One of the most important functions of an ERP system is to provide the reports and insight you need to make strategic decisions that will help your company grow, operate more efficiently, and boost profit. And one of the best ways to accomplish that is through visual graphs, charts, and key performance indicators that turn your raw data into actionable insight. That’s where the free Power BI Templates for Acumatica really shine. Let’s take a closer look at how to setup and use this valuable business intelligence tool that’s part of your Acumatica ERP software.
What is Power BI?
Power BI from Microsoft is a technology designed to connect to all your data sources and provide a complete view of your company using visual dashboards (graphs, gauges, charts, etc.) that update in real time. You can drill down into the data for even more detail. With modern business intelligence tools like Power BI, large sets of data can be combined in one spot, organized, and analyzed in ways that are very tedious and technical to accomplish otherwise.
Acumatica and Power BI Integration
Acumatica integrates with Power BI by exporting data from Generic Inquiries in OData format. You can use this data to create Power BI reports and dashboards.
Power BI allows you to slice-and-dice your data, utilize widgets such as speedometers and maps, and even combine your Acumatica ERP data with external data sources (i.e. spreadsheets or other software systems you use to run your business).
After you have created Power BI reports, you can then display them in right within your Acumatica dashboards.
See Also: Acumatica Reporting Tools Overview
Free Power BI Templates
Acumatica has created sample Power BI reports that can be used to demonstrate the integration and serve as a starting point for building more of your own powerful insights and dashboards. These free starter report templates allow you to:
- View and analyze marketing and sales pipeline data
- Compare budget to sales bookings
- View stock item profitability
- Evaluate profitability trends
There are two options for getting the sample Power BI reports.
- Download a .pbix file that can be used in Power BI Desktop
- Install the Acumatica Power BI Template App
Installing the Power BI Template App
Installing the Acumatica Power BI Template App is easier to implement, includes a dashboard, and can connect to your hosted Acumatica application. This option requires a paid Office 365 account.
Watch this short video for detailed instructions:
Installing the Power BI Desktop
The desktop implementation allows you to demonstrate reports using a local instance of Acumatica and develop more advanced changes to your dataset. This option does not require an Office 365 account.
Here’s how desktop installation works:
- Download and install Power BI Desktop from the Microsoft Site
- Prepare an Acumatica site in version 2020 R1 or higher (note: older versions of Acumatica require a different installation process)
- Download the .pbix file (request this file from your Acumatica Partner). This Power BI Desktop file contains queries, visualization settings, data models, reports, and Sales Demo data
- Open the Power BI desktop file from your local computer
- To link to your own data …
- Select File > Options and Settings > Data Source Settings
- In the pop-up window, select Change Source…
- Replace the blue part of the URL with your site info: https://presales.acumatica.com/demo4partners/odata
- Click Edit Permissions… then click Edit… in the pop up window
- Select Basic authentication and enter your Acumatica username and password
- When you refresh the data, your Acumatica ERP data will replace the data from the test site
Now that everything is set up and your Power BI dashboard templates are downloaded, you’re ready to convert all that data into visual cues that will help you make better decisions for your business. The combination of Acumatica ERP and Power BI delivers the interactive reports and tools you’ll come to rely on to stay connected to your data from anywhere, anytime. You’ll also get a more complete, 360° view of your business and at the click of a mouse, quickly shape, visualize, and share data insights throughout your entire organization.
When Was Power BI Released?
Officially, the Power BI release date was in 2014. However, a deeper look at the complete history of Power BI reveals that it was originally launched as Project Crescent, initially available July 2011. It wasn’t until a couple of years later that the product was renamed and reintroduced to market as Power BI for Office 365 sometime in late 2013.
What are the Versions of Power BI?
As of the date of this writing, there are 3 versions available which include:
- Power BI Free
- Power BI Pro
- Power BI Premium.