Announcing the Sales Management Solution Template for Dynamics 365 with Data Export

Written by Richard Tkachuk as seen on Microsoft Corporation
Back in May, we announced the sales management solution template that simplified and accelerated building powerful and compelling Power BI solutions on Dynamics CRM (now Dynamics 365). The sales management solution template offered a very fast guided experience to create compelling reports on an extensible, scalable, and secure architecture that could be customized however one needed. This meant that instead of spending one’s time on plumbing, one could instead spend it on extending and customizing the solution template to meet your organization’s needs. Today, I’m pleased to announce the integration of Dynamics CRM Data Export with the sales management solution template for Dynamics 365.
Data Export is a free add-on service made available as a Microsoft Dynamics 365 solution that adds the ability to replicate Dynamics 365 online data to a Microsoft Azure SQL Database store in a customer-owned Microsoft Azure subscription.
There’s no more scheduling – your data is automatically replicated from Dynamics 365 as soon as it changes.
With this new capability, customers can use the sales management solution template create an enterprise-ready Power BI analytics solution on data that is replicated to their Azure SQL database in a fast, robust, and scalable manner.
Provisioning the solution template is just as simple as before, but now it’s much, much faster with Data Export. You don’t need to do anything new – if you’re a Dynamics 365 administrator, just run through a couple of pages to let us know about your instance and we do everything. Once you’re done, all changes in your Dynamics 365 records are automatically updated in the Azure SQL database and available to your Power BI reports.
And while we were at it, we rejuvenated the Power BI reports to give them a clean new look – here’s what the new first page looks like:
I hope you can check it out – we’re very happy with the changes and hope you are as well.


Milliman chooses Power BI Embedded for their Integrate application

As written on
Today, we’re excited to share how Milliman, a global market-leader in actuarial-products and services, has integrated Power BI Embedded into its solutions. Saptarshi Mukherjee, Senior Product Marketing Manager of Microsoft Power BI, met up with Paul Maher, Principal and Chief Technology Officer of the Life Technology Solutions Practice at Milliman, to welcome him and talk more about their solutions.
Saptarshi: Can you tell us more about Milliman and your market-leading cloud solution, Integrate™?
Paul:  Milliman is among the world’s largest actuarial and consulting firms, with offices in major cities around the globe. The Life Technology Solutions practice provides products and services to the actuarial community. Powered by the Microsoft Azure Cloud, Integrate is the first solution to effectively tear down silos and replace old tools and protocols with a state-of-the-art platform that improves financial and risk management, maximizes operational efficiency, and enables strategic allocation of human capital. Insurance companies can now access unlimited computing resources with Microsoft Azure to perform compute-intensive, mission-critical work.
Saptarshi: How are you using Power BI Embedded in Integrate?
Paul: Power BI Embedded enables Integrate users to quickly create and share data through interactive dashboards and reports, all in the cloud. Power BI Embedded provides a rich immersive experience that allows Integrate users to visualize and analyze data in one place, simply and intuitively. Using Power BI Embedded, Integrate delivers a scalable and cost-effective solution that meets the ever-growing BI demands of users.
The ability to embed Power BI in Integrate was key to ensuring that the end-user experience was seamless for all dynamic BI requirements.
Saptarshi: Why did you choose Power BI Embedded?
Paul: After extensive research on so-called “best of breed” offerings in the market today, it was clear that Power BI Embedded was the right choice for Integrate. In summary, some of the key capabilities that made Power BI Embedded so compelling are:
  • Cloud-scale analytics service that could be embedded in our solution
  • Ability to visualize and analyze data in one place, simply and intuitively
  • Unlimited data visualization possibilities through open-source custom data visualizations
  • Scalable and cost-effective, and able to meet ever-growing BI demands of our customers, in a pay-as-you-use pricing model
  • Power BI Embedded is a cloud service, which allows the user to constantly take advantage of new features and improvements as they are rolled out
Saptarshi: Data security is obviously very important in your industry and at your company.  Can you tell us more about the security details implemented in Integrate?
Paul: All access to Integrate by our customers, end-users, and by our Milliman team, is governed through industry-standard security processes.  These include customer-managed authentication through SAML 2.0+ and ADFS 2.0+ single sign-on, and role-based access control.
With the establishment of single sign-on, all authentication and role assignment responsibilities are given to our customers, allowing them full control over assigning and configuring access for their personnel. The role-based access control allows customers to craft custom roles based on their needs, using a robust set of granular permissions.
This ensures that each user is only allowed to perform the specific role they have been assigned, and controls what data they have access to. The app-token based authentication and row-level security in Power BI Embedded allowed us to continue using our existing security methods and make it transparent for the end-users.
Saptarshi: What are your customers saying?
Paul: The reaction has been extremely positive from our customers. The addition of dynamic BI in Integrate by leveraging Power BI Embedded and Azure Cloud Services gives users access to data, and the ability to interpret data in ways that have never before been possible! Being able to do all of this in a secure and cost-effective way was a key requirement. Other capabilities include:
  • The ability to secure data in a multi-tenant application using Power BI Embedded, with row-level security. Users can create one set of reports and datasets, and then use them with multiple users and customers. Each customer can view the same reports, but only see the data that they are allowed to see.
  • The simple billing model, which uses report sessions, has been well received by end users.
Integrate provides business insights and real-time information to help decision makers react quickly to known and unknown risks, and to help them make decisions to protect their company.
Saptarshi: Those are all great insights on Integrate and Power BI Embedded. Thank you, Paul, for taking the time to talk with us. It’s been great to hear how Milliman has been able to fully leverage Power BI Embedded. We look forward to staying in touch with the work you’re doing.



