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Building a one-stop shop What Microsoft IT and Corporate, External, and Legal Affairs have built

is rigid at the core and flexible at the edges. This means the quality and

for business data needs consistency of line-of-business and corporate data are rigid, but the platform
allows us the flexibility to access the data however and whenever we want.

Curtis Cole, Business Analytics and Insights Program Manager, CELA

Even at the highest levels of business, decision making can be a somewhat mysterious artpart rational and part irrational. But whats
clear is that the key to great decision making is the ability to synthesize the sometimes-overwhelming volume of incoming information.

Todays frenetic and intensely competitive global technology market makes sound decision making even more complex. Business
leaders must deal with a constant flux in the political and regulatory environment, a nonstop news cycle, proliferation of social
channels, and an ever-changing pool of stakeholders, including investors, customers, employees, the media, and the wider community.
For most companies, successfully navigating this landscape falls to the corporate affairs office. It must operate strategically,
anticipate future possibilities, and leverage business transformationsand even disruptionsas communication opportunities.
Answering difficult Improving day-to-day data
questions To gain the insights it needs to answer

At Microsoft, the Corporate, External, its varied constituents and support the

and Legal Affairs (CELA) office covers ideals of Microsoft, CELA tracks and stores

a wide swath. It is responsible for a huge volume of data from numerous

overseeing the corporate law function, line-of-business applications, spreadsheets,

corporate communications, government SharePoint lists, and shadow databases

relations, public affairs, stakeholder that capture different project and financial

engagement, and community relations. details. These unwieldy sources of data

And it must guide the company and and the complexity in the number of

its leaders through what are often point solutions for producing a report

unchartered waters. CELA works at the made it difficult to deliver accurate and

intersection of business and regulatory up-to-date information to the business.

issues, protecting more than 35,000 The department wanted to speed the

Microsoft patents, managing hundreds process of acquiring and integrating

of millions of dollars worth of incoming the appropriate data and create a

invoices, overseeing the immigration platform that would allow a diverse set of

process for thousands of employees usersincluding staff attorneys, outside

around the world, and administering the counsel, financial experts, and licensing

millions of dollars raised and donated professionalsto find the data they

by the company and its employees. needed and easily report the findings.

CELAs mission is to pioneer innovative To create a one-stop shop for all its

solutions that advance the business, earn business data, CELA teamed up with

the publics trust, and build the companys Microsoft IT to build a platform to

enduring value. In the course of meeting consolidate and process data using

this mission, it must answer to countless Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services

constituents across the business. As such, Tabular Model on SQL Server 2014. In

it is expected to be a source of knowledge this new solution, a centralized IT team

and insight into both macro and micro acquires the corporate data from multiple

trends as they apply to the companys line-of-business applications, hosts the

intersection with the wider world. People infrastructure, and provides backups,

want to know: How should we forecast hardware, and security. Because the data

our spending for product development? is now centrally stored and managed,
How much revenue does a certain CELA can more easily govern the flow

copyright or trademark generate? How of data, eliminate redundancies, and

is the company measuring against its improve the accuracy of the findings.

goals for hiring women and minorities?


The new streamlined data pipeline also
These are the numbers that tell the
allows users to avoid the sometimes-
story of Microsoft as a forward-leaning
lengthy and inflexible change request
business and an innovative brand.

Customer Name: Microsoft Corporate, External, and Legal Affairs (CELA) Customer Profile:
Industry: Technology Microsoft Corporate, External, and Legal Affairs (CELA) is responsible
Country or Region: Global for overseeing the corporate law function, corporate communications,
Customer Website: https://microsoft.sharepoint.com/sites/lcaweb/home government relations, public affairs, stakeholder engagement, and
Employee Size: 1300 community relations. CELA pioneers innovative solutions that advance the
Partner Name: Microsoft IT business, earn the publics trust, and build the companys enduring value.
process and the involvement of software of business and corporate data are rigid
engineers to fix production issues. and very solid, but the platform allows
Important financial reports that once us the flexibility to access the data pretty
took up to 36 hours to turn around now much however and whenever we want.
take only a few hours. By re-architecting
By bringing disparate sources of data
our back end with SQL Server 2014,
under one roof, SQL Server 2014 and
we now know the widely disparate
Power BI are improving the quality of the
data were using is being acquired and
By re-architecting our back end with data and reducing the time and costs
processed consistently and is available
SQL Server 2014, we now know the widely associated with managing it. For CELA,
centrally for our globally distributed
disparate data were using is being improved data quality equals improved
users, says Curtis Cole, Business Analytics
acquired and processed consistently and productivity and decision making.
and Insights Program Manager, CELA.
is available centrally for our globally Users can now quickly turn data into
We can troubleshoot when things
distributed users. We can troubleshoot insights to support the most important
go wrong and fix them quickly. Users
when things go wrong and fix them public-facing Microsoft projects.
can have confidence in the accuracy
quickly. Users can have confidence in the of the data, and the Power BI solution To learn more about how Microsoft
accuracy of the data, and the Power BI on the front end means they can get Philanthropies, a division of Microsoft
solution on the front end means they can visualizations in a timely manner. CELA, is improving its data pipeline
get visualizations in a timely manner.
and reporting by taking it to the

Curtis Cole, Business Analytics and Building confidence Azure cloud, read the customer story
here: Microsoft giving writ large.
Insights Program Manager, CELA
The Microsoft SQL Server Analysis
Services Tabular Model connects easily
with Power BI, Excel, and other end-user
interfaces via the Enterprise Gateway
to create a hybrid reporting solution
that users can access themselves. With
this new reporting and analytics portal,
users can easily access standardized
reports, analyze line-item transaction
details from their invoices, open them
to change filters or the layout, save their
local copy, and refresh it as needed.

They can then expose the data to Power


BI to create end-to-end reporting and
provide analysis and visualization. What
Microsoft IT and Corporate, External, and
Legal Affairs have built is rigid at the core
and flexible at the edges, says Cole. This
means the quality and consistency of line

Software
Microsoft SQL Server 2014
- Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services Tabular Model
Microsoft Power BI

This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN
THIS SUMMARY. Document published April 2016.