• Ida Bergum

The How's and Why's of Embedding Power BI in Business Apps

Updated: Feb 13

... Demanding a new breed of Analytics ...

Let's start with a definition:

Embedded analytics is the integration of analytic content and capabilities within business process applications. It provides relevant information and analytical tools designed for the task at hand so users can work smarter and more efficiently in the applications they use every day


Many times I get the question of how embedded analytics is different from traditional business intelligence software. And it really is all about context. Embedded analytics is targeted information to support a user to make a decision within the context where the decision takes place. It's analytics embedded into the day to day applications of the users, to improve the analytics experience and make users more productive by combining insight and action into the same application.

Gartner has predicted that automation and automation for BI and analytics, data science and embedded BI will be the dominant drivers of new purchases in this and the year to come.

This increased demand is driven by two main questions:

1) Are you looking to reduce the time and resources spent on delivering reports required by customers?

2) Are you looking to differentiate your core product by adding analytics?

Many products offer embedded analytics, but in this blogpost I will dig into how we can use Microsoft Power BI to provide embedded analytics. I have put up a couple of options addressing mainly question 1. But also option 2. I will not go into details on the "howto's" in this post, but that will be part of a blog series I have planned.

Power BI Organizational embedding in the Microsoft Ecosystem

Organization embedding examples include internal applications such as SharePoint Online, Microsoft Teams integration (you must have Admin rights), and Microsoft Dynamics.

To embed for your organization, see Tutorial: Embed Power BI content into an application for your organization.

For Dynamics 365 and powering up Customer Engagement, there are currently five options "OOB"

Personal Dashboards from Power BI - When you would like to get the full dashboard experience from Power BI integrated into D365 CE. Can be multiple tiles in a dashboard, or pinned live, in this case it's a live dashboard

Personal Dashboard Tiles from Power BI - When you would like to customize a dashboard using D365 components, web compontents and for instance one or more Tiles from multiple Power BI reports in one consolidated view. Here you have some more flexibility in combining charts, lists etc. with Power BI tiles

Power BI Integration to D365 Portals - When you would like to utilize analytics and embed dashboards and reports into a portal for your employees, partners, prospects, and customers. What would make their lives easier? For one Portals is part of that experience, but embedding analytics into it just brings it to a new level. There are two options to embed, one is to enable Power BI visualization and the other to enable Power BI Embedded (Embedded license required). There is also the option to use Power BI Liquid Tags or parameters for personalized views depending on the needs for your scenario.

[Picture to come]

Power BI Secure embed - When you would like to embed a Power BI report (note report and not dashboard) securely into a website, portal, but would like to for instance pass filters using Javascript. I would prefer the below method over this one in D365. However the approach to embed is way simpler and Javascript can be utilized to create custom menus, pass in context/values to a report etc. This can be embedded into websites, blogs, portals so not only restricted to this scenario

Embed a Power BI report in a model-driven system form - When you would like to embed a report or a report tile into a account, contact or other form with or without context filtering (accountid, contactid- the process you are currently in). Per now this embedding experience is a little bit of a hassle, where you have to customize the solution by going into the XML of the form and add some lines of code. I'm sure Microsoft is working on making this experience more seamless. In this example I am passing in the context of the account I am on (Northwind traders).

Empowering Teamwork and Collaboration apps with Embedded Analytics

SharePoint Online - This option can add powerful storytelling elements surrounding you report, and make the analytics available where your team or organization is sharing content, collaborating and working together

Microsoft Teams - I really love Teams now a days, Microsoft has finally figured out how this product is supposed to assist organizations in gaining productivity in a modern workplace, by enabling messaging, calling, filesharing, and integration to all other business apps and Microsoft services! Power BI is one of the integrations, as well are PowerApps and Flow etc. etc., which just brings it all together in a very sensable way. This enables users to have analytics integrated directly into their collaboration tool and not having to spend time to look for project reports, budgets etc. other places.

Develop and Create stunning experiences within apps or portals with Power BI Embedded

The User owns data approach is for developers seeking to have complete control over their embedded report experience, and therefore it requires more technical skills to accomplish. It supports the Power BI JavaScript API, where developers can implement stunning experiences within their own applications or portals.

Contextual BI – Contextual BI refers to providing required insights as a part of the user experience so that the user has relevant insights to not only achieve the task, but be highly productive during the course of the day. (e.g. if a graph on the bottom right depends on a table record selected). Contextual BI and embedded BI terms are closely related. Contextual BI implies the added notion that the context of analytic context revolves around the data or the task. These scenarios would be supported using Power BI embedded - User owns data.

For Power BI Embedded there is even the possibility to have Q & A, possibility to embed dashboards and provide Self-service in embedded- where the users can change and save reports.

Then there is the Power BI Embedded - App owns data approach, meant for ISVs or external facing analytics. I will not go in depth in this now as this article is mainly about business apps, but I will publish an own post covering this topic as it is highly facinating how business today monitize their data, creating new business models by enabling analytics.

I hope you enjoyed my first post in this series where I gave an intro to the How's and Why's of Embedding Power BI in Business Apps. I look forward to digging deeper into each scenario in my following posts.

Have a wonderful day, week, and summer - for those of you that has already started vacation!

- Best regards,


©2020 by idabergum