Congratulations, you’ve purchased Helm CONNECT!  You’ve gone through the data collection, super user training, end user training, and data entry.  You’ve put a lot of work into customizing the system so it works for your company.  You’ve been successful in your change management.  Your teams are entering data in a timely fashion and your system is quickly filling up with information.

Now, how do you visualize all that glorious data?  Enter Power BI.

Power BI is a Microsoft tool for manipulating data, visualizing business analytics, and gleaning a competitive advantage.  It empowers you to create dashboards that summarize your company-wide metrics into succinct visuals, allowing you to make informed, data-driven decisions. Your dashboards can be viewed on all devices, allowing you to explore your data at any time.


Case Study: The Fuel Tracking Dashboard


Fuel consumption overview

One of the most common requests we get is for a way to track fuel consumption, running hours, and oil usage, so let’s take a look at a dashboard we built to check fuel consumption at a glance. The prominent horizontal blue bars indicate how much fuel has been consumed by each vessel.  Hover your mouse over a specific vessel’s blue bar, and the tool tip tells you the vessel name, its fuel burned, its running hours, the cost of fuel per running hour, and the amount of oil added to its port and starboard main engines during routine maintenance. The large numbers to the left of the bar chart show the total cost of fuel as well as the total oil added to your engines during routine maintenance. If you filter down to a specific month using the options in the top left, all the data on your dashboard will be filtered, including the information in the tool tips on your fuel consumption bar chart.

Detailed vessel stats of the M/V Charlie


Now, let’s say you’re investigating why the M/V Charlie is burning more fuel than your other, similar vessels.  Right click on the M/V Charlie and select Drillthrough > Vessel Stats to see the details of M/V Charlie’s operations.  Again, in the top left you can filter down to a specific month.  The large numbers to the right of the month filter indicate the vessel’s total running hours, total fuel cost, and fuel cost per running hour. The blue bar graph at the bottom of the dashboard, that indicates the amount of fuel consumed, is overlaid with the vessel’s running hours. The two gauges in the upper right of the dashboard indicate the fuel added to the vessel’s port and starboard main engines.


How Do You Start Building Dashboards?

Power BI offers a compelling and exciting tool for interfacing with Helm CONNECT.  Any report generated by Helm CONNECT can be imported into Power BI.  The easiest option is to connect the report directly to Power BI, so you can refresh the report with the ‘Refresh’ button in Power BI.  Alternatively, you can download your CSV file from Helm CONNECT and upload it to Power BI.  The Helm CONNECT Reports User Guide contains clear, step-by-step instructions to set up Power BI using both methods.

It’s also crucial to consider what questions you want to answer using the information extracted from the system.  Are you gathering the information you need to make shrewd business decisions?  Your Account Manager will be more than happy to address your concerns and ensure you’re collecting useful information.

Venture forth and visualize your data!  We’d be delighted to hear how you’re using your data to run your business.

Good luck!

Emma Murowinski
Junior Product Manager