Happy New Year, and welcome to the Dynamics 365 Partner blog series for January 2017. This month, our focus is on Microsoft Power BI and how you can use it to enhance reporting and analytics for Microsoft Dynamics 365.
Microsoft Power BI overview
Power BI is a cloud-based business analytics service that enables anyone to visualize and analyze data with speed and efficiency. It connects users to a broad range of data through easy-to-use dashboards, provides interactive reports, and delivers compelling visualizations that bring data to life. Power BI Desktop lets you quickly create reports and visualizations, and Power BI apps are available for Windows, iOS, and Android, providing a view of business data on the go.
Building blocks of Power BI
The building blocks of Power BI are simple concepts that represent everything that can be done in Power BI, and together they allow you to build engaging analytics solutions.
A visual representation of data, such as a chart, graph, or color-coded map. Power BI offers you a wide variety of ways to represent your data visually.
The collection of data that Power BI uses to create visualizations. A dataset can be from a single source and a single table, or from a combination of different data sources.
A collection of visualizations that appear together on one or more pages.
A collection of visuals from a single page that you can share with others. Often, it is a selected group of visuals that are related. A dashboard can provide quick insight into the data.
A single visualization found in a report of on a dashboard.
Power BI free or paid service subscriptions
There are free and paid subscriptions for the Power BI service. The free version will allow you to connect to data sources and create simple dashboards. The paid version, Power BI Pro, allows you full access to connect to data in real time, create complex dashboards, and share them across your organization. The Power BI Desktop application is a free authoring tool that you can download.
How to use Power BI with Dynamics 365
The simplest way to start using Power BI is to use Microsoft Dynamics content packs. A content pack is a collection of pre-configured, ready-made visuals and reports based on a specific data source. The content packs for Microsoft Dynamics allow you to quickly gain access to data through Power BI, and start interacting with it. As you can see in the image at right, we've created several content packs for Microsoft Dynamics.
You can start using the Microsoft Dynamics CRM content pack by accessing the Power BI service and enabling it in six simple steps.
To take it one step further, you can customize the content packs to make them your own. The Microsoft Dynamics content packs are built with a specific set of Microsoft Dynamics 365 entities and fields. If you want to marry Microsoft Dynamics data with data from other sources, you will need to customize the content pack using Power BI Desktop.
We recently announced the Sales Management for Dynamics 365 Power BI solution template. Use this template to create a fully customized Microsoft Dynamics reporting architecture that is extensible and scalable. The solution allows you to easily replicate data from Microsoft Dynamics to an Azure SQL database, and then provides a full set of Power BI dashboards and reports that will connect to the SQL data and can be fully customized.
Community call about Power BI and Microsoft Dynamics 365 on Tuesday, January 17
Power BI is a powerful toolset and provides a great opportunity for all our partners to bring new value to your customers. Sign up for the January 17 community call, where we will demo these three ways to use Power BI with Dynamics 365.
Learn more about Microsoft Power BI
- Power BI Guided Learning courses
- Power BI documentation
- Power BI webinars
- Power BI blog
- Power BI Partner Showcase
Dynamics 365 Partner Community
- Sign up for the January 17 Dynamics 365 community call
- Community call schedule
- Yammer group
- Blog series
- Training and enablement
- YouTube playlist