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Many of our manufacturing customers deal with complex customer relationships, involving numerous stakeholders, distributors, and channel partners.

That’s why we’ve created two sessions at this year’s User Group Summit in Kissimmee, FL, Oct. 13-18. These sessions are dedicated to best practices for generating reports in Power BI from your Dynamics 365 data.

These sessions will focus on the two main work areas in Power BI separately:

Power Query for Dynamics 365 Users

A solid foundation for data models is the most important step when working with Dynamics 365 data. This includes challenges around:

  • Labels for option sets
  • Lookup fields referencing distributors may need to show both the name and an ID for the relationship in the data model
  • Regarding fields for activities can point to either opportunities, distributors, or any other record type, making managing relationships more complex.

The data coming out of Dynamics 365, or the Common Data Service which stores the data, needs to be transformed into a data model that users can understand. That means the above-mentioned challenges need to be resolved. The better the data model, the easier Power BI is to use, and makes it possible for Power BI users to use Natural Language Querying to generate their own ad hoc reports simply by asking questions to the data. To reach this point, you need to have created a data model, which closely represents how your users view the business. The groundwork for this is done in Power Query, which is a part of Power BI. Power Query is the more difficult area of Power BI to learn, but don’t worry, I’ll take you through all the necessary steps and show you all tricks of the trade to quickly wrangle your Dynamics 365 data into something useful. This session will also showcase how to best use the Power Query Builder in the XrmToolBox, which can save many hours of work when creating Power BI data models.

Power BI and Dynamics 365 Together – Inside and Out

In the previous session we created a data model and are now ready to create reports. You can find a lot of material on the topic, but if you are using Power BI with Dynamics 365 there are many things you can do to create a cohesive user experience between the two platforms, which is key to a quick user adoption. This includes:

  • Display Power BI within Dynamics 365 dashboards
  • Add Power BI reports to Dynamics 365 forms, in context of a customer or distributor. This effectively shows a report specific to the distributor or customer you are looking at
  • Create links from Power BI to specific Dynamics 365 records and vice versa for simple navigation
  • Use the images added to Dynamics 365 for accounts and contacts in Power BI
  • Dynamically use the color codes added to Dynamics 365 dashboards in Power BI for consistency
  • Embed canvas PowerApps within Power BI reports to carry out action in Dynamics 365 directly from your Power BI report
  • Create personalized KPI’s that for, example show, Regional Sales Managers, how many opportunities and revenue their Sales Reps are working on, or use the structure to better display complex business and distribution hierarchies.

In particular, the new features around PowerApps within Power BI will take the term “operational reports” to a whole new level. I’ll take you through the various methods you can use in Power BI reports to tighten the navigation and user experience between the two solutions and show how Dynamics 365 and Power BI together really are the Power Platform.

I will be joined by eLogic Business Analytics Lead Matt Lamb for a host of topics. You can see the full list here. Please reach out if you are attending and have questions or would like to meet at the Summit. And if you are not attending, but still interested in best practices around Power BI, reach out as well.


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