrate PortaBilling with external platforms like Quickbooks or Microsoft NAV. After you have consolidated the relevant data in PortaBilling, it’s automatically exported to PortaBI. Stay tuned for a future webinar on PortaOne IPaaS in the weeks ahead.

Q: Is PortaBI available as a non-cloud-based solution?

A: PortaBI is only available through the cloud. Much of the power of this tool is driven by its cloud-based capabilities, including unlimited storage, fast scaling, live updates with new features and automatic integration to your existing PortaSwitch installation, even if it is running a release that is a few years old!

Q: Can PortaBI hold more than two months of data?

A: Yes — this is one of the main benefits of this tool. We know how valuable your business operation data is, and how important it is to your growth and success. That’s why we want you to keep it, access it easily, and have the ability to process it however you need to so you can get actionable information. PortaBI allows you to analyze your data for as long as you want, in any way you want, so you can see seasonal and historical trends and have a better understanding of your current situation.

Q: Can I see the data for multiple “virtual” environments in PortaSwitch within one PortaBI?

A: If you have different companies, affiliates, or business lines that need different billing environments, you need a separate PortaBI for each one. PortaBI is efficient at generating business intelligence because it does not combine the commercial or financial data of different entities. That efficiency will also help you easily manage multiple PortaBI environments.

Q: Can resellers have access to PortaBI?

A: Not in the current version. In the future, we plan to add this capability — though, obviously, resellers will only be able to see data that is specific to their business operations.

Q: Does PortaBI support multiple currencies?

A: At the moment, you must set what we call a “base” currency for your PortaBilling environment (the same one that is used for the built-in PortaBilling reports). We do, however, include data in your customers’ original currency. You can use that data to create custom reports in any given regional currency.

Q: If we start using PortaBI, will we lose our existing access to the PortaBilling database to run SQL queries or custom reports?

A: No. You will always have the ability to access your existing databases and run your own reports. But PortaBI will give you more storage, a simpler data model, extensive records of your current and past business operations, and more intuitive tools that let you create custom reports for your specific needs.

Q: Do I need a software update on my existing PortaSwitch installation to start using PortaBI?

A: Absolutely not. To start using PortaBI we will add a PortaBI agent to your existing software version. To minimize the impact, we developed the agent to run as a Docker container. Docker is an "isolation" software that runs code in containers — mini virtual machines. So, by design, the code in the container does not interfere with any other PortaSwitch components you have installed and does not have access to any resources on your system unless explicitly permitted. The support team will install the Docker software itself (from a standard Linux package), then apply a new configuration that allows the docker to access the replica database — in read-only mode. Then the PortaBI container image is downloaded from the PortaOne server and started. When it runs, it extracts and aggregates the CDR data, and stores the result in local files, which are then transmitted to the cloud. That’s it! The docker and PortaBI agent software will have no impact whatsoever on your live services and there’s no need for a software update.

Q: Can I use PortaBI if the PortaSwitch release I’m running is not the latest?

A: Yes, because we do not alter the actual PortaSwitch code and just add a Docker container image — PortaBI can be used in conjunction with any PortaSwitch release, starting with MR55!

Q: Will there be more reports available out-of-the-box?

A: Definitely yes! PortaBI was created as a result of a product design sprint, where we conducted multiple interviews with PortaOne customers and collected their suggestions and feedback (warm thanks to those who participated!). At this moment we have many more items in our feature backlog. We plan to move forward via agile 2-week sprints, introducing a new functionality in each sprint. Your PortaBI instance will be updated automatically, so you will get access to new reports as soon as they are released.

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