There are a few low hurdles that you need to overcome. Checkout this post and video.
Many people have reached out to me and asked how they can get started with Acumatica and Power BI. So, I thought I would put together a post on getting started with Acumatica and Power BI. I hope you like it. If you don’t like it, drop a comment on the bottom and mention what you think is missing and I’ll try to incorporate it.
When people talk about Power BI, they typically mean PowerBI.com which is the website that Microsoft launched in July 2015, so that’s what I am going to focus on in this post. If you’re interested in a more complete picture of Power BI, including the history, checkout this post.
In order to get started with Acumatica and Power BI, you have to overcome some hurdles. Lucky for you, I am about to outline what those hurdles are, starting now.
Hurdle #1 – The Internet
PowerBI.com exists in a place know as “the internet”, “the information superhighway”, that mysterious place that exists somewhere behind your computer monitor, yet, strangely enough, if you look behind your monitor, nothing is there. It’s a place that exists because of advances in computer software, computer hardware, and grand visionaries like Al Gore (at least according to Al Gore).
At the end of the day, the internet is just a bunch of computers connected to each other, just on a really big scale. Yes, there are many computers sitting behind PowerBI.com that are spread all over the globe
But for our purposes we can think of them all as one computer and the name of that computer is PowerBI.com.
Because PowerBI.com exists in “the internet”, your Acumatica instance also must exist in “the internet” or PowerBI.com won’t be able to see it. For most people this isn’t an issue because most Acumatica instances are publicly facing and can be accessed from anywhere on the internet. After all, that’s one of the big advantages of going with a modern web-based application like Acumatica.
But, some Acumatica instances are not public. They exist behind a corporate firewall and can only be accessed while you are at work, in an approved area, using a company computer, or some other kind of restriction. If this is your situation, I feel bad for you. Have no fear, keep reading and I will show you how to access a public version of Acumatica so you can still try out PowerBI.com and find out what you are missing out on. Then you can march back to your IT department and demand that they put Acumatica up on Amazon, Azure, or some other place on “the internet” that is faster, more reliable, and more secure than anything your internal IT department could ever come up with on their own.
Hurdle #2 – A Power BI Account
Fortunately, this one is not really a hurdle. You can sign up for a Power BI account FOR FREE. And that’s not a trial license, that’s a FREE FOREVER license.
Of course, there are some limitations to the free account such as:
- 1 GB of stored data – That’s gigabytes, 1,000 megabytes, plenty of space to get started and build something cool before you ever have to worry about needing more space. And that’s stored data, not bandwidth or “traffic” data. You have to load your data into PowerBI.com from Acumatica before you can do anything with it using Power BI. But you can load in a lot of stuff with 1 GB of space.
- Scheduled refresh once per day – For most people, it’s good enough to schedule a refresh of their data once a day and you can do this with the free account. If you need something like an hourly refresh, you will need a paid account.
- There are other limitations too and you can checkout the details on the pricing page of the PowerBI.com website.
If you do end up needing a paid account, it’s $10 per month per user. That’s it, very simple pricing.
You can sign up for a free account on the front page of the PowerBI.com website. Just look for a button that has the word “free” in it. It will ask you to use your work email address which has to be something with a unique domain, not @gmail.com, @yahoo.com, etc.
Hurdle #3 – Your Acumatica URL
You also need to know the URL of your Acumatica instance. Fortunately, this is really easy. Just go to the place you normally go to when you are logging into Acumatica. Then look on the top of your web browser to find the URL. If you were on the webpage for CNN or ESPN, the URL would look like http://cnn.com, http://www.cnn.com, http://espn.com, http://www.espn.com, etc. For Acumatica, it will be whatever your IT department decided, probably something with the word “Acumatica” in it and maybe also your company’s name somewhere in there too.
If you couldn’t overcome Hurdle #1 above and your Acumatica URL isn’t available from anywhere on the internet, then you can use this special instance of Acumatica that I have setup for you:
My Username: acumatica
My Password: summit
Yes, you are special, that’s why I created a special Acumatica instance just for you.
Hurdle #4 – Access to Generic Inquires
In order to securely send the appropriate Acumatica data to Power BI, Acumatica uses something called Generic Inquiries. The ones that you need access to in order to get started with Acumatica and Power BI are:
You can find the generic inquires in the
Generic Inquiry (SM208000) screen in Acumatica. By default, the following security roles in Acumatica already have access to them:
- Portal User
Finally, Getting Started
Once you connect to PowerBI.com, you will see 7 tables which come from the following generic inquiries:
- Closed (from BI-Dates)
- Created (from BI-Dates)
- Customers (from BI-Customers)
- Employees (from BI-Employees)
- Estimated (from BI-Dates)
- Opportunities (from BI-Opportunities)
- Supervisors (from BI-Employees)
These 7 tables are connected to each other in what is known as a “model” in Power BI. This means that all the relationships have been defined for you so you can get started immediately building dashboards.
I know that the 7 tables above can get kind of boring after a while and you want to go into Acumatica and get some more interesting data. Don’t worry, there is a way to do this with something called Power BI Desktop. With it you can connect to any data in Acumatica that you want. We’ll explore that in future posts.