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How to Connect Dynamics 365 to Power BI

By Ben Ward (2017)
With the release of the latest Dynamics 365 API, analysts can now connect Dynamics 365 to Power BI and download data up-to five times faster compared to the previous version of the API. This is great news to any analyst who is looking to mine, analyze and visualize large data sets hosted in Dynamics 365. This is especially helpful to those who are trying to analyze email sends for an organization as these data sets can exponentially grow.
To connect Dynamics 365 to Power BI, log in to Dynamics 365 and go to Settings > Customizations > Developer Resources and copy the Service Root URL.
It will look like this:
Next, open Power BI and click on Get Data > Online Services and select Dynamics 365 (online) then click Connect. Paste the URL copied above into the Web API URL field and click on OK.
Power BI will then connect to the Dynamics 365 environment specified and return a list of available tables.

How to Export and Import Solutions Between Dynamics 365 Instances

By Ben Ward


In this example, I will be exporting and importing a solution consisting of my custom Time and Expense entities previously created.

Exporting the Solution

Login to the destination instance of Dynamics 365 (where the customization resides and to be exported from). Go to Settings > Customizations > Solutions.
Click on New in the top ribbon. Complete the required fields located on the form.
Note: If you have not exported a solution before, you may need to create a new publisher record for yourself. To create a publisher record, click on the lookup button on the Publisher field and click on New.
Once the new solution has been created, click on Add Existing in the top ribbon and click on Entity. From Select Solution Components dialog, select all the entities that make up the solution you are looking to export. In this example, I know that the following entities are part of my custom Time and Expense solution:
·       Time entity
·       Expense entity
·       Time and Expense Date Range entity
·       Events entity
·       Event Participation entity
If you do not know this information, don’t worry. Dynamics 365 will produce a prompt displaying any missing dependencies later. I will purposely leave out the Event Participation entity to display the missing components prompt from Dynamics 365.
Go ahead a select all the entities that are a part of the solution to export and click OK.

The next screens will show all the assets that are a part of each entity selected on the previous prompt. In this example, I will export all the assets for each of the entities selected. To ensure all assets are included in the export, the Add All Assets box needs to be checked. Once ready, click Next:

Repeat the previous step for each of the entities selected and click Finish on the last entity prompt.

Dynamics 365 will then check the status of the solution and provide a list of missing components that were not added to the solution package. In this example, the icon asset was missing. Make sure ‘Yes, include required components’ is selected and click OK. The wizard will close and display the full solution which is now ready to be exported. To export the solution, click Export Solution in the top ribbon.

On the Publish Customizations screen, click Publish All Customizations (if any of the customizations to be exported have not been published yet) and click Next.
On the next prompt, Dynamics 365 will check to see if there are any missing components prior to exporting. In the previous steps, I purposely did not select the Events Participation required entity, and Dynamics 365 is informing me that this entity is required. To add the missing required entity, click Cancel on the prompt, select the related entity for the missing component (in this example the related entity is the Events entity) and click on Add Required Components in the top ribbon. The missing entity will appear in the list of components to export.
Click on Export Solution again and click Next.
On the Export System Settings (Advanced) prompt, you can “Select the following features if you want their system settings to be applied when the solution is imported. Note that the system settings are not removed if the solution is deleted. Consult your system administrator before including system settings in your solution.” In this example I will not export any of my system settings along with export and just click Next.
On the next prompt, I will select the Package Type to be Unmanaged and click Next.
The next prompt will ask for the target source version. I will select 8.2, and click Export.
The solution will download to your default download location.

Importing the Solution

Login to the destination Dynamics 365 instance and go to Settings > Customization > Solutions and click on Import in the top ribbon.
Click on Choose File and select the recently exported and downloaded solution, then click Next.
The correct solution information should be displayed. If this is correct, click Next.
Under Import Options, check Enable any SDK message processing steps included in this solution and click on Import.
The solution will begin importing into the target Dynamics 365 instance.
Once the solution has been imported, a notification should appear at the top of the prompt to display the status of the import. Click on Publish All Customizations.
Once the solution has been published, click on Close, refresh the browser and navigate to the corresponding section of the CRM where the newly imported solution will now reside. If the new solution appears, test out the functionality and you should be good to go!

