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Thursday, March 28, 2013

AX 2012 R2 and PowerView - Part I

Well here we find ourselves well into spring and I must say it's a cold one thus far. I'm for sure ready for long, warm sunny days and all the fun that comes with it. That being said, and my battle with the norovirus behind me I wanted to start my writings back to you with a focus around Dynamics AX 2012 & PowerView.

PowerView Design Surface

Without a doubt this topic deserves a good bit of coverage as this truly is a powerful, personal BI enabling technology. Let me states now, as I have in the past, BI is not about a tool. True business insights & intelligence is about owning your data and turning into a true asset. That stated, we must understand the tools that help us yield forth value added insights. Enter now, the focus on Microsoft PowerView and how's it's fired, used and managed within the context of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2.

For starters, let me give you a great reference resource. It's the official home page for PowerView.: Microsoft Business Intelligence - PowerView.

I think without a doubt, the above referenced resource page has some really interesting demos that showcase the power or PowerView. Further there are plenty of resources on the web, that can take one through the design and usage of PowerView. Before getting into some real examples of how this can be used, I think it's very important to understand how PowerView is targeted to be fired and consume data from Dynamics AX 2012 R2. Therefore, the goal of this post is to do just that. Infer the knowledge of how PowerView works with Dynamics AX, and how it's fired out-of-the-box. After having this knowledge we can then proceed together down a path of examples for how this can be used, and further extended.

The first thing to learn is how to fire PowerView from within Dynamics AX 2012 R2. Throughout different sections of the product, you will find a new icon as pictured above called "Analyze Data - Reporting". This button, is tied to specific action menu items, depending on what focused module of Dynamics AX you happen to be in. As-is, there are three focuses for such PowerView artifact creation, based on these action menu items of.: CreatePowerViewReport *CustCube, *LedgerCube, *VendCube.

Each of these action menu items points to a single class within the AOT named PowerViewReporting. This class takes specific parameters for which targeted OLAP cube should be used for creating ad-hoc or personal BI artifacts.

Looking into the main method of the PowerViewReporting class, we find that this further calls into another class, passing in the datasource of focus. The cube for the specific area of Dynamics AX that you happen to be in. This other class is the SrsReportHelper class. It has a brand new method called: getPowerViewDataSourceUrlClient().

Within the call of this method, exists a new managed code element understood as: Microsoft.Dynamics.Framework.Portal.Deployment.PowerViewDeploymentHelper

Now we understand when we are on the Purchase Orders form, and we see the Analyze Data icon that the data we are about to tackle is based on the VendCube. The VendCube field list of measures & dimensions is then what you see rendered in the right hand screen of the PowerView design space.

VendCube Field List in PowerView

Well that's all for this first post around PowerView. I hope this helps the understanding of this great new tool and how it interacts with Dynamics AX 2012 R2 out-of-the-box. Next post, I will create a brand new cube with Dynamics AX 2012 R2, and show you how to extend the PowerView framework for Dynamics AX to target that cube for Analysis. Thanks for reading, and check back soon! Til Next Time!
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