When will it break? Training a Regression Model in PowerBI for Predictive Maintenance

PowerBI supports training machine learning models like classification and regression in PowerBI Online. In preparation for a webcast I’ve recorded the training of regression model to predict mean-time-to-failure. Watch the step-by-step guide in my ERPCoder Youtube Channel

Can Paginated Reports ease Dynamics 365 FO report development?

Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management uses SQL Server Reporting Services for reporting and document generation. In 2022 Microsoft included SSRS (aka. Paginated Reports) in PowerBI Pro license. One may ask if it is possible to use PowerBI Paginated Reports as well for reporting purpose in Dynamics 365 F/SCM.

X++ SSRSPowerBI Paginated Reports
+ Direct access to transaction DB
+ Business logic in X++
+ Integrated with Dynamics 365 FO

– Complex development
– Embedded in Dynamics 365 FO deployment cycle
+ Simple development using Report Builder
+ Integrated with Business Intelligence
+ Reuse existing data models

– Limited development possibilities
– No direct data access
Pros and Cons for Paginated Reports
SSRS vs. Paginated Report
Side-to-side comparison SSRS X++ report vs. PowerBI Paginated Report

Data Access

Paginated reports in PowerBI have only a limited capability to access data. There is no Dynamics 365 FO connector or OData access to entities. You could use different approaches to get Dynamics 365 FO data.

Access data from Paginated Reports

Development

Paginated reports are designed by using the Report Builder. It is an adapted version of the SSRS Report Builder with some more data access features. In theory you could develop an SSRS report using Visual Studio and upload the .RDL file. However, PowerBI Paginated Reports are a limited version of SSRS and you might get errors.

Paginated Reports - Report Builder for PowerBI

Fazit

Paginated Reports are a reduced SSRS feature in PowerBI. The Report Builder is very limited. You can define data access, defined parameters and place data on the report sheet. If you want to create printable documents without real-time requirement the Paginated Reports may be an option for you.

PowerBI: Filter an unrelated table using Measures

In some cases you want to filter a table based on a selection which is not related to the table. For example the SalesTable is realted to the CustTable via the Account. The QuotationTable is related to the SalesTable (QuotationID -> Origin). The QuotationTable also has an Account field but is not related to the CustTable.

Such a situation can be avoided by using a better design approach, however you may come across such a problem one day 😉

Filter not related table via measure

Compare SelectedValue

Create a new measure in the CustTable that returns the selected value. Place a table visual showing the CustTable in the report. For debugging reasons you may want to place a card visual with your measure as well.

M_SelectedValue = SELECTEDVALUE(CustTable[Account])
SelectedValue

In the not-related table (QuotationTable) create a new measure that returns the account number which will be used to filter the records

M_Account = SELECTEDVALUE(QuotationTable[CustAccount])

Add a second measure to compare the selected CustTable value to the CustAccount value in the Quotation table and returns a numeric value (not a boolean). If there is no CustTable selected return e.g. 2, if the selected values are equal return 1, else return 0.

M_Filter = IF(
    ISBLANK([M_SelectedValue]),2,
    If([M_SelectedValue] = [M_Account], 1, 0)
    )

Place a table visual in your report showing the QuotationTable and both measures

Configure a filter on the visual to show only records where the M_Filter value greater than 0.

If no customer is selected all quotations are shown because the M_Filter is 2.

If a customer is selected M_Filter is 1 for all matching records or 0 otherwise.

Now you can hide the M_Filter in the QuotationTable so your users don’t get confused

Dynamics 365 FO: Export to Datalake

The export to data lake feature in Dynamics 365 Finance & SCM allows you to export data from tables to a storage account. You can directly export tables like CustTable, InventTable, etc. and do not need to put it in entities. Power BI can directly access the datalake and load D365 tables like in the good old times. I’ve published a short video on Youtube:

How to use Dynamics 365 SCM Product Categories in PowerBI

Recently we had the requirement to use the product categories from Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management in a PowerBI report as well. It should be used to filter products by categories and sub-categories. We were using Data Lake export in D365 FSCM.

