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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Analytical Workspaces (Embedded Power BI) and Data Warehousing

Posted by Noah Kluge

Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations (D365FO) clients have powerful analytical capabilities with Embedded Power BI, which are presented in Analytical Workspaces.  As of the latest release, there are 21 Embedded Power BI workspaces provided by Microsoft, and these are included in D365FO licensing for all users.  Example areas covered include a financial overview called CFO Overview, purchase spend, warehouse, practice manager and cost administration (below).

Screenshot of CFO Overview dashboard

You may be asking yourself, how does this relate to a data warehouse (particularly if you already have one!)?  This is a question the Armanino Business Intelligence (BI) team often receives, and the answer is that these are complimentary approaches to addressing the BI needs of an organization.

Embedded Power BI is great for users of D365FO because it serves up information in the context of the D365 workspaces they already use.  In fact, it is possible to open D365FO forms by clicking on a Power BI visualization.  It also allows for near real-time analysis and is a great approach for customer service or operational roles like A/R, A/P and warehouse management, where near real time is a need.  We have also seen this as a great approach for D365FO clients who manage projects and need timesheet analysis within D365FO itself.

A data warehouse approach is recommended when data from different systems (e.g. CRM, LIMS, other ERPs) or legacy transaction data is needed.  A data warehouse also makes sense for clients who have users outside of D365FO or have alternative BI infrastructure (e.g. Qlik or Tableau) they will continue to use.  We have also found that a data warehouse provides more flexibility in applying complex business rules that most organizations routinely need. The dashboard below is an example of Power BI sourcing from a data warehouse.

If you have questions or are interested in learning more about embedded Power BI or data warehousing, please contact Noah Kluge at noah.kluge@armaninollp.com.

Noah is a Senior Manager with Armanino’s business intelligence practice. During his career, he has been responsible for the design, build, and implementation of various business intelligence projects. Noah has extensive experience with the PrecisionPoint data warehouse and a great understanding of the importance of integration among systems.

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