Visualize Live FinancialForce Data in the Power BI Service

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CData Connect



Use CData Connect Cloud to create a virtual SQL Server database for FinancialForce data and create custom reports in the Power BI Service.

Power BI transforms your company's data into rich visuals for you to collect and organize so you can focus on what matters to you. When paired with CData Connect Cloud, you get instant access to FinancialForce data for visualizations, dashboards, and more. This article shows how to build and publish a dataset from FinancialForce data in Power BI and then create reports on FinancialForce data in the Power BI service.

CData Connect Cloud provides a pure SQL interface for FinancialForce, allowing you to easily build reports from live FinancialForce data in Power BI — with no need to replicate the data. As you build visualizations, Power BI generates SQL queries to gather data. Using optimized data processing out of the box, CData Connect Cloud pushes all supported SQL operations (filters, JOINs, etc) directly to FinancialForce, leveraging server-side processing to quickly return FinancialForce data.

NOTE: You can also import FinancialForce data into Power BI through Connect Cloud (instead of using the on-premise gateway). Read how in the related Knowledge Base article.

Create a Virtual SQL Database for FinancialForce Data

CData Connect Cloud uses a straightforward, point-and-click interface to connect to data sources and generate APIs.

  1. Login to Connect Cloud and click Databases.
  2. Select "FinancialForce" from Available Data Sources.
  3. Enter the necessary authentication properties to connect to FinancialForce.

    There are several authentication methods available for connecting to FinancialForce: login credentials, SSO, and OAuth.

    Authenticating with a Login and Token

    Set the User and Password to your login credentials. Additionally, set the SecurityToken. By default, the SecurityToken is required, but you can make it optional by allowing a range of trusted IP addresses.

    To disable the security token:

    1. Log in to FinancialForce and enter "Network Access" in the Quick Find box in the setup section.
    2. Add your IP address to the list of trusted IP addresses.

    To obtain the security token:

    1. Open the personal information page on FinancialForce.com.
    2. Click the link to reset your security token. The token will be emailed to you.
    3. Specify the security token in the SecurityToken connection property or append it to the Password.

    Authenticating with OAuth

    If you do not have access to the user name and password or do not want to require them, use the OAuth user consent flow. See the OAuth section in the Help for an authentication guide.

    Connecting to FinancialForce Sandbox Accounts

    Set UseSandbox to true (false by default) to use a FinancialForce sandbox account. Ensure that you specify a sandbox user name in User.

  4. Click Test Database.
  5. Click Privileges -> Add and add the new user (or an existing user) with the appropriate permissions.

Connecting to Connect Cloud from Power BI

To connect to and visualize live FinancialForce data in the Power BI service), install the on-premises data gateway, add a data source to the gateway from the Power BI service, and publish a dataset from Power BI Desktop to the service.

Install the On-Premises Data Gateway

The Microsoft on-premises data gateway provides secure data transfer between connected data sources and various cloud-based Microsoft tools and platforms. You can read more about the gateway in the Microsoft documentation.

You can download and install the gateway from the Power BI service:

  1. Log in to PowerBI.com.
  2. Click the Download menu and click Data Gateway.
  3. Follow the instructions for installation, making note of the name of the gateway.

Add FinancialForce as a Data Source to the Power BI Service

Once you have installed the data gateway, you add Connect Cloud as a data source to the Power BI service:

  1. Log in to PowerBI.com.
  2. Click the Settings menu and click "Manage gateways."
  3. Click "ADD DATA SOURCE" and configure the connection to Connect Cloud:

    • Set Data Source Name CloudHub_FinancialForce.
    • Choose SQL Server as the Data Source Type.
    • Set Server to the address of your Connect Cloud instance (i.e.: myinstance.cdatacloud.net).
    • Set Database to the name of your virtual FinancialForce database (i.e.: financialforcedb).
    • Set Authentication Method to Basic.
    • Set Username and Password to Connect Cloud credentials.

Publish a Dataset from Power BI Desktop

With the gateway installed and Connect Cloud added as a datasource to the Power BI service, you can publish a dataset from Power BI Desktop to the service.

  1. Open Power BI, click Get Data -> More, then select SQL Server database, and click Connect.
  2. Set the connection properties and click OK.
    • Set Server to the address of your Connect Cloud instance (i.e.: myinstance.cdatacloud.net).
    • Set Database to the name of your virtual FinancialForce database (i.e.: financialforcedb).
    • Set Data Connectivity mode to DirectQuery*.
    * DirectQuery enables live query processing and real-time visualizations of FinancialForce data.
  3. In the authentication wizard, select Database, set the User name and Password properties, and click Connect.
  4. Select the table(s) to visualize in the Navigator dialog.
  5. In the Query Editor, you can customize your dataset by filtering, sorting, and summarizing FinancialForce 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 FinancialForce metadata reported by Connect Cloud.

    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 FinancialForce data. When you click Close and Apply, Power BI executes the data retrieval query.

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

  6. Define any relationships between the selected entities on the Relationships tab.
  7. Click Publish (from the Home menu) and select a Workspace.

Build Reports and Dashboards on FinancialForce Data in the Power BI Service

Now that you have published a dataset to the Power BI service, you can create new reports and dashboards based on the published data:

  1. Log in to PowerBI.com.
  2. Click Workspaces and select a workspace.
  3. Click Create and select Report.
  4. Select the published dataset for the report.
  5. Choose fields and visualizations to add to your report.

SQL Access to FinancialForce Data from Cloud Applications

Now you have a direct connection to live FinancialForce data from the Power BI service. You can create more data sources and new visualizations, build reports, and more — all without replicating FinancialForce data.

To get SQL data access to 200+ SaaS, Big Data, and NoSQL sources directly from your cloud applications, see the CData Connect Cloud.