Alberto Cairo, Power BI & the rise of data journalism

From the election of Pope Francis to the passing of Nelson Mandela to Miley Cyrus’ MTV #twerk heard ’round the world, 2013 was full of big headlines and viral hits. Yet The New York Times’ top story of the year was the humble result of a vocabulary survey of 350,000 randomly selected Americans conducted by a then-intern at the paper.
Instead of presenting these findings in a written article, “How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk” achieved breakout success as an interactive data visualization. It asked readers 25 questions such as “How would you address a group of two or more people?” or “How do you pronounce ‘aunt’?” and then heat-mapped their responses to the most similar regional dialect in the U.S. The interactivity and colorful visuals transmuted survey data into a fun, insightful tour through the contours of contemporary American English.
Visualization no longer just complements a written story. It is the story. In our increasingly data-driven world, visualization is becoming an essential tool for journalists from national papers to blogs with a staff of one.
I recently spent two days discussing the state of data journalism with Alberto Cairo, the Knight Chair of Visual Journalism at the School of Communication at the University of Miami. While he stressed the importance of data visualization for efficient communication and audience engagement, Cairo argued that “Above all else, visualizations — when done right — are a vehicle of clarification and truth.”




Introducing the new Power BI JavaScript API

Written by Josh Caplan as seen on MicrosoftCorporation
Today we are excited to announce the release of our new JavaScript API, which provides bidirectional communication between Power BI reports and your application. The JavaScript API enables you to more easily embed reports into your applications and to programmatically interact with those reports so that the applications and the reports are more integrated. Two of the key features to call out with today's release are: much more advanced filtering of reports, and control over page navigation.
With this new functionality your application can open reports with the correct context for your users, as well as change that context after the report has already been loaded. For example, you could open a report to a specific customer and change that customer automatically as the user interacts with other parts of your application.
How does embedding with Power BI work?
To best understand the benefits of the Power BI JavaScript API, let’s examine how embedding in Power BI currently works. Embedding a Power BI report in your application is done with an iframe, which is hosted as part of the app. The iframe acts as a boundary between your application and the Power BI report. With no way to pass infromation through the iframe, the report cannot interact with your application and your application can’t interact with the report. While the iframe can make the embedding process a lot easier, this lack of interaction between your application and the Power BI report can sometimes make it feel like the report is not really part of your application.
Power BI embedded iframe without Javascript API
Now the new Power BI JavaScript API will allow you to write code that can securely pass through the iframe boundary, so that your application can programmatically perform an action in a report and listen for events from actions that users make from within the reports themselves.
Power BI embedded iframe with Javascript API
What can you do with the Power BI JavaScript API?
With the JavaScript API you can manage reports, navigate to pages in a report, filter a report, and handle embedding events. The following diagram shows the structure of the API:
Power BI JavaScript API diagram
Manage Reports
The JavaScript API enables you to manage behavior at the report and page level:
  • Embed a specific Power BI Report securely in your application - try the embed demo application
    • Set access token
  • Configure the report with the following settings:
  • Enter and exit full screen mode
Learn more about embedding a report
Navigate to Pages in a Report
The JavaScript API enbales you to discover all pages in a report and to set the current page. Try the navigation demo application.
Learn more about page navigation
Filter a Report
The JavaScript API provides basic and advanced filtering capabilities for embedded reports and report pages. Try the filtering demo application, and review some introductory code here.
A basic filter is placed on a column or hierarchy level and contains a list of values to include or exclude.
const basicFilter: pbi.models.IBasicFilter = {
  $schema: "",
  target: {
    table: "Store",
    column: "Count"
  operator: "In",
  values: [1,2,3,4]
Advanced filters use the logical operator And or Or, and accept one or two conditions, each with their own operator and value. Supported conditions are:
const advancedFilter: pbi.models.IAdvancedFilter = {
  $schema: "",
  target: {
    table: "Store",
    column: "Name"
  logicalOperator: "Or",
  conditions: [
      operator: "Contains",
      value: "Wash"
      operator: "Contains",
      value: "Park"
Learn more about filtering
Handling Events
In addition to sending information into the iframe, your application can also receive information on the following events coming from the iframe:
  • Embed
    • loaded
    • error
  • Reports
    • pageChanged
    • dataSelected (coming soon)
Learn more about handling events


