Tag: Microsoft PowerBI

Power BI with Dynamics 365 for Operations

Hello everyone, this Power BI blog is going to focus on how it is used with New Dynamics AX i.e. AX 7 or Dynamics 365 for Operations. Apart from Power BI being integrated within AX 7, there are also some pre built content packs that can be used to analyze the retail and cost management models of our AX. So, to cut the long story short, we are going to see how we can connect AX 7 with one of these pre-built content packs in Power BI.

Let’s start, first of all open and login to Power BI cloud using your account, it is pretty important and must be noted that the user you are going to login afterwards must be an enabled user in AX 7, otherwise it will throw authentication error while fetching data.

Now, first of all, click on Get Data from the main workspace and then click on Services Data option.


After the available content packs show up, navigate to the ones that refer to AX, in this demo, I am going to use the Microsoft Dynamics AX Cost Management Content Pack.


After the available content packs show up, navigate to the ones that refer to AX, in this demo, I am going to use the Microsoft Dynamics AX Cost Management Content Pack.


After pasting the URL, click next and you will be asked the Authentication method to sign in to AX 7, select OAuth2 from there.


After clicking on Sign in button, a new tab page will open that will ask for your Office 365 or AX 7 credentials, make sure you enter the correct ones here.

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After the authentication is complete, it will show a status bar that indicates that data fetch is in process.


Once done, it will open up the Dashboard that is created using your AX 7 data, you can now play around with Natural Language Query and other cool stuff available within Power BI.


Multiple reports are also filled up with data in the Reports section, you can easily modify or create new reports on top of those.


That’s it, it is as simple as that. And this content pack covers all the related scenarios of Cost Management, there are more AX data sources anticipated to be added to the already amazing content packs list and then again there is Power BI embedded in AX 7 as well. See you again.



Quick Insights Feature in Power BI

Microsoft Power BI contains numerous useful features which makes it a unique and intelligent Business Intelligence solution, apart from being simple and extensive its data source connectivity and support is huge, it supports most of the prospective data sources that users can use to improve their businesses. One of those unique features is the Quick Insights feature that is available in the Power BI service, this feature is really cool as it can help you make heavy Reports and Dashboards without you having to define the visuals or spend hours on deciding the appropriate scenarios.

Actually, what this feature does is that it takes the data and its structure from whatever data source that you’ve defined/used and automatically generates all the possible visuals based on the data, isn’t it great that all of your work is efficiently handled by Power BI itself, imagine you having to create large reports/dashboards in a very limited time, this ‘Quick Insights’ feature can solve that headache for you and create all the possible solutions and you just have to pick the ones that seem important to your organization. Let’s move forward and have a small demo on this.

I am going to use a sample data source and this time for the sake of simplicity and showing the adaptability of Power Bi, I am going to use an Excel sheet instead of a complex data source. If you want a demo on other data sources you can refer to my previous blogs defining multiple data sources that can be used. So let’s start.

The Excel file that contains my sample data is located in a folder on my local directory.


It contains a very simple data model i.e. Item Sales by Date, Units and Region with a limited set of data as shown in the below snapshot.


Open up the online Power BI app, click on Get Data and then from the available four initial options select the Get Data from Files button as shown below.


Then it will ask the location of that file as in Power BI you can upload files from multiple locations e.g. One Drive, SharePoint or Local etc. I am going to select the Local File option.


After that, you’ll have further options which will basically ask if your Excel file contains a Report that you want to view in Power BI or it just contains raw data that you have to use in your Reports etc. As in my case, it contains only data I’ll select the Upload file option.


Once the data upload is complete, it’ll notify us through a Power BI notification.


You can now access your Data in the Datasets section of your Workspace, when you click the options on that dataset, there’ll be a option named Quick Insights, click on that button.


Once you hit that button, it’ll take a few minutes(based on the volume of data) and will try to create all the possible visuals that can be created from the available data.


After the Insights are ready, click on the View Insights option to see the automatically created visuals.


There are various visuals created covering all the possible scenarios/ways that the data can be used or manipulated, I’ve attached snapshots of a few below.



