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Power View – Business Intelligence for Dynamics AX (finally) made easy!

After years of fiddling with various BI products (Proclarity, Performance Point Server anyone ?), Microsoft recently released the latest version of SQL Server 2012 Power View, which now finally brings an easy-to-use and highly integrated BI solution to Dynamics AX (From AX 2012 r2 onwards).

Power View allows business users to easily create interactive and visually rich analysis reports, and can be used from Excel 2013 or SharePoint Server 2010. It can consume raw data, Excel data, PowerPivot data, or even more interestingly tabular models deployed to SQL Server 2012 Analysis Services (SSAS) instances - In other words it can connect to any of the standard or customized cubes available in AX2012.

But AX users do not even have to worry about that, and find out which cube they need: PowerView integration to AX2012 brings a new “Analyze Data” icon to most AX forms, and a simple click on this from the relevant form opens PowerView and connects it to the associated cube – Here, I click on “Analyze Data” from the Customer screen opens PowerView with the Sales Cube:

microsoft dynamics ax analyze data

 I am then presented with the PowerView user interface, which will be familiar to any BI user – I can drag and drop fields in my report, select dimensions, measures, filters etc…

Here, I include the Item Group and Invoice Amounts, then place a date field in the “Tile” section, allowing for quick selection of the Quarter I want to analyze :

microsoft dynamics ax sales analysis

 

PowerView offers many different Styles for the report, a simple click on the “Pie” icon converts my report into a Pie Chart report :

 microsoft dynamics ax sales analysis pie chart

I can then add more reports to my View, here a Sales analysis by geographical region – Both reports still being driven by the Tile parameters (Date, in our case):

 microsoft dynamics ax sales analysis by region

But the interaction does not stop here, one report can also work as a filter for the other one – If I select one Item Group, the second report is filtered on that group:

microsoft dynamics ax region specific sales analysis

And because we all love maps, the second report can be converted into a map report, presenting a geographical view of my sales for any specific date range and Item group(s):

Microsoft Dynamics AX Sales Analysis by Region Map Report

Finally, the integration goes as far as letting you publish these very easily in AX2012’ Role Center.

Microsoft Dynamics AX Sales Analysis Role Center

 So PowerView provides an easy way for business users to create rich BI reports with only a few clicks, and its tight integration with SharePoint Server, which allows for the publication of these reports in AX2012’ Role Center, makes it a strong contender for the BI solution of choice for Dynamics AX2012.

If you would like to know more about Microsoft Dynamics AX, do reach out to us!

About the Author

AntoineL

Antoine is a Senior Consultant with SAG, specializing in Dynamics AX and GP. He has more than 15 years experience in consulting, particularly in the areas of Financial Management and Business Intelligence.

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