Business Intelligence is changing the way companies look at data and make decisions. Learn how Power BI and Dynamics GP 2018 can be combined to redefine the way you look at financial and operational metrics.
What Is Power BI?
Microsoft Power BI is a suite of business intelligence tools designed to analyze and present data in an easy-to-learn, easy-to-use product. What was once a series of Excel add-ins which eventually came to be known as Power Pivot, Power View, Power Map and Power Query, Power BI began its life over two decades ago before becoming the iteration that was released as a cloud-hosted, freemium application in 2015.
Whether used by analysts, business users, IT professionals, developers, or anyone else in need of data visualization and insight, this robust, agile, feature-rich application has improved reporting, enhanced visibility, and improved business results, and we discussed some of the key features in a recent blog.
One of the major selling points of Power BI is its ability to leverage dozens of sources out of the box, ranging from standard file formats like CSV and XML to product specific data sources, Power BI offers enterprise-grade analysis without the enterprise-level price tag.
OData (Open Data Protocol) is an ISO/IEC approved, OASIS standard that defines a set of best practices for building and consuming RESTful APIs. OData helps you focus on your business logic while building RESTful APIs without having to worry about the various approaches to define request and response headers, status codes, HTTP methods, URL conventions, media types, payload formats, query options, etc. OData also provides guidance for tracking changes, defining functions/actions for reusable procedures, and sending asynchronous/batch requests.
The OData integration is just one of the many integrations available for Power BI, but is one that powers the following connection with Microsoft Power BI, Microsoft Dynamics GP 2018.
Pushing Forward: Power BI for Dynamics GP 2018
In a recent article on the Dynamics 365 Community blog, author Lucas Reuss discussed the basics of setting up and using the Power BI Content Pack on Dynamics GP 2018. This blog, which we will discuss below, introduces an important first step in combining two powerful software options to improve data use and decision making.
Leveraging the OData service, users can see their Dynamics GP data in ways never thought possible, asking questions in a search box and leveraging tools such as Quick Insights to view data visualizations quickly and easily.
Why It Matters
The GP/Power BI Connection was introduced as a Content Pack for GP 2016, allowing for a 360-degree view of organization data including key performance indicator and chart analysis. While the functionality for GP 2016 was a welcome change that improved the way businesses connect data between Office 365, GP 2016, and other applications within Power BI to analyze, slice, and dice like never before. With Power BI in general, businesses can:
- Bring their data together: Import large volumes of data from multiple sources into Power BI Desktop. Edit the data before pulling it in or transform and shape the data after it’s imported.
- Explore data in fresh ways: Visually explore data with a variety of customizable reports. Create visualizations by dragging and dropping the fields you want to view. Choose from a variety of charts and graphs to tell your data’s story.
- Let data work for you: Once you have created a report, you can share the file like any other file. You can also publish it to the Power BI service where colleagues can interact with it.
Getting Started with Power BI Content Pack for Dynamics GP 2018
While we wanted to discuss why it matters for GP 2018 users, we would today like to share Reuss’s advice on how to make it happen. This powerful combination provides a fantastic way to visualize data straight from your company databases, and can be set up quickly and easily. To get started, you will first need to set up OData feeds from Dynamics GP for use with Power BI and deploy the Power BI Content Pack for Dynamics GP. Once these two steps are completed, you can start using these to platforms, leveraging the following views:
However, there are more views you can pull into the equation and to access these, you will need to add them to your Dynamics GP Content Pack Power BI file by publishing OData to see dozens of additional display options. From Fixed Assets to Field Service Calls, you can start visualizing data about your business as you see fit.
Once everything is set up, you can start leveraging the true power of Power BI. There are many use cases and advantages of Power BI when combined with Dynamics GP 2018, including but not limited to the following:
- Highlight data on an entire page across multiple carts and reports.
- Dig down into asset depreciation for specific assets.
- Leverage contrasting colors to better separate data.
- Format and add color similar to conditional formatting.
Looking for even more? Microsoft offers a Power BI Guided Learning on their website.
Take Control of Your Data with Power BI
At Wipfli, we know that the move to a business intelligence platform can seem like a journey, but with any good journey comes massive rewards—if it’s done right. Power BI has changed the way that thousands of companies look at their data, improving decision making and driving business results into the future. We know the value, and would love to discuss it with you. Watch a recent webinar on the product here and get in contact with us when you’re ready to take control of your data.