ZoomCharts on PowerBI - Managed Solution

Power BI + ZoomCharts = (Power BI)²: Boost your productivity and add the cool-factor to your reports

By Tzvi Keisar as written on
As of today, all Microsoft Power BI users can start using dynamic and cool-looking ZoomCharts in reports and dashboards.
With ZoomCharts, you can easier than ever before, explore, present and analyze your data. Full multi-touch support makes interaction seamless across all your devices.
Try it yourself with this Power BI live report to feel the difference:


How do ZoomCharts custom visuals increase your productivity with Power BI?

ZoomCharts is driving innovation in the world of charts and graphs. It’s challenging the very concept of charts by enabling the transition from static data representation to a fully interactive and dynamic user experience. Essentially, charts become alive. Interaction with the charts happens in the most natural way – with a simple click, touch, pinch or swipe. This means that data can be analyzed and presented in a whole new way on any device. ZoomCharts claims that this approach saves time on report generation, presentation and answer seeking, turning data exploration into an engaging experience.
ZoomCharts combines analysis with presentation, making decision making easier than ever.


Three new custom visuals for data presentation and analysis

ZoomCharts has created three custom-visuals for Microsoft Power BI users:

Drill-down donut chart

Designed for exploring multi-level data in depth and across the level of interest.
Try this visual in a Power BI report and get this custom visual from the store.
Start with the overview and drill-down into details with a tap on a slice. Tap in the middle to return to previous level. “Others” slice is dynamic as well - tap to explore.
In this example, we are looking at sales data. With drill-down you can easily see how profits group by industries, company revenue and size.

Drill-down column/line/area chart for category-based data

Designed for exploration and presentation of category-based data.
Try this visual in a Power BI report and get this custom visual& from the store.
Start with the overview and drill-down into details with a tap to expand a column or area of interest. Swipe up to return to the previous level.
In this example we are comparing revenue, cost and profit by product types and billing frequency.

Drill-down column/line/area chart for time-based data

Designed for exploration and presentation of time-based data.
Try this visual in a Power BI report and get this custom visual from the store.
Start with the overview and drill-down into details with a tap. Swipe up or down to zoom in and out. Swipe left or right to pan the timeline. Filter your report by selecting time range on time-axis.
In this example we can see revenue, costs and profits by years. With a touch, you can drill down to month and day level.

Built for productive reports with an engaging cool-factor

As Microsoft Power BI enables filtering through charts, you can combine all three new custom visuals to create even more productive reports. Here is an example of sales data report, where you can see, explore and analyze the sales data by the selected dimensions. Selection of a specific time range in a timeline chart will filter automatically the donut and column charts by the same time range. Similarly, selection of a slice or column will filter automatically the two other charts by the chosen category.

What does this mean for businesses?

With the ever-increasing need to make business-critical decisions, users need to optimize the way they work with reports and dashboards. With the increasing popularity of mobile devices, interactive, multi-touch-ready reports and dashboards is becoming a must-have. Successful businesses are able to make better decisions faster, and ZoomCharts in Power BI enable bussiness users to do that.

What does this all mean to you?

Is ZoomCharts here to change the way we work forever? We don’t know that yet. All we know is that ZoomCharts have customers from more than 35 countries worldwide with companies among the Fortune 500.

Distribute to large audiences with Power BI apps

By Ajay Anandan as written on

What are apps?

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a steady rise in the importance of a data-driven culture in many organizations. Power BI has been at the forefront of this change by enabling users to easily monitor and analyze their most important business metrics in real time.
As a result, many IT departments and BI teams would like to empower everyone in the organization with Power BI to drive valuable insights and make data-driven decisions.
In many of these cases, business users need multiple Power BI dashboards and reports to run their business. For example, a sales manager might need a dashboard to monitor the leads funnel, another dashboard to monitor the sales leaderboards, and yet another dashboard to monitor and analyze sales forecasts. On top of this, there might be various other dashboards to monitor other key metrics of the business and the organization.
In these cases, managing permissions on each individual dashboard is time-consuming and error prone. It is also difficult for end users, as they must remember the names of all these dashboards and learn how to navigate to them. As a result, BI teams have been asking us for an easier and more efficient way to deploy a set of dashboards and reports to large audiences.
With Power BI apps, now in preview, you can easily deploy a collection of purpose-built dashboards and reports to a large number of business users and empower them to make data-driven decisions. You can distribute to the whole organization or to specific people or groups.




