Microsoft have recently introduced the ability to create Solution Aware Power BI Reports inside Dataverse. In this post I’m going to show you all the steps needed for this to happen, including the gotchas.
Below is a table of contents and if you’re feeling confident head to the “Let’s build” section.
End to End video tutorial
This video take you through all the steps needed to create your solution.
Why is this important for Power BI in the Power Platform?
Until now we’ve never had the ability to do this before, and Power BI reports have had an uncomfortable relationship with Power Platform solutions. Essentially, we’ve not been able to create full Power Platform solutions with fully spoorted reporting options.
The Application Management Life-Cycle Value Proposition
A great many Dataverse projects have reporting as a key element in enabling users to better understand the nature and quality of the data held within the system in its totality. Power BI is an excellent tool for this analysis, and until these recent developments it has been necessary to create reporting separate to the Power Platform solution.
This is problematic as there is effectively a disconnect between the reporting and the data being reported on and effectively an increased IT management burden.
By making Solution Aware Power BI reports we make our application management life-cycle much simpler.
What are Power Platform solutions?
Solutions are collections of those tables, apps, flows and a multitude of other Dataverse products that make up a product. Below is a very simple solution and the elements that need to be changed or added are highlighted.
We can see that we have a dataset and a report and we will set these up later on.
What does it all look like?
We’re going to use the Account table, and once you are done you’ll have created
- A dedicated workspace for your reporting, tied to Power Apps
- A report that points at the data in the environment and refreshes accordingly
- A solution that contains the dataset and the report (see below)
You’ll have a solution that finally is fully complete, inclusive of reporting similar to the one shown below.
In order to be able to create a solution aware Power BI component the following are required :-
- Power BI Pro License
- Power Apps Per User License
- A Power BI report that has been written and configured to connect to Dataverse using parameters
- A Dataverse Environment in the SAME REGION as Power BI for your tenant
Is it easy?
I’d suggest that all the elements are straightforward, but taken together it will feel complex. Core elements are
- Writing a Power BI report with parameters that define the location of the source data. Many are unfamiliar with using Power BI parameters at all.
Below is an image of us using the parameter in Power BI Power Query
- Updating the environments so that Power BI can extract the parameters
- Be very careful of the gotchas below
Are there any gotchas?
There are some, but once you know them you’re fine. They are as follows :-
- A Power Apps environment in the SAME REGION as Power BI for your tenant.
- To get to your Power BI Tenant go to https://app.powerbi.com/ and follow the instructions below
- To check you Power Platform region go to https://admin.powerplatform.microsoft.com/environments
- The Power BI variable used in your report must be is type TEXT (default is ANY, and this doesn’t work)
- Associating the report parameter with the solution report is fiddly, but in the end makes sense
Confirm that your Power Platform environment is in the same region as Power BI.
We’ll need to make sure that the Power Platform environment is “aware” of Power BI.
Go to https://admin.powerplatform.microsoft.com/environments select your environment. Select Dynamics 365 Apps below. Head to
Search for Power BI Extensions, and install – takes about 10 minutes
Create a simple solution
You can create a simple solution for yourself inside the environment. My preference is to do this and connect it to the Account entity and build a simple model driven app to go with it. At this point it will look as show below, but without the dataset and report
Create and publish a report
Shucks – this is fiddly, so best for us to look at creating a simple report. Key features are that it is tied to Dataverse and the environment domain is created using a parameter.
VIDEO REQUIRED HERE
Note : We can publish to ANY POWER BI WORKSPACE at this stage
Introducing the report into the solution
This is the cool bit, but relatively simple. Add the report you’ve just created as shown below.
Associating the dataset with the report parameters
But you’re not done yet. The report doesn’t know about the parameters yet. For this to work we’ll need to edit the parameters.
You’ll need to create a parameter and associate it with the current domain. Note – it is possible to associate it with an environment variable, which would be relevant it you are using non-dataverse data sources.
Publishing all your changes
In line with normal practice I would publish my customizations by heading to All as show below.
Viewing the report in the new Power BI workspace
This is super simple. Go to the report and Open in Power BI
I’ve created a very simple report here, however this should be seen as the start point for future development work.
Editing the report
Initially I was confused as to how this would work, however you simply need to take your original PBIX file, edit it and publish it up to the newly created workspace (not the temporary one we used earlier).
How to refresh the report
Initially, when the report is published to the cloud it won’t be set up to referesh. Just go to the workspace, find the dataset
One you’re there head to data source credentials and sign in.
Initially, I found the process pretty confusing, but as I’ve gone through thisng I ‘ve found that the decisions that they have taken have been both clever and logical. It’s worth noting that this is in preview at the moment, but my view would be that they are reasonably close to having the finished user experience for creating solution aware Power BI reports using Dataverse
Below is a consumable resource describing some, but not all the elements needed to allow a user to create Solution Aware Power BI Reports.
You can also find the Microsoft documentation on this topic here.