If you had a chance to read my other posts, my team was working on some kind of BI Framework for Dynamics AX 2012. The initial goal of BI Framework was to simplify the process of reports development/delivery (Operational Reports). However, once we finished with SSRS reports, we have come up with idea to also bring interactive reporting – Power BI. At the same time we didn’t want users to go to the Power BI portal. Our BI Framework is a one stop shop for all reporting. User have only one form with all reports for different systems, different streams + one security model driven by AX roles. Power BI should fit into that unique model. User should have exactly the same expirience running normal SSRS reports together with new interactive Power BI reports. We know that Power BI is coming with AX 7, but what about all AX 2012 implementations?:)

Power BI web api

Currently for developers, Power BI expose set of REST api link We are interested more in Reports and Dashboards api. Reports api allows you to bring your Power BI Reports to your custom web application. All authentication is happening against Azure AD. You can get a complete sample from github.

 

Where to use Power BI Reports

Whole BI component could be divided into 3 main layers: Operational, Tactical and Strategical.

Operational Reports: Continuously monitor core business processes with real-time transactional data. Alert your managers upon thresholds being exceeded or upon an exception in the data.

• Tactical Reports: Provide the department manager with a quick view into how his or her department is performing and highlight areas of concern—so the manager can take action to forestall less-than-optimal performance.

• Strategic Reports: Provide senior managers and executives with a glance of the organization’s performance in relation to strategic goals. These reports are typically based upon data residing in one of the organizations data warehouses or data marts and contain time-stamped snapshots of data.

Operational reports in AX are SSRS reports. However for Tactical and Strategic layers, Power BI is just a perfect tool. There are also might be good examples of applying Power BI reports for operational layer as well.

Operational Power BI Reports

When you have 2k employees using your reports, you probably don’t want to have 2k Power BI users. Those users might not need a mobile app for Power BI. They probably just need to have a simple interactive good looking dashboard/report. For that case, you will need to have just a one service account. That service account should have access to all generic Power BI reports. After, using BI Framework, we configure security in AX.

The same user expirience for SSRS and Power BI reports:

When openning the report:

Let me know if you have any questions or would like to know more…

Nick

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4 thoughts on “Integrating Power BI in AX 2012

  • June 3, 2016 at 10:22 am
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    Great stuff.

    I have had limited experience with Power BI – other than connecting to existing Analysis Services Cubes – using the Power BI Desktop Version.

    How are you connecting Power Bi to AX2012 ? Are you pushing the Data to Power BI ?

    I agree with your other posts about limiting X++ usage with SSRS reports – the time taken to Publish a report to a “Live” environment is very restrictive – waiting for the next version release for a small report change is ridiculous.

    Mark

    Reply
    • June 4, 2016 at 6:17 am
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      Hi Mark!
      Thank you for reading.
      Now there re couple options to let users see Power BI reports.
      One option is to build a custom web application (what I did) and use Power BI api to display reports. This will work if you don’t have a PRO version of Power BI.
      The second option is to use new Power BI feature – Power BI Embedded. We currently moved to that option as reports are loading much faster when using Power BI API.

      Let me know If you have any questions.
      Nick

      Reply
  • October 4, 2016 at 11:49 am
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    I am very new to Power BI and BI. But i just wanted to know whether Power BI can be used as an add on over Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. I don’t want to use excel as the tool for generating reports and dashboard, but instead use reports from AX which are based on Power BI. Is this possible? Any manuals or links on this.

    Reply
    • October 9, 2016 at 2:57 am
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      Hi
      Yes, it is possible. Power BI can read data from the AX SQL DB and present it in a nice way. I have a framework for both 2012 and AX7 to make integration with Power BI really easy: http://dax365.com
      Anyway, I am happy to answer any questions you might have.

      Reply

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