Business users can easily install these apps from Microsoft AppSource. Once installed, they can access via the web portal or their iOS, Android, or Windows devices. They can easily find and return to your content because it’s all in one place. They get all your updates automatically and you can control how frequently the data refreshes.
End users need Power BI Pro licenses to consume these apps. But if the app content resides in Power BI Premium capacity, end users can access the content without requiring a Power BI Pro license.

App workspaces

To create an app, you first need to create an app workspace. The workspace is the staging area for an app and serves as the container for the content in the app.
You will be able to add other collaborators and admins to these workspaces. Once you add all the content, you will publish the app to end users.
How are app workspaces different from group workspaces?
All existing group workspaces can serve as app workspaces and you can publish apps from any of these workspaces. Over time, we will let you create these workspaces without creating other artifacts like O365 groups in the background. See our roadmap and FAQ section for our plans on how we plan to evolve this functionality in the future.
Now that you understand what app workspaces are, let's start creating and publishing an app.

Create an app workspace

1. Open Workspaces, then click Create app workspace.


This will be the place to put content that other people can access and work on.
2. Give the workspace a name. If the workspace ID already exists, edit it to create a unique ID.
3. Give all members edit access and set the group to private. (These are the recommended settings. See the roadmap section for details on why.)
4. Now add email addresses of people you want to collaborate with in creating the app. You can’t add group aliases, just individuals.
5. Decide whether each person is a member or an admin, and save.
Power BI creates the workspace and opens it. It appears in the list of workspaces you're a member of. Because you’re an admin, you can click the ellipsis (…) to go back and make changes to it, adding new members or changing their permissions.
It’s empty, so start adding content to it. Adding content is just like adding content to your personal workspace (My Workspace), except the other people in the workspace can see and work on it, too. You can upload or connect to files, or connect to services from other companies, just as you would in your own personal workspace.
Note: You can only publish an app from an app workspace – you can't use My Workspace to publish apps.

Distribute an app

When you’ve finished creating and perfecting the dashboards and reports in your app workspace, you can publish the app to your end users.
1. In the workspace, click the Publish app button in the upper right to start the process of sharing all the content in that workspace.


2. First on Details, fill in the description to help people find the app. You can set a background color to personalize it. The app automatically uses the image of the workspace as the image for the app. To learn how to change this image, click here.


3. Next, on Content, you see the content that’s going to be published as part of the app – everything that’s in that workspace. You can also set the landing page – the dashboard or report people will see first when they go to your app. You can choose None. Then they’ll land on a list of all the content in the app.
Note: Content that originated from copying an organizational content pack cannot be published as part of an app.


4. The last step is to decide who has access to this app: either everyone in your organization, or specific people or groups, defined by their email.


5. When you click Finish, you see a message confirming it’s ready to publish.
6. In the success dialog box, you can copy the URL that’s a direct link to this app, and send it to the people you’ve shared it with.


Installing the app

End users can install the app in a couple of ways.
First, you can share that URL with them. The first time they go to the URL, they’re asked if they want to install the app. If they click Add, it’s added to the Apps section of their Power BI site.
Second, they can click Get apps in the Apps section of the Power BI service. Microsoft AppSource opens, where they see all the apps that have been shared with them, including the app that you most recently shared with them. If the organization has a lot of apps, they may need to search for it.
Either way, after that whenever they go to Apps, they’ll see this app in their list.
They can also install the app from their iOS, Android, or Windows device by clicking the link in the email. The app installs automatically and opens in the default landing page.


Update your published app

You can make changes to the app by navigating to the corresponding app workspace.
1. Open the workspace where you created the app.
2. You can make any changes you want to the dashboards and reports in the app. Note: These changes are not pushed to the app until you publish again. This lets you make changes without affecting the published apps.
3. Once you are happy with the content, go back to the app workspace list of contents and click Publish app.


4. Update Details, Content, and Access, if you need to, then click Update app.


Now the people that you’ve distributed the app to will see the updated version of the app.

Unpublish the app

To unpublish an app, click the “…” icon and select Unpublish app. The app will be removed from Microsoft AppSource and is inaccessible by end users.

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