Nicholas Leuthold, Solution Architect
Creating smarter analytics for better business insights
Microsoft’s Power Platform is quickly becoming the go-to platform for IT leaders and systems administrators. The Power Platform centers on your data to help you:
- Capture data without disrupting basic processes
- Share or distribute the data/information to the right people and in the right way
- Consume and evaluate the data in a meaningful way
The Power Platform includes:
- Power BI - analytics and business intelligence tool
- Power Apps – a low-code app creator
- Power Automate – process automation
- Power Virtual Agents – intelligent chatbots
Microsoft’s Power Platform 2021 release wave 1 plan includes new features that tracks a rich set of metadata across all apps and flows within your organization’s tenant.
Power BI Custom Reporting with BYO ADL
System administrators frustrated with the inability to customize basic reports and dashboards within the Power Platform Admin Center get some much-needed customization options in the 2021 wave 1 release. Administrators can now export data to a data lake storage location. System administrators can then construct their own Power BI dashboards and reports from the exported data.
The new feature will allow you to bring your Power Platform tenant data into the data lake without any code. The data is exported in a Common Data Model schema. Incremental daily updates to the data can begin after the initial export. The data includes metadata for all apps, connectors, flows, and usage telemetry of those resources.
This feature gives you the freedom to build your reports in Power BI with the level of customizations specific to your business.
X-APP For F&O Apps
In prior releases of Dynamics 365 Finance and Operation, Microsoft launched dual-write. Dual-write is an out-of-the-box integration solution between D365 and the Power Platform Dataverse. It delivers data in near real-time between F&O and the Dataverse. The synchronous integration enables users of F&O and Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement apps to create, read, and update the shared data.
The Microsoft Power Platform wave 1 2021 release expands this solution to expose D365 Finance and Operation’s master data financial dimensions and party data in the Dataverse.
Replicating this feature with a traditional integration solution is a daunting task due to the high level of normalization for both financial dimensions and party data within D365. The new dual-write feature is de-normalizing these data structures to make it easier to manage integrations.
Within Finance and Operations, you can specify what fields you want mapped to Dataverse and whether the data should be synchronous between both systems. No code is required to set up the integration, and it provides the necessary financial and party data to users of D365 Customer Engagement.
Power BI Embedded Gen 2
Your organization is likely using Power BI Desktop and Pro to build and publish interactive, responsive, and detailed reports for internal consumption. But if you are managing a supply chain or 3PL, you may need to share information with trading partners and vendors to view reports.
It’s cost-prohibitive to manage Power BI Pro licenses for your partners, and teams will typically use Power BI Embedded to serve up key customer-and-vendor reports through their portals. Embedded Gen 1 was a great tool for solving this problem but fell down when it came to many partners.
Microsoft is launching Power BI Embedded Gen 2 in the Power Platform wave 2021 release. New features include no limits on the number of concurrent refreshes, a logical separation between report usage and scheduled refreshes, zero-downtime resource scaling, and baseline performance improvements.
Under this new model, administrators can ensure that consumers see fewer interruptions, more up-to-date data, and faster response times for their reports.
Link Sharing and Paginated Report Visual for Power BI Reports
In addition to the Power BI Embedded updates, there are a couple of small-but-useful features introduced. At the Premium tier, you can now include a paginated report visual INSIDE of an interactive report. This allows users to investigate and filter data and then print a related (and filtered and formatted) document, all from a single Power BI report. This feature is handy for resources who have to prepare formal documentation, such as for legal compliance. This cuts down on developing and maintaining two separate reports, through Power BI Report Builder and Power BI Desktop, and simplifies the user experience.
Finally, at all Power BI levels, the link-sharing functionality has been simplified – instead of a complicated flow for deciding on access for reports, the experience is exactly the same as sharing an Excel Spreadsheet, Word document, or PowerPoint presentation. The benefits include a more straightforward user experience, fewer requests for IT support and ensures proliferation of valuable data throughout your organization. Keep in mind that to consume and share reports, your users must have a Power BI Pro license.
Other D365 Wave 1 Resources
The D365 2021 release wave 1 plan is packed full of tools that IT leaders and system administrators will need to have on their radars. Learn more about the important features in this release:
Optimizing Customer Data: Giving you the information you need to understand who your customers are and how they interact with your business.
Updates for IT Leaders: New tools to improve performance and scalability while optimizing development times
Key Features for Supply Chain Leaders: Boosting inventory visibility and expanding warehouse management and transportation functionality
What's Next for Finance Leaders: Providing better insights into operations, more automated functions, and machine learning capabilities