Power BI Integration Component and Architecture Overview for Business Central

In this article, you'll learn about the different aspects of Power BI integration with Business Central to help you understand its implementation and use.

Components

The following table describes the major components involved with Power BI integration.

Component Description
Power BI A cloud-based report hosting and management service.
Power BI Desktop An authoring tool for building reports and dashboards, and allows you to run reports. It's available as a free download on Microsoft Store and is installed locally.
Business Central Online or on-premises solution with connectors exposed to Power BI and the ability to embed a Power BI part.

What's available from the start

The following table describes available features.

Feature Business Central online or on-premises support
Power BI connectors Both. Different connectors for online and on-premises. Same connector used for Power BI Desktop and Power BI Service
Embedded experience for viewing a given report inside a FactBox in Business Central Both. Requires configuration to display reports for on-premises.
Power BI report management from Business Central Online
Default Power BI reports on role centers deployed to Power BI Online
Power BI Apps on Microsoft AppSource Online

Architecture

Business Central integrates with Power BI through a connector using OData. The data source for Power BI reports is exposed as API pages and OData web services.

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Starting in February 2022, Power BI reports for Business Central online are sourced from a secondary, read-only database replica. The database replica is part of the read scale-out capability in Business Central online. This configuration frees up the main database for transactions, which enhances performance of the system. Connecting to the read-only database replica is an integral part of the Business Central online connector, and requires no extra setup on your part. All new reports will connect to the read-only database replica by default. Old reports will still use the main database. For more information, see Business Central 2021 Release Wave 2 Plan.

General Flow

The following diagram illustrates the basic workflow for users when connecting Business Central to Power BI.

Power BI workflow  for integration with Business Central.

  1. User signs up for a Power BI account.
  2. User connects to Power BI from Business Central.
  3. Business Central verifies the license.
  4. Business Central deploys default reports to the Power BI service. This step only happens for Business Central online.
  5. Business Central makes reports in Power BI available for selection in Business Central. Default reports are automatically displayed in Power BI parts.
  6. User creates a report in Power BI Desktop.
  7. User publishes the report to the Power BI service. The reports are then available for selection in Business Central.

See Also

Business Central and Power BI
Power BI for consumers
The 'new look' of the Power BI service
Quickstart: Connect to data in Power BI Desktop
Power BI documentation
Business Intelligence
Getting Ready for Doing Business
Importing Business Data from Other Finance Systems
Setting Up Business Central
Use Business Central as a Power BI Data Source
Use Business Central as a Power Apps Data Source
Use Business Central in Power Automate

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