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Following THIS previous post where I described how to connect Power BI Desktop to Dynamics CRM, we’re going to have a quick look at how to map our Accounts from Dynamics CRM in Power BI. For the scope of this post, we’re going to highlight the states where we have clients (Accounts).

Once we have the connection to Dynamics CRM established, we are presented with the Navigator. Here we can select the data from Dynamics CRM that we want to work with. I’ll be selecting here the AccountSet.

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You will get a truncated view of the data for preview. Select Load. Note that this is not the fastest kid on the block, so wait for a moment while all your data loads. Depending on the data set, this could take a while.

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Once loaded, your data set will appear in the Fields area, on the right hand side. If you want to make your query leaner, you could edit the properties and remove the columns you don’t need, but we’ll be looking at advanced query configuration some other time.

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Now is probably a good time to check and make sure that your Accounts in CRM have Latitude and Longitude. Geo-mapping an address is not something you can turn on out of the box, so you will have to either customize the functionality to map an address to it’s coordinates, or use a 3rd party solution that does that.

Next select the icon that looks like a map, and click it. A map representation shows on the page.

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Click on the Data icon on the left side. Here you get a view of the data from CRM, and the ability to customize each field’s properties.

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Select each of the mapping fields and from the Properties ribbon area define the Data Category for each. For example, select the Address1_Longitude field and select Longitude in the Data Category.

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Do the same for Latitude and the address fields as needed.

Now go back to the Report view and in the Visualization Fields wells start dropping the values you need as depicted below.

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Now your Report view should refresh and show you something like this:

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You can tweak the settings as needed. When satisfied, save and publish your report.

Enjoy!

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I just had a user asking me today about connecting Power BI Desktop to CRM Online. It’s been a while since I looked at this, so I had to think about it for a moment. So I decided to write it down as a reminder.

Starting the application you are presented with a screen as below.

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If you disabled the startup page, you can get to the same wizard by going to Get Data on the ribbon.

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Select More, and in the window that pops-up find Dynamics CRM Online.

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Once you click Connect you are presented with the URL screen. Here’s where it’s easy to make a mistake, even though it’s stated pretty clear what URL you have to point to. Make sure it’s the complete Organization Service URL, not just the Org URL.

CORRECT: https://<org>.crm[x].dynamics.com/XRMService/2011/OrganizationData.svc

NOT CORRECT: https://<org>.crm[x].dynamics.com/

When using the incorrect URL you are not prompted to provide the credentials later on, and thus can not establish the connection.

Next, for authenticating to CRM Online, select Organizational Account on the next screen

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If you have provided multiple URLs before, including the incorrectly formatted one, select the correct one you want to use.

You will be prompted to sign-in. Do so using a user with permission to access the organization.

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If everything is ok, when clicking on Sign In you will be redirected to the O365 login page:

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Once everything is ok, click Connect and you should be in. Now select your data set and start building the visuals. We’ll be looking at some of the features and options available with Power BI in another post.

Lesson learned: read and follow the instructions carefully. Check the URL you provide. Don’t be “lazy” and expect the app will figure out what you meant (even though it would have been easy to validate the URL and append the Organization Service suffix if missing).

Enjoy!

The GIS (geographic information system) applications in today’s day and age are a differentiator factor when it comes to some businesses success. A good GIS system allows visual analysis and interpretation of our available data. We can easily determine trends and patterns by regions or geographical coverage.

While the demand for this type of systems has been steadily growing, it is also interesting to see how the market also re-shapes itself and becomes more focused.

As such, one of the players well known in North-America has decided to retire it’s support for the Dynamics CRM platform. According to this announcement, Esri Maps for Dynamics CRM has entered Extended Support.

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What does this means? The solution will be still available for download until the end of June, 2016. Going forward, all integration into the ArcGIS platform will be custom, with support from the Esri Professional Services or from an Esri partner.

Support for SharePoint and Office still remains available going forward.

Mapping remains an option, with integration out of the box with Bing Maps or custom integration as described HERE with Google Maps.

Some Partners have also built solutions around mapping. PowerMap is one such example.

There is also the option of building custom components for mapping. You do have the greatest flexibility with this model, but also the most amount of effort, cost, and integration with other services. Besides tapping into a public/paid address geo-mapping service, for more complex scenarios where you want areas analyzed and heat maps generated, that can turn into a complex endeavor.

Luckily, PowerBI can step in and help with some of the mapping aspects. The Retail Analysis sample for Power BI: Take a tour shows a nice example where GIS flavors fit in:

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Where you used to spend time tweaking a GIS solution to show you data just the way you want it, now with PowerBI you can much easier get to the same result, as depicted in Supplier Quality Analysis sample for Power BI: Take a tour

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And since we’re looking at dashboarding and visualization, Microsoft acquired not too long ago Datazen. It has support for the standard ESRI shapefile format, which allows for custom maps. Now if this evolves nicely, it could really become a key toolset in mapping standardization for industries like Oil & Gas, Energy, Mining, Forestry, etc…

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Only if there were enough hours in the day to spend with all these goodies.

Enjoy!

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