Scott has a great opening slide for this deep-dive reporting session:
It’s so true that many times BI is described in terms of the final output, but much of the work goes into building the underlying data model. For D365FO, data for high volume transactional reporting is exported to an “Entity store” or “BYOD” database.
Entity Store – A Data Warehouse that Microsoft Manages
The Entity store is a repository for reporting aggegated data. Power BI using Direct Query is the only mechanism to report off Entity store data.
Power BI Embedded in Workspaces is only available using the Entity store.
Bring Your Own Database – A Data Warehouse the You Manage
The alternative to the Entity store is using the Data Management framework to extract denormalized data into an Azure SQL database in your Azure subscription. One of the primary advantages of BYOD is more flexible than the Entity store.
Data tools possible with BYOD:
- Power BI using Direct Query or Import
- SSAS Cubes
- Consuming data from systems other than D365FO
- Third party data tools
Reporting tools possible with BYOD:
- Power BI
- Third party reporting tools
Great session providing a deeper dive into the technical details of using the new D365FO tools. Reporting is a complicated but critical area to understand for any D365FO implementation.
Last year I blogged about Workspaces in Dynamics 365 as a concept. At this year’s Tech Conference, TJ Vasser talked about some of the newly available features on the reporting side. TJ highlighted his own blog post about the various reporting options available for Dynamics 365 for Operations.
Up until March 2017, the only option for bringing Power BI content into D365O was to publish content packs in PowerBI.com, and each user had to link a Workspace to that published content pack. With Platform Update 4, it’s now possible to embed Power BI content packs directly into a Workspace. Embedding Power BI into Workspaces should remove much of the effort from the end user, and shifts the work to reporting analysts and developers.
The major components of the embedded experience are:
- Adding a new form, or adding a Workspace tab.
- Defining the .pbix files that are embedded in the Workspace.
- Writing a controller class that links the .pbix file to the form, manages filters and security, and defines drill-through experiences.
It’s Not All Rainbows
There are many caveats to this story – when investigating D365O and Power BI features, it’s always a good idea to prototype the entire process before building out any specific feature. Some of the caveats for the embedded reports include:
- Currently only Entity store is supported; using your own database (BYODB) is unsupported.
- Embedded Power BI requires a developer and code promotion; publishing to PowerBI.com is easier to make fast changes.
- It is possible to drill through from the embedded report, but each drill-through experiences require an Event handler in code.
- There are better options for dynamic filtering experiences, but these also require development.
Simplifying the user experience and bringing reporting into the app will make embedded Power BI a powerful tool. I anticipate quite a bit of development effort to provide awesome experiences. I also suspect the change management process for embedded could be problematic. It’s a good step in the right direction and is worth exploring.