This is how product category hierarchy looks like in Dynamics 365 SCM:

Dynamics 365 FSCM: Products by Category
Dynamics 365 FSCM: Products by Category

This is how it should look in PowerBI:

Data sources

To build a product category model in PowerBI some tables need to be exported:

  • EcoResCategoryHierarchy
  • EcoResCategory
  • EcoResProductCategory
  • EcoResProduct

Load and model the category hierarchy data

Start with EcoResCategory table. I’d recommend to remove all unnecessary fields and keep at least RecID, Name and ParentCategory.

EcoResCategory table in PowerQuery editor

The field ParentCategory is a reference to the RecID of the parent line. In theory this would be sufficient to build the hierarchy in PowerBI. In practice we want to create the hierarchy via the name, not the RecID. Create a copy of the table and remove all fields except the Name and RecID. I call the new table EcoResCategoryName:

A duplicate of EcoResCategory with RedID and Name

Create an outer join from the original table to the new EcoResCategoryName table via the ParentCategory to the RecID.

Left Outer Join from EcoResCategory to the Name table to get the parent name

As result the Name of parent is now part of the table. For example the parent of PC&Tablet is Lenovo Sales. and the parent of Server as well as the parent of Storage is Server & Storage.

Category with name and parent name

Safe and load the data.

Build the Hierarchy

In PowerBI you can use the DAX formula PATHITEM to identify a certain element within a hierarchy. You have to provide the PATH (i.e. Name and ParentName) how the hierarchy is linked. For example to get the first level hierarchy element use the following code:

Level1 = PATHITEM(PATH(EcoResCategory[Name],EcoResCategory[ParentName]),1)

In my example “Lenovo Sales” is a root element for my hierarchy. The other root elements like “Neue Kategorie” and “Elektro Geräte” belong to another hierarchy (see CategoryHierarchy field). My hierarchy has 3 levels, therefore I create 3 additional fields called Level1, Level2, Level3.

Level2 = PATHITEM(PATH(EcoResCategory[Name],EcoResCategory[ParentName]),2)
Level3 = PATHITEM(PATH(EcoResCategory[Name],EcoResCategory[ParentName]),3)
Use PathItem() to identify Level1, Level2, Level3 elements

To create the hierarchy in PowerBI right click on the Level1 field and select create hierarchy. Right click on Level 2 and choose “Add to hierarchy”. Do the same with Level 3. Your hierarchy should look like this:

Hierarchy in PowerBI

Create the PowerBI data model

To implement a report like in Dynamics 365 SCM, load 3 additional tables:

  • EcoResCategoryHierarchy
  • EcoResProductCategory
  • EcoResProduct

Link the EcoResCategoryHierarchy.RecId to EcoResCategory.CategoryHierarchy
Link the EcoResCategory.RecId to EcoResProductCategory.Category
Link the EcoResProductCategory.Product to EcoResProduct.RecId

In my example the relations look like this:

PowerBI data model for Dynamics 365 SCM product category hierarchy

Add visuals to the report

I’ve added 3 visuals to the report. First, a filter element to choose from the EcoResCategoryHierarchy. For example the “Lenovo” hierarchy consisting of Laptops, Servers and Storage products.

Next a filter element for the hierarchy that was created earlier. PowerBI presents the hierarchy in a drop down tree. To avoid “Blank” elements in the hierarchy create a visual level filter and exclude the blanks

exclude blank values from the hierarchy using a visual level filter

My third visual is a table containing the product. The products get filtered based on the selection of the hierarchy elements.

Final report with hierarchy and products

PowerBI: Compare different Timespans and Products in one Matrix

A recent requirement at a customer was to compare Sales Quantity and Sales Totals of different time spans in one matrix. The customer is selling saisonal as well as all-time products. It should be possible to compare the sale of saisonal products from last season to the actual sales.