3 Ways to Embed Power BI

By Jessica Cook as written on
Want to share your Power BI reports and dashboards as part of a website or application? This week, Guy in a Cube looks at three ways to embed Power BI, including publish to web, using the REST APIs, and the new Power BI Embedded service within Microsoft Azure.

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Power BI Service April Update: ExpressRoute for Power BI

By Amanda Cofsky as written on
We are pleased to announce that Power BI has integrated with Azure ExpressRoute. This means that companies using Power BI will be able to use ExpressRoute to establish a private, managed connection to Power BI. Additionally, we already have several improvements to recently released features like row-level security and Analyze with Excel.


ExpressRoute is an Azure service that lets you create private connections between Azure datacenters and your on-premises infrastructure, or create private connections between Azure datacenters and your colocation environment. Now with Power BI and ExpressRoute, you can create a private network connection from your organization to Power BI (or using an ISP’s colocation facility), bypassing the Internet to better secure your sensitive data and connections.
ExpressRoute delivers the benefits of the public cloud, while surpassing the network reliability and privacy of the Internet. It is a great option for companies that require premium, managed connectivity for their productivity services. You can define all aspects of your network connectivity provider’s connection from Microsoft to your users, helping ensure predictable network performance and availability. You can also use multiple ExpressRoute providers to establish ExpressRoute circuits in different geographic locations for additional redundancy and geo-resiliency. You can learn more in the Power BI and ExpressRoute documentation.
Content pack support for RLS (preview)
In the last blog we announced a preview of Row-Level Security, and this week we're announcing our first update of RLS: support for organizational content packs. With this change, if RLS is defined for those dashboards and reports that are distributed as part of a content pack, then the security rules will be respected for all instantiated content packs. This change improves this method of distributing your content by ensuring that your security rules are kept intact.


Vimeo video tile
Previously, we released a video tile that supports YouTube videos. These video tiles allow you to customize your dashboard and add a bit of personal or corporate flair. Now the video tile supports Vimeo videos too.
Add a video tile by selecting Add widget from the top right of the dashboard.

add widget - managed solution

Select the Video option and then Next.
power bi updates - managed solution
Enter a Vimeo URL in the Video URL text field and select Apply.

add video title - managed solution

Now the tile displays the Vimeo video.

vimeo - managed solution

Note that Vimeo URLs come in several different formats, for example and We support most, but not all of these formats. If the URL you've entered doesn’t work, try one of the alternate URLs for that video; the video ID-style URLs tend to work best. In our example above the video ID is 101557016, so try

Analyze in Excel

Analyze in Excel available to all users
Last blog, we announced that now you can analyze your datasets in Excel. This powerful feature lets you connect your Power BI data model to Excel and create PivotTables and PivotCharts with that data. This means your data models are no longer restricted to Power BI, and now this feature is available to all users, free and Pro.
Improved multi-user account experience
Now users with multiple Power BI user accounts will have a better experience when authenticating to Power BI from Excel. Enter the credentials for the account that has the workspace where the dataset is located. If you accidentally entered in the credentials for a different account, you will get a sign-in failure message and a chance to try signing in again. To take advantage of this update, make sure the install the latest Analyze in Excel updates. You can find them under the download menu option.

analyze excel - managed solution

Get started with Power BI

Microsoft Power BI helps you stay up to date with the information that matters to you. With Power BI, dashboards help you keep a finger on the pulse of your business. Your dashboards display tiles that you can click to explore further with reports. Connect to multiple datasets to bring all of the relevant data together in one place.
Need help understanding the building blocks that make up Power BI? See Power BI - Basic Concepts.
If you have important data in Excel or CSV files, you can create a Power BI dashboard to stay informed anywhere and share insights with others. Do you have a subscription to a SaaS application like Salesforce? Get a head start by connecting to Salesforce to automatically create a dashboard from that data, or check out all the other SaaS apps you can connect to. If you are part of an organization, see if any organizational content packs have been published for you.
Read about all the other ways to get data for Power BI.

