What is Power BI?

Microsoft Power BI is an affordable business analytics and intelligence service which gives interactive insights using live dashboards and rich reports with the facility of accessing data on the move from mobile devices.

At its essence, Power BI is a collection of software services, apps and connectors that work together to turn unrelated sources of data into visually appealing and easy to understand interactive insights. This data could be an Excel Spreadsheet, or a collection of cloud-based and on-premises hybrid data warehouses of your existing SAP ERP system.

In any scenario, Microsoft Power BI lets you easily connect to your data sources, visualize and discover what’s important, and share that with anyone or everyone you want.

Power BI is compatible with these SAP ERP Systems


What does Power BI let you do?

Manage a Self-Service Business Intelligence (SSBI) for your Business Operations

  • Transform and Shape Data into Insights
  • Transform and Shape organizational Data into Insights
  • Use Data Modeling and Navigation
  • Create and Share Dashboards and Visual Reports
  • Develop and Import Optimized Data Models
  • Easily use DAX functions to analyse data and create Visualizations
  • Prepare Interactive Power BI reports

Which Power BI element is suited to your business role?

A business may need multiple roles and functions for Power BI depending on the organization structure that needs to access and utilize business intelligence. Different Professionals in different roles will use Power BI differently.

Power BI for Senior Management

If you need to view and access already created reports and dashboards, Power BI Service is more suited to your needs.

Power BI for Developers

Developers on the other hand can utilize Power BI APIs to push data into a dataset to embed dashboards & reports into the organization’s customized applications.

Power BI for the Business Analyst

Create number crunching extensive business reports using Power BI Desktop Create enhanced customer demographic reports or sales reports for a specific locality in a breaking market with all the right metrics you need for the report.

Power BI for Department Teams

Create customized Power BI datasets to make paginated reports of whatever you need such as mailable sales invoices. Another colleague, a Sales Manager, would only need to check those reports from time-to-time which he can easily access using the Power BI phone app.

Benefits of Power BI for SAP

Manage a self-service business intelligence (SSBI) for your Business Operations.

Seamlessly Integrates with all types of SAP ERP systems | Intuitive Reports and Analytics Cost-Effective | Powerful Features | High Performance | Secure with Data Access Control Facilitates Open-source Data Visualization | Customized Dashboards

Flow of Work in Power BI

The Flow Of Work in Power BI

One of the most common workflows in Power BI begins by connecting to data sources in Power BI Desktop and building a report.

Publish that report from Power BI Desktop to the Power BI service, and share it so business users in the Power BI service and on mobile devices can view and interact with the report.

Many other workflows depending on your unique organization specific processes can be worked out and implemented by expert SAP Consultants such as VC ERP.

Safely Interact With Content

Whether it is dashboards, reports or apps, Power BI will offer you a great option to explore & experiment to derive relevant insights for your business.

Filtering, editing or exporting data doesn’t affect the underlying dataset or the original shared content you use in Power BI. Therefore, your data remains safe.

The changes you make affect only your view of the content you are editing. You can always revert to the original view with just a click.

Safely Interact With Content

Power BI & SAP

Power BI is an affordable and easy-to-use tool that can be rapidly integrated with your On-Premise SAP Data Sources.

SAP is a key enterprise BI data source and Power BI connectivity to SAP systems is a desired capability for enterprise customers who want to unlock insights from their most critical business systems.

Power BI connects to SAP S/4 HANA and Business Warehouse interfaces easily.

SAP customers who have already deployed SAP Business Warehouse have gone through the effort of integrating their transactional SAP data from SAP ECC/ERP, CRM, SRM or other business systems into SAP Business Warehouse.

Enterprise data in SAP BW has been cleansed, transformed and modelled for use in reporting, analytics and planning applications. It only makes sense that customers want to utilize what they have already invested in and connect Power BI to their data in SAP BW.

Power BI Connection Types for SAP Business Warehouse

Power BI Desktop offers two connection types for SAP Business Warehouse

Application Server Connections & Message Server Connections

Your login parameters for the Power BI desktop to log on to the SAP BW would be quite similar to logging on to SAP BW using the SAP GUI client tool. Using the Application Server connection, Power BI will always connect to the specific SAP BW Server (host or IP) in your SAP landscape.

This means that your server must be able to support such connections and the workload they bring from time-to-time without affecting the other functions the server needs to carry out.

When creating visuals in Power BI Desktop, the underlying data source in SAP BW is queried to retrieve the needed data. The time that the visual takes to update entirely depends on the performance of your SAP BW system.

Apart from importing SAP BW data, users can also import a variety of other data sources into Power BI Desktop and combine them in a single report. To maximize performance, the larger SAP BW data set can be split into smaller datasets and join them together in Power BI Desktop. Alternatively, using the built-in connector for SAP HANA, you can combine and bring together data from different SAP sources. This opens many interesting scenarios for reporting and analytics on top of your SAP data.

Power BI – Supported Data Sources

Power BI supports a large range of SAP data sources. Power BI also allows users to connect to different flat files, SQL database and Azure Cloud or even web platforms such as Facebook, Google Analytics and Salesforce objects. It also includes an ODBC Connection to connect to other ODBC data sources as well.

Following are the available data sources in Power BI:

SQL Database | OData Feed | Blank Query | Azure Cloud Platform | Online Services Blank Query | Flat Files Other data sources such as Hadoop, Exchange Power or Active Directory

The VC ERP Action Plan for Power BI Migration

The VC ERP Action Plan for Power BI Migration

Phase 1: Setup and Evaluate Power BI

Establish the initial architecture. This phase is all about planning governance & preliminary deployment along with a careful cost vs benefit analysis.

Phase 2: Creating Dashboards and Reports

This in phase is about using and evaluating Power BI by the End-User from the organization so needs and functionality can be carefully assessed. This happens hand-in-hand with the migration happening alongside.

Phase 3: Migrating BI Assets from Legacy Systems to Microsoft Power BI

The structure of the organization, the existing strategies of data management & maintenance, data management maturity and the larger goals of the enterprise all determine how the migration is to be carried out. This makes each migration different. This is one of the most critical reasons you must onboard a technically sound, experienced and expert Power BI & SAP consultants like VC ERP Consulting to do this for you

Phase 4: Adopt, Govern & Monitor Power BI

Nurture data culture, communication & training. If your team isn’t keeping the data recorded timely, the entire exercise for integration may not be that big a success as you had intended. In order to ensure the ROI of Power BI Implementation on SAP is not adversely affected, foster data culture through training & consistent communication. Policy level changes to address resistance to change within employees will also be needed at this stage.

Why does VC ERP recommend Power BI for your SAP ERP Systems?

Power BI provides a unique set of features that empower everyone to benefit from direct access to data and insights. Power BI’s distinctive set of features include:

  • Dashboards & Reports for popular SaaS solutions
  • Intuitive data exploration using natural language query functionality
  • Live, Real-Time Dashboards
  • Secure, live connectivity to your data sources, on-premises and in the cloud