Now, I’ll have to select the visuals that I think are important and useful and pin those on my dashboard for the current dataset.


Now, I’ll have to select the visuals that I think are important and useful and pin those on my dashboard for the current dataset.


That’s it for today, just to recap, we explored the Quick Insights feature available in Power BI and created a Dashboard without us having to even create a single visual or report. See you soon.

Installing and Configuring Power BI Gateway for Data Refresh

Hello once again, we are back with another exciting blog on Power BI and this time we are going to explore the Power BI Gateway that needs to be installed on your Database server so that the online app can refresh its datasets on a regular basis to make sure the reports and dashboards are updated with the latest data. For this demo, I am going to use the example from my previous blog  (https://axtricks.wordpress.com/2017/07/16/using-microsoft-dynamics-ax-as-power-bi-data-source/)

in which I created a Report for InventOnhand in Microsoft Dynamics AX based on the data available in SQL Server database for AX.

Let’s start, first and foremost we’ll need to publish our pbix file to the Power BI online app as we created it on our local environment using Desktop version of Power BI, I am going to publish this one to my Organisational group that I created in an earlier blog (https://axtricks.wordpress.com/2017/07/12/sharing-and-collaboration-in-power-bi/) instead of my Workspace.


As soon as my report is available online, I wanted to add a few more ‘Numerical’ visualisations for a proper monitoring of the data and its data updating.


Then, I created a Dashboard where I pinned all my visualisations for an end user scenario, if you are new and want to look at how to create reports and dashboards, you can look up an earlier blog of mine where I explained it in detail (https://axtricks.wordpress.com/2017/07/10/creating-a-simple-report-using-powerbi/).


Now, let’s move forward and install the Data Gateway for Power BI, you can easily download it from this link (https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=820925&clcid=0x409). Once you’ve downloaded, open up the installer, first it will ask the type of gateway that you want to install, in my case and for the sake of simplicity I am going to use the Personal Gateway.


We get a few notes from Microsoft regarding the Gateway, make sure you follow all the best practices.


After you’ve chosen the version of Power BI Data Gateway, it will want you to sign in to your Power Bi account so it knows to what account does the gateway needs to be signed up.


The NEXT button will open up a new form where you can enter your account details, after you are done, hit SIGN IN.


After the Power BI account is Signed In, it will need your Database Server Credentials so that it can access the Database that you want the data to be refreshed from, just make sure you enter proper Username and Password as well as the domain for your User.


After all the configurations, it will finally give you the good news i.e. the Gateway is successfully set up and you are good to go with setting up your Data Refresh now. Please note that there are sometimes version or account issues with the Gateway, the first solution that I myself came up with was to uninstall the Gateway, sign out of my Power BI Desktop, install the Gateway again and then sign in form Power BI Desktop, after which, try reconfigure the gateway.


Now, moving towards our online service i.e. the Power BI app, click on the “Manage Gateways” menu from the location as shown in the following snapshot.


There, I created a new Gateway and defined my Database server i.e. server name, database name, credentials etc.


You can also add users that you want to have access to the gateway, in my scenario I didn’t need to so I let it go as it is.


Now, as our Power BI Data Gateway is installed, configured and defined on the online app as well, let’s create a schedule to refresh our data, you can also select a Refresh Now button to refresh the data manually.


It lets me go through the settings for the Dataset refresh, where I have my credentials and other information saved, let’s change “Schedule Refresh” from Off to ON.


But before defining the recurrence of Data Refresh let’s make sure our Gateway is properly set and ready to go, open the Gateway connection fast Tab and you can see in my case it shows online.


Moving forward, I am going to define the Time for refresh and set the frequency to refresh the Dataset daily.


After you are done, it shows a notification telling that the data refresh has been set and now your data will be update according to the recurrence defined by you in the refresh settings.


That is all for today, we learned how to set the Data Gateway and set the Refresh Schedule to update our datasets online using the Database server hosted anywhere as the Gateway acts as a bridge between them. See you again with a new topic soon. Thanks