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Author Power BI Reports on Real-Time Dynamics 365 Business Central Data

Use the CData Power BI Connector for Dynamics 365 Business Central to visualize Dynamics 365 Business Central data in Power BI.

CData Power BI Connectors provide self-service integration with Microsoft Power BI. The CData Power BI Connector for Dynamics 365 Business Central links your Power BI reports to real-time Dynamics 365 Business Central data. You can monitor Dynamics 365 Business Central data through dashboards and ensure that your analysis reflects Dynamics 365 Business Central data in real time by scheduling refreshes or refreshing on demand. This article details how to use the Power BI Connector to create real-time visualizations of Dynamics 365 Business Central data in Microsoft Power BI Desktop.

If you are interested in publishing reports on Dynamics 365 Business Central data to PowerBI.com, refer to our other Knowledge Base article.

Collaborative Query Processing

The CData Power BI Connectors offer unmatched performance for interacting with live Dynamics 365 Business Central data in Power BI due to optimized data processing built into the connector. When you issue complex SQL queries from Power BI to Dynamics 365 Business Central, the connector pushes supported SQL operations, like filters and aggregations, directly to Dynamics 365 Business Central and utilizes the embedded SQL Engine to process unsupported operations (often SQL functions and JOIN operations) client-side. With built-in dynamic metadata querying, you can visualize and analyze Dynamics 365 Business Central data using native Power BI data types.

Connect to Dynamics 365 Business Central as a Power BI Data Source

Installing the Power BI Connector creates a DSN (data source name) called CData Power BI Dynamics 365 Business Central. This the name of the DSN that Power BI uses to request a connection to the data source. Configure the DSN by filling in the required connection properties.

You can use the Microsoft ODBC Data Source Administrator to create and configure the DSN: From the Start menu, enter "ODBC Data Sources" and select the CData PowerBI REST DSN. Ensure that you run the version of the ODBC Administrator that corresponds to the bitness of your Power BI Desktop installation (32-bit or 64-bit). You can also use run the ConfigureODBC.exe tool located in the installation folder for the connector.

To authenticate to Dynamics 365 Business Central, you must provide the User and AccessKey properties.

To obtain the User and AccessKey values, navigate to the Users page in Dynamics 365 Business Central and then click on Edit. The User Name and Web Service Access Key values are what you will enter as the User and AccessKey connection string properties. Note that the User Name is not your email address. It is a shortened user name.

To connect to data, specify OrganizationUrl. If you have multiple companies in your organization, you must also specify the Company to indicate which company you would like to connect to. Company does not need to be specified if you have only one company.

Query Dynamics 365 Business Central Tables

Follow the steps below to build a query to pull Dynamics 365 Business Central data into the report:

  1. Open Power BI Desktop and click Get Data -> Other -> CData D365BusinessCentral.
  2. Select CData PowerBI Dynamics 365 Business Central in the Data Source Name menu and select a data connectivity mode:
    Select Import if you want to import a copy of the data into your project. You can refresh this data on demand.
    Select DirectQuery if you want to work with the remote data.
  3. Select tables in the Navigator dialog.
  4. In the Query Editor, you can customize your dataset by filtering, sorting, and summarizing Dynamics 365 Business Central columns. Click Edit to open the query editor. Right-click a row to filter the rows. Right-click a column header to perform actions like the following:

    • Change column data types
    • Remove a column
    • Group by columns

    Power BI detects each column's data type from the Dynamics 365 Business Central metadata retrieved by the connector.

    Power BI records your modifications to the query in the Applied Steps section, adjusting the underlying data retrieval query that is executed to the remote Dynamics 365 Business Central data. When you click Close and Apply, Power BI executes the data retrieval query.

    Otherwise, click Load to pull the data into Power BI.

Create Data Visualizations

After pulling the data into Power BI, you can create data visualizations in the Report view by dragging fields from the Fields pane onto the canvas. Follow the steps below to create a pie chart:

  1. Select the pie chart icon in the Visualizations pane.
  2. Select a dimension in the Fields pane: for example, accountid.
  3. Select a measure in the Fields pane: for example, Name.

You can change sort options by clicking the ellipsis (...) button for the chart. Options to select the sort column and change the sort order are displayed.

You can use both highlighting and filtering to focus on data. Filtering removes unfocused data from visualizations; highlighting dims unfocused data. You can highlight fields by clicking them:

You can apply filters at the page level, at the report level, or to a single visualization by dragging fields onto the Filters pane. To filter on the field's value, select one of the values that are displayed in the Filters pane.

Click Refresh to synchronize your report with any changes to the data.

At this point, you will have a Power BI report built on top of live Dynamics 365 Business Central data. Learn more about the CData Power BI Connectors for Dynamics 365 Business Central and download a free trial from the Dynamics 365 Business Central Power BI Connector page. Let our Support Team know if you have any questions.