PowerApps And Power BI – An Introduction To The Power Team

A few updates ago, Microsoft announced a new functionality in Power BI. We can now use applications created in PowerApps within the service – which gives us new possibilities of working with it. The biggest advantage is writing data directly to data sources like Azure SQL, SharePoint lists and many more. We can also use it for extending possibilities of the What-If analysis.

 

What is PowerApps?

PowerApps allows non-developers to create and publish web and mobile apps through an easy to use web-based tool. There is no need for Visual Studio or coding.

You also don’t have to deal with getting something published to an online store. If you can use a web browser, you can build and publish your own app for you or your whole team to use. Pretty awesome stuff!

With the latest preview feature, you can embed a PowerApps app into your Power BI report. And, while sticking an app on a page would be cool, they took it further and you can even pass data to the PowerApps app from a Power BI report. WOW!

The only limit is your imagination. The idea though, as we continue to adapt to an era of a more data-driven world, is to respond to a greater demand for actionable data.

If this data is actionable, shouldn’t we make it as easy as possible to take action? PowerApps and Power BI are ahead of the game as usual.

 

Implementations and business scenarios

There are many cases where you can use PowerApps with Power BI reporting. Let’s go over some of them.

 

Financial estimations

Create a fast forecasting solution to support your decisions by manually providing values for the future or with the use of advanced analytics algorithms.

 

What-if analysis

Easily type in the parameters for a what-if analysis – not just numbers but also text or other data.

 

Approval process based on self-service reporting

Organize a workflow using Power BI and PowerApps integration and include row-level security. On the report page, you can analyze and provide the appropriate values with edit functions filtered by access level.

 

Inventory dashboard that provides on-demand ordering through an app

Make an easy ordering process possible through integration with the reporting layer in Power BI. Additionally, you can use values regarding the actual stock availability to make your ordering process faster and more accurate.

 

Executive status dashboard where you can assign tasks and send feedback on the fly

Enjoy a very easy way to write your feedback or send quick comments on entire reports.

To sum up the possible scenarios, please let me show you the general overview and a sample workflow. You can view this on the following diagram:

PowerApps 5 example workflow

Example of a workflow

Microsoft Flow is the crucial component of the solution, because it’s responsible for organizing the entire data flow between Power BI and the data source.

 

How to integrate PowerApps with Power BI?

According to the latest announcements, Power BI gained a new functionality in Custom Visuals and now allows us to download dedicated Custom Visuals for PowerApps.

However, a huge limitation to note is that this visual (PowerApps) is not supported in Power BI Report Server nor Power BI Mobile App.

PowerApps (Preview) overview

PowerApps (Preview) overview

Once you download this feature from AppSource, you will have a PowerApps custom visual installed in Power BI automatically. As a result, by using drag and drop you can empower your reports with a PowerApp.

PowerApps icon in Power BI menu

PowerApps icon in Power BI menu

 

How to get data from Power BI and use it in PowerApps?

First of all, try dragging the custom visual dedicated to PowerApps and dropping it into your report workspace. Then, you have to choose appropriate fields which you’d like to use in Power BI.

You will be able to create a new application or choose another one created previously. Additionally, please take into account that visible applications are related to your email address. Finally, you will only see the applications which are assigned to your user.

After clicking on Create New, PowerApps Studio will open a designer for PowerApps in a new browser tab.

After logging into designer you will be able to find your dedicated dataset PowerBIIntegration which consists of all data fields you chose in Power BI.

 

Useful tip

  • To get a specific column from the dataset  use PowerBIIntegration.Data.ColumnName
  • To extract the value after using the function  use First(Data.ColumnName).ColumnName

 

Important to note

What is very important from the maintenance point of view?

First of all, if you change the data fields associated with the visual, you must edit the app from within the Power BI service by selecting the ellipsis (…) and then selecting Edit. Otherwise, the changes won’t be propagated to PowerApps, and the app will behave in unexpected ways.

Another note is that we can’t use Power App as a filter for the report.

 

Pin Power BI tiles to PowerApps

Another way to integrate Power BI with PowerApps is by embedding a specific Power BI tile into the application. All you need to do is click on Controls, select the Power BI tile and choose an element from Workspace > Dashboard > Tile.

Navigation to Power BI tile

Navigation to Power BI tile

 

Summary

This new integration can help in a variety of scenarios where you have a need for quick overview reporting. You can use it to increase security of your reports or enhance the functionalities of your existing applications.

This is just a basic introduction to the new feature. You can do much more with it, and more functions will certainly become available as we discover the possibilities. 

Curious about PowerApps or Power BI? Get in touch and we can talk more about it!

Key takeaways
  1. The idea of Power BI and PowerApps is to respond to a greater demand for actionable data.
  2. You can integrate PowerApps into Power BI with PowerApps Custom Visual or integrate a Power BI tile into PowerApps with a dedicated control.
  3. PowerApps visual integrated with Power BI can be used only with Power BI desktop or Power BI Service.
  4. We can’t use PowerApps Custom Visual as a filter for data in Power BI reports.

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