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Unlock deeper insights with Dynamics 365 and Power BI

Unlock deeper insights with Dynamics 365 and Power BI

Advances in technology means that it’s easier than ever to slice and dice your CRM data to get a better understanding of customers.

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Unlock deeper insights with Dynamics 365 and Power BI
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Unlock deeper insights with Dynamics 365 and Power BI

Advances in technology means that it’s easier than ever to slice and dice your CRM data to get a better understanding of customers. Out of the box, Dynamics 365 provides a range of reporting tools (Views, Charts, Dashboards, Report Wizard and Excel integration) that were beyond the reach of most business users a decade ago; and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Over the last 10 years Microsoft has positioned itself as an important leader and visionary in the business intelligence space, with technologies such as Analysis Services, Integration Services and Reporting Services that provide users with deeper insights into their data. In more recent years, Power BI has emerged as a game changer.

Self-service features in Power BI, the Microsoft analytics and business intelligence tool that provides interactive visualisations, enable you to expand your reporting capabilities with more flexible and powerful options.

You can connect to hundreds of data sources with over 50 connections to the most popular business applications. Pre-built datasets, dashboards and reports have been designed for these connections including Dynamics 365.

Where to start

If you have an Office 365 subscription and Dynamics CRM Online 2016 or later, you can connect up to the free content packs available on Power BI. They provide pre-built dashboards and reports that feed off the common sales and service entities within Dynamics 365. Datasets are also included that allow you to build your own reports and dashboards for optimal clarity.

In just a few simple steps you can hook up to entities you want and start crunching the data you need. Power BI allows you to add a whole range of visualisations that are fully interactive within your report, as well as filtering, Q&A on your data, drill up/down, dashboard/report sharing and exporting to Excel or PowerPoint.

The content packs are a great way to start using Power BI and begin exploring its capabilities. They will give you a great feel for the many benefits it can deliver.

Unlock deeper insights with Dynamics 365 and Power BI

Delving deeper

Even greater value lies in going beyond the packs, particularly if you have a heavily customised CRM deployment where more granular information about your business is waiting to be surfaced. You will need Power BI Desktop to leverage the data and explore other visualisation options.

The free downloadable client application allows you to connect to your Dynamics 365 Online instance and pull down the data that is most important to you and your organisation. You can then create your own data model, build your reports and publish to Power BI. For even deeper analysis, it has the ability to add extra measures and columns on top of the sourced data.

Once you have created your nice, shiny new dashboards, you have the option of embedding and viewing them directly in CRM. With version 2016 (Spring Wave) or greater, you just follow a few straightforward steps and choose the option to embed Power BI tiles into your CRM dashboard.

Unlock deeper insights with Dynamics 365 and Power BI

Clicking on any of these dashboards will open Power BI with access to the related reports for further analysis. You can then share these dashboards with anyone in your organisation that has the appropriate credentials and access set up.

In Ergo, we have been so impressed that we built a one-stop shop for reporting needs by layering Power BI on top of other key data sources and systems, not just CRM. This encourages prompt and more informed decision-making.

I strongly recommend that you start your own Power BI journey and explore the many capabilities and features it has to offer.

Some links to help you on your way:

Get started in Power BI: https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/

Dynamics 365 content pack for Power BI: https://powerbi.microsoft.com/en-us/documentation/powerbi-content-pack-microsoft-dynamics-crm/

Embedding Power BI dashboard into Dynamics 365 directly: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/crm-customer-center/add-or-edit-power-bi-visualizations-on-your-dashboard.aspx

To find out even more about what Power BI can do for your business, contact Ergo here today.

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