Step 1: Get data

Here's an example of getting data from a CSV file. Want to follow along with this tutorial? Download this sample CSV file.
Sign in to Power BI. Don’t have an account? You can sign up for Power BI for free.
  1. If you're in your workspace, select Get Data at the bottom of the left navigation pane.

    Get started with Power BI - managed solution

  2. Select Files. Get started with Power BI 2 - managed solution
  3. Select Local File, browse to the file on your computer, and choose Open.

    Get started with Power BI 3 - managed solution

  4. Power BI uploads the CSV file and adds it as a new dataset (the yellow asterisk indicates a new item). Since we did not already have a dashboard, Power BI also created a new dashboard for us. In the left navigation pane, the new dashboard is listed under the Dashboards heading, and the new dataset appears under the Datasets heading.

    Get started with Power BI 4 - managed solution

Step 2: Start exploring your dataset

Now that you have connected to data, explore to find insights. When you've found something you want to monitor, you can create a dashboard to keep up-to-date with changes.
  1. Select the dataset image on the dashboard to explore the data you just connected to or, under the Datasets heading, right-click the dataset name and select Explore.

    Get started with Power BI 5 - managed solution

    Another way to explore your data is Quick Insights. For more information, see Introduction to Quick Insights
  2. In the Fields list on the right side of the page, select fields to build a visualization. Select the checkbox beside Gross Sales and Date.

    Get started with Power BI 6 - managed solution

  3. Power BI analyzes the data and creates a visual. If you selected Date first, you'll see a table. If you selected Gross Sales first, you'll see a chart. Switch to a different way of displaying your data. Try changing to a line chart by selecting the line chart option.

    Get started with Power BI 7 - managed solution

  4. When you have a visualization you want on your dashboard, hover over the visualization and select the Pin icon. When you pin this visualization, it will be stored on your dashboard so you can track the latest value at a glance.

    Get started with Power BI 8 - managed solution

  5. Because this is a new report, you need to save it before you can pin a visualization from it to the dashboard. Give your report a name (e.g., Sales Over Time) and select Save and Continue.

    Get started with Power BI 9 - managed solution

    The new report appears in the navigation pane under the Reports heading.
  6. Pin the tile to an existing dashboard or to a new dashboard.

    Get started with Power BI 10 - managed solution

    • Existing dashboard: select the name of the dashboard from the dropdown.
    • New dashboard: type the name of the new dashboard.
  7. Select Pin.
    A Success message (near the top right corner) lets you know the visualization was added, as a tile, to your dashboard.

    Get started with Power BI 11 - managed solution

  8. Back on your dashboard, you can see your new visualization. Make your dashboard even better by renaming, resizing, linking, and repositioning tiles.
    Get started with Power BI 12 - managed solution
    You can select the new tile on your dashboard to return to the report any time.
  9. For a quick exploration of your data, try asking a question in the Q&A box. For example, try typing "what segment had the most revenue".

    Get started with Power BI 13 - managed solution

Step 3: Continue exploring with Q&A

  1. Select the pin iconGet started with Power BI 15 - managed solution to show this visualization on your dashboard too.
  2. Pin the visualization to the Financial Sample dashboard.

    Get started with Power BI 14 - managed solution

  3. Select the back arrow Get started with Power BI 16 - managed solution to return to your dashboard where you'll see the new tile.
Ready to try more? Here are some great ways to explore more of Power BI.
Not quite ready to jump right in? Start with these topics designed to help you feel comfortable with Power BI.

Watch Microsoft Mechanics for Power BI updates

On October 22, 2015 marks the launch of Microsoft Mechanics, an official new show and video platform for IT professionals and tech enthusiasts. Shows comprise informative demos, how-tos and insights from the engineers and tech leaders behind our technology each Wednesday or as news breaks, all in around ten or so minutes.

Beyond the news and blog announcements, it’ll help you to see the technology for yourself, get broader context and understand the potential application so that you can decide whether or not to explore further.

Stay informed, subscribe to Microsoft Mechanics to get updates.

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