Embedding business intelligence in Microsoft Dynamics 365

14/02/2020

If you are looking for a way to get insights into your business data, look no further. Business intelligence apps ensure that your actions always correspond to hard data. 

And with Microsoft Dynamics 365 you can integrate your insights and reports directly into your ERP or CRM solution using Power BI. This helps your business drive automation, forecasting, department integration, reporting and more across your operations. 

With Dynamics 365 business intelligence capabilities, making smarter decisions is easier than ever.

What is Microsoft Dynamics 365?

Dynamics 365 is a combined ERP and CRM system solution. It is designed to meet all your Sales, Project Service Automation, Finance, HR, client management, and operational business needs. It is a complete, cloud-based software platform including a multitude of apps. 

The range of productivity and artificial intelligence apps will transform how you manage your business. All your processes and tools are available through one integrated platform. This means you can align all aspects of your business, from reporting to business intelligence to customer relationships.

Silos and slowdowns are a thing of the past.

RELATED: 6 FUNDAMENTAL Microsoft Dynamics 365 TIPS

What is the Microsoft Power Platform? 

The Microsoft Power Platform is a group of products that allow users to customise, extend and create apps for their business without writing complex coding. These include Flow (Power Automate), Power BI, and Power Apps, which can all be integrated with Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Office 365. This solution platform helps businesses innovate and automate processes for their team with virtually no code.

Using the Common Data Service (CDS) your business applications can share and unify data. This allows your business to access and analyse data from various applications through one simplified platform. 

What is Power BI? 

Power BI is the business analytics product in the Power platform. This app is designed to be embedded into the Dynamics 365 solution. It uses a simple interface to display important business intelligence and interactive visualisations. The best part is users can easily create their own reports or dashboards.

This way, you see the exact information that’s important to you. And because this product is designed for non-technical users, it’s easy to use and understand.  Essentially, Power BI is a data reporting tool software made up of different apps and services. 

What kind of data does it include? 

Power BI pulls from many different data sources, such as Excel spreadsheets or the cloud. It also integrates with Office 365 and Dynamics 365. This means that the app can use data from any part of your Microsoft package. 

Power BI will then merge related material from different sources into one coherent report. Replace silos and platform switching for complete integration and automation. Dynamics 365 puts all your business insights into one easy to access place.  

What are the main uses of Microsoft Power BI? 

Power BI is an excellent way for businesses to gain insight into their operations and improve performance. It helps managers create reports and seamlessly share them with their team. 

The three broad functions of Microsoft’s business intelligence app are represented by the desktop views; Report, Data and Model. 

The Report view is the creation view. This is where users can build unique reports, dashboards and graphical representations of the data they want to see. Data is where you can see your chosen data and tweak it until it’s ready for the model stage. 

The Modelling page allows you to control your data relationships, sharing and integration. Here you can combine data from different tables or graphs and share it with your co-workers. 

What are the benefits of Microsoft Power BI?

A huge benefit of Power BI is the built-in connectivity with Dynamics 365. Using features such as Power Query in Excel, you can combine and transform data from several sources. You can unify analytics into one platform. Self-service and enterprise data are linked in reality, so they should be linked in your data platform.

Power BI is seriously robust. Other platforms would baulk at the sheer amount of big data it can hold. But using Azure, you can analyse large volumes of data with ease and speed. This helps businesses make smarter insights without the wait. 

Built in AI intelligence and machine learning puts Power BI leagues ahead of the competition. When you have reams of figures in front of you it can be difficult to spot a trend – AI can do it for you. By building machine learning models Power BI can also generate informed predictions. It automates forecasting and brings proactive thinking to the front line of your business.

With Power BI, analytics are in real-time, so you’ll never get left behind again. Dashboards can show you changes as they happen using anything from industry sensors to web traffic. Alerts can also be set up to keep you up to date.

If all this isn’t enough, the cloud-based and customising capabilities helps Power BI work the way you need it. The SaaS product is regularly and automatically updated so it maintains its leading performance. You can create custom visualisations and more for a completely individual interface. And businesses can always build new, unique apps as their demands change. 

What we love about Power BI – and most Microsoft products – is that anyone in a business can use it. The user-friendly interface means no expertise is required – so you can make informed insights across your business. This is true across the Power Platform so your processes will be consistent and integrated throughout your company. 

Can I make actionable insights with Microsoft 365 business intelligence? 

If informed insights, predictive results, and data integration isn’t enough; then look no further. Power BI enables actionable insights by combining with Power Apps and Flow. Create automated workflows and customised apps to turn your data into actions with one click.  

What is Power BI Desktop?

Power BI is made up of several products; Power BI Desktop, Power BI Service, and Power BI apps for mobile. 

Power BI Desktop is part of the overall Power BI range. It is an application which can be downloaded for free onto your PC. This app enables you to access, connect and manipulate any of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 or Office 365 data from your computer. Then, using the Power BI service, you can share your analyses with other team members.

Power BI Service and mobile apps both allow access to Power BI online. Service is the cloud-based SaaS product which can connect to other users. The mobile app is available on IOS, Android or Windows so you can access it on the go.  

How do Power BI reports work with other applications such as Azure and Office 365? 

Power BI works seamlessly with Microsoft Office 365, the rest of the Power Platform, Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Azure. Power BI can make connections to these platforms and collect data from your chosen sources or databases. 

What are the limitations of Power BI? 

Because the user has so much control over the Power BI app, you need to be careful with your designs. For example, overcrowding your interface is a common problem. By putting too many reports on a dashboard the data becomes much more difficult to understand.

User error is especially true when creating complex relationships. Be careful when creating data models that there aren’t too many links between tables. Instead create unique fields – this solves any slow processing issues. 

Despite being designed to be user friendly, Power BI is an entire suite of platforms. If you jump in headfirst you might get lost. Make sure to start slow and master features as you go. This will make the interrelated platform more digestible.

What is the benefit of embedding the BI dashboard with Dynamics 365? 

In a word – silos. Having your different business software applications integrated with one another through Microsoft Dynamics significantly decreases blockages and increased productivity. Embedding your dashboard with Dynamics means you have a multitude of data displayed at your fingertips. 

Having a clear overview of your organisation and clients will transform your business decision-making and processes. How could you ask for more?

Which is the best Microsoft Power BI online training? 

There are lots of online sources, including Microsoft Learn. Get in touch if you would like a classroom style course from our BI Partner.