Embed PowerView into a Dynamics CRM 2015 Personal Dashboard

As we covered in December, the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 release gives us the capability to embed Power BI into a personal dashboard. I’d like to cover the basics of how to do this as well as a few tips and tricks.

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First though, let’s revisit why this matters. After all, CRM already has some great dashboard and charting tools built in that have been available since 2011 and CRM 2013 gave us Power BI in system dashboard. Absolutely—and this serves as an important foundation here, but the key is that by opening up this functionality for Personal dashboards it means that there is even less of a barrier for an average business-level user to surface up the information they’re looking for without having to involve an administrator. This is the key. It doesn’t always make sense to push all of the data directly into the CRM database, so now a regular user can identify (or build) a model in Excel and have it right at hand in their CRM dashboard!

There are two main steps. The first is more of a “one-time” setup by an administrator to get things set up. Once that is done it’s time to add in those Power BI elements.

Set up the SharePoint Site record (Admin)

The first step is that a user with the administrator security role in Dynamics CRM will need to set up a SharePoint Site record that points to the Site where the document is located. This is a one-time setup that will enable the users to embed PowerView into their personal dashboards.

To do this, go to Microsoft Dynamics CRM->Settings->Document Management and click on SharePoint Sites.

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Select New and set the Name, URL Type, and Address. Set the Allow Embedding of Power BI Reports option to Yes, then save the record.

Embed the Document in a Personal Dashboard

The first step is to copy the URL of the document that will be displayed. Locate the desired document in SharePoint, click the ellipsis next to the document, then copy the URL.

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From the Dashboards screen, choose to edit the desired Personal Dashboard (or create a new one). In the actions list, choose to add a new iFrame.

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Set the Name and Label fields, then in the URL field paste the document URL that you copied previously. You may need to slightly modify the end of the URL when doing this (see tips & tricks below). Once you have done this, click OK. At this point you can adjust the location and size of the iFrame in the dashboard. Once you are satisfied with it, click Save then kick back and admire the fine work you’ve done!

Tips & Tricks

When configuring the iFrame for your dashboard pay close attention to the very last part of the address. It should read action=embedview at the tail end. Sometimes when copying the address it ends with action=default which will result in an error for the frame when the dashboard is opened. It helps me to remember that I am embedding the powerview.

File permissions in SharePoint still apply, so when sharing your CRM Personal Dashboard with another CRM User, they may see a permissions error if they don’t have access to the SharePoint site. You could use this intentionally to provide this additional detail to some team members but not others, however do remember that when people see an error they often assume that it’s “broken” rather than an intentional decision. Other approaches may be more appropriate.

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