Sum of different time spans and product

Data Model

The original data contains 6 rows: The product, the corresponding collection, the sold quantity, the unit price, calculated total price (Qty * Price), date.

In order to make the Quantity and Totals available for a row-like visualization the original data was unpivoted. This created a new column called “Attribute” and another Column called “Value”. The unit (pcs, €) have been added to the attribute to make it more readable. The resulting data looks like the following in PowerBI:

Filter tables

To implement 2 independet filter options based on date and collection 4 independet tables have been added. A date table and a collection table for both filter options. The date tables can easily be generated by using the Calendar() function:

Filter1Date = CALENDAR(Date(2021,1,1), Date(2022,12,31))
Filter2Date = CALENDAR(Date(2021,1,1), Date(2022,12,31))

The collection tables are generated by using the Distinct() function on the collection column in the sales data table. Each of the tables contain a distinct list of collections available for filtering.

 Filter1Collection = DISTINCT(Sales[Collection])
 Filter2Collection = DISTINCT(Sales[Collection])

Measures

Three measures have been create. Two measures that sum up the Value column in the sales data filtered on the selected values in the Filter1* table or Filter2 table:

M_Sum1 = CALCULATE(
    SUM(Sales[Wert]),
    FILTER(
        Sales,        
        Sales[Date] >= FIRSTDATE(Filter1Date[Date]) &&
        Sales[Date] <= LASTDATE(Filter1Date[Date]) &&
        Sales[Collection] in VALUES(Filter1Collection[Collection])
        )
    )
M_Sum2 = CALCULATE(
    SUM(Sales[Wert]),
    FILTER(
        Sales,        
        Sales[Date] >= FIRSTDATE(Filter2Date[Date]) &&
        Sales[Date] <= LASTDATE(Filter2Date[Date]) &&
        Sales[Collection] in VALUES(Filter2Collection[Collection])
        )
    )

The third measure calculates the difference between the other two measures:

M_Diff = [M_Sum2]-[M_Sum1]

Visuals

Finally the report contains 5 visuals. Two slicers for date and collection on the left, another two slicers for date and collection on the right, and a matrix in the middle. The matrix shows the Attribute column as row and shows M_Sum1, M_Sum2 and M_Diff as values.

For example comparing collection “Summer 2021” from 1. Jan. 2021 till 30. Sep. 2021 to the aggregated values of “Collection 2022” + “Basic Wear” from 1. Jan 2022 till 30. Sep. 2022.

Comparing quantity and totals from different time spans and products in one matrix

The slices on the left only affect the M_Sum1 measure which shows quantity and totals in the Filter1 column while the slicers on the right effect only M_Sum2 measure which shows the results in Filter2 column. The difference is calculate dynamically when adjusting the slicers.

Custom Scripts: Run X++ Code without downtime (Video)

Custom Scripts in Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management enables you to upload and execute X++ Code without the need to deploy a new release. Custom Scripts serve the same purpose like X++ Jobs in AX 2012 and earlier versions e.g. data correction. This short video shows how to create such a custom script, upload and execute it in a Dynamics 365 FO instance:

Custom Scripts: Jobs are (almost) back with in 10.0.27

The Custom Scripts feature in Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management allows you to upload and execute code snippets. Microsoft implemented some barriers because this feature is potential dangerous. You need two accounts, one for uploading the script and one for approval. The feature can be found in System Administration > Periodic Tasks > Database > Custom scripts.

Custom Scripts Feature in 10.0.27

Donate Crypto – Invest in Peace 💛💙

Ukraine is suffering under a brutal Russian aggression. Not everyone can fight a battle but everyone can help. Donate Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dodge etc. and help Ukraine to defend themselves.

https://donate.thedigital.gov.ua/

How to create PowerBI Scorecard based on D365FO data

PowerBI goals are used to keep track of targets like sales quantity, quality, etc. Goals can be linked to values from PowerBI reports. This video shows how to create a scorecard with goals based on Dynamics 365 Finance data.