Guest post by Blair Hurlbut from Catapult
Quick intro from Tim: I talked with Blair after this session at the Acumatica Summit last month and he reminded me that we met at Summit 2016 in Orlando (I have a hard time remembering everyone at these summits, sorry about that Blair). Back in Orlando, Blair had mentioned to me that he found a way to embed a Power BI report inside Acumatica version 5; this is before it became supported in version 6. Then at Summit this year in San Diego, he reminded me and this time offered to do a guest post showing how he did it. Thank you so much Blair! One thing to note is that it requires the report to be published publicly (click here for more info), but I’m still not 100% sure how “public” it really is since the link that you get back would be next to “impossible” to guess. Hey, “impossible” seems like a good intro for the post. Take it away Blair!
Those of you using older versions of Acumatica – anything pre 6.0 – are well aware of the fact that these versions lack Power BI integration, making the task of publishing Power BI reports within Acumatica “mission impossible.” But wait…
While working with one of our Acumatica clients, Tourism Vancouver, we were able to find a work-around to this common issue. Like Tom Cruise’s character – no mission is impossible for us.
Good morning, Catapult. Your mission, should you chose to accept it is…
To enable the users at Tourism Vancouver to view Power BI reports in Acumatica 5.2. The way we saw it, we had two options:
- Give all users access to Power BI
- Publish the Reports
The first option wasn’t ideal as it would lead to inefficiencies – requiring users to log in and work in two separate systems. The second option was therefore more promising. But how to do this? By publishing the Power BI reports via Wiki Pages within Acumatica.
Note: This approach assumes that you are using connectors to channel your data from Acumatica into Power BI.
Ghost Protocol: Our Work-around
Our approach is simple. Once you have created a report in Power BI all you need to do is publish it to the web and generate an embed code. Then, head to Acumatica and create a new wiki Article. Paste the embed code generated in Power BI into this article. Hit Publish and you are ready to go!
Here are the step by step instructions:
In Power BI
First, create your report in Power BI
Second, click File and select Publish to Web
Third, click Create embed code
Fourth, select Publish
Fifth, select a size and copy the iFrame url
Go to Organization and click on the Dashboard Tab. Select Create new article.
Assign the Article ID and Name. Paste the URL generated in Step 5 into the body section and click Save. In our example we gave the wiki article the name “Sample Power BI Report.”
And presto! You will now see the wiki article listed in the list of dashboards.
To download a PDF copy of these instructions, click here!
This message will self-destruct in 5 seconds: Pros and Cons
Like any Mission Impossible film, this method definitely has its pros and cons. Although unlike films, the pros outweigh the cons (if you’re reading this Tom Cruise, we’re sorry).
Let’s start with the pros. Firstly, this approach provides users with a centralized system to work in, consequently removing the need for them to move back and forth between systems. While this may seem inconsequential, it’s a huge win for people who live in Acumatica as it makes their user experience much more efficient. Secondly, Power BI is pretty inexpensive, making it accessible to businesses of all sizes (US Pricing available here). Thirdly, it’s very flexible in terms of data collection. Even if your data is coming from systems other than Acumatica, it’s incredibly easy to include this in your reports. Lastly, it allows for the creation of sitemaps to assign different security levels to different users.
In sum: This approach creates a centralized, cost-efficient system with the flexibility to collect data from a number of sources and the ability to assign a variety of security levels.
Now, onto the cons. The major downside to this approach is that users can share the URL with basically anyone. It therefore goes without saying that if you take this approach, you may not want to include sensitive data, such as competitive advantage data.
While not necessarily a con, it’s worth mentioning that this work-around becomes obsolete in Acumatica 6.0. This version supports the publication of Power BI reports. Another reason to consider an upgrade!
A big thanks to Tim for giving us the opportunity to do a guest post at TimRodman.com. This blog is a great resource for all things Acumatica and we’re pretty thrilled to have the opportunity to share some of our expertise here.
Maybe even as excited as Tom on Oprah’s couch?
All kidding aside, if you have any questions or comments above the above approach please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We’d love to hear what you think about this work-around!
Blair Hurlbut is the ERP Practice lead at Catapult. With his hands-on experience in the non-profit sector and sharp business instincts, Blair can deliver Acumatica, Dynamics NAV and Serenic Navigator solutions for businesses and non-profit organizations that are agile and respect the bottom line. He lives, eats and breathes lean deployments that help customers realize business improvements that can be sustained over time.
Catapult delivers support and implementation services for leading ERP and CRM solutions that enable midsized businesses to perform at their best. Located in Vancouver, Canada, Catapult drives outcomes that matter through the provision of software and consulting services including deployment, customization, upgrades, training and support for Acumatica Cloud ERP, Microsoft Dynamics NAV and Microsoft Dynamics 365. For additional ERP and CRM insights follow Catapult on Twitter and LinkedIn or subscribe to our newsletter.