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Syvantis Technologies, Inc.

Connecting Power BI to Dynamics 365

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Business Intelligence tools are becoming increasingly popular with 91.6% of global companies increasing their investments in big data and AI in 2019. While many businesses are discovering uses for BI, it’s important to understand what BI tool makes the most sense and how they can connect to the systems you already use. Power BI is a robust reporting tool built to provide valuable insights using data gathered from the software applications used by the owner. Power BI uses data refreshed at a scheduled, daily time to create powerful reports and discover trends in financials, customer service, sales, and more. Because it is developed by Microsoft, Power BI works seamlessly with other Microsoft applications including Office 365 applications such as Excel and Dynamics 365 applications, while also connecting to applications outside of the Microsoft Ecosystem. In this blog we’ll walk through how and why you should connect Power BI to Dynamics 365 and even create reports and dashboards from multiple data sources.

The impact of embedding Power BI dashboards in Dynamics 365

What if your salespeople could see a breakdown of their quarterly goals side by side with their top opportunities that are likely to close this month when they log into Dynamics 365 for Sales every morning? What if your customer service agents could see their average time to close cases next to their longest outstanding cases? Connecting Power BI to Dynamics 365 provides your teams with data they typically must go digging for – motivating them to close more sales and resolve cases sooner. The fewer applications your users need to sign into to do their job, the more productive they will be. When Power BI is connected to Dynamics 365, administrators can embed Power BI reports and dashboards right on the Dynamics 365 homepage.

Embed Power BI visualizations on Dynamics 365 personal dashboards

Embedding Power BI dashboards and tiles onto Dynamics 365 personal dashboards gives end users daily insights into how they are performing and allows them to track metrics they typically may not see.

To add a Power BI dashboard in Dynamics 365, go to a dashboard in Sales, Service, or Marketing. Select New and choose the option for Power BI Dashboard. You may need to sign into Power BI. Next, on the open dialogue box, select the workspace and dashboard you want to embed. If you want to make the dashboard available for viewing on mobile and tablets, select Enable for mobile.

Note: Users will need a Power BI Pro license to be able to view the dashboard in CRM or Power BI.

To add Power BI visualizations to Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement personal dashboards a setting must be enabled. To check this setting go to Settings > Administration > System Settings > Reporting tab > Allow Power BI visualization embedding


Dashboard Example:

Used with courtesy of Microsoft

Tile Example:

Used with courtesy of Microsoft

Power BI Apps

A Power BI app is a content type in Power BI that combines related dashboards and reports in one place. All apps are created by app designers that then are distributed to app consumers. Apps make it easier to find related dashboards and reports instead of needing to search datasets for individual dashboard names. When an app is updated by the designer, the changes are automatically pushed to users who consume it. The designer also controls the data refresh rate as well.

Much like content packs, users search for apps within Power BI using the Get Data button. Users will first see apps published by designers within their organization but can toggle the search to discover external apps. Apps can also be publicly published and are available on the Microsoft online marketplace, AppSource.

Combine Dynamics 365 data with outside data sources

Power BI usability is not limited to the Microsoft ecosystem. Administrators can connect external data sources to Power BI to generate the same type of apps, dashboards, and reports available to Microsoft data sources. Typical data sources include CRM systems, ERP systems, marketing applications, and custom databases. For databases not stored in the cloud, Power BI can typically create direct connections to them using a Power BI gateway installed on the server or PC where that database is located. For other data sources such as those not stored in the cloud (excel, csv, json), datasets can be manually loaded into Power BI via a file upload.

Note: For manually uploaded datasets, the file can be reimported or published from Excel or Power Bower BI desktop, but these are not automated processes.

What if you want to combine data sources to create advanced reports? Power BI Desktop gives licensed users the ability to connect to multiple data sources and shape the data into a single query to be used for shared dashboards and reports. It is important to note that when data sources are combined, the original data sources are not affected, only the copy of the data that Power BI creates to run reports is changed. A great example of this is combining data from Dynamics 365 Business Central and Dynamics 365 Sales to better visualize financials by customer and team. For example, a user could create visualizations that show financial data by customer from Business Central with projected revenue by customer in in Dynamics 365 for Sales to gain better insight into the sales cycle.

Get a demo of Power BI

Sign up for a free 45-minute video call with a Power BI expert to see how Dynamics 365 can unify your sales and marketing teams.

By Syvantis Technologies, Inc.

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