With over one hundred sources to connect to, Power BI has the capability to pull together a multitude of sources into one report.
Power BI Desktop
Within the Power BI desktop select “Get Data” from the grey toolbar. A list of the most common data sources will appear and if you do not see your source type click on “More” to pull up the full list of data sources.
Depending on the type of source you may be prompted to enter a set of credentials, which can be your windows log-in or a specific organizational log-in.
Once you have your data source selected and credentials entered, if required, a box will pop-up showing all the tables you can select from. If you select a table from the left side a preview will show up on the right allowing you to determine if you have the correct table. You can select multiple tables to load at one time; however, beware of bringing in too much data as it can take a long time to load.
After you have selected the tables you can load the data right away or choose to edit your query. If you are dealing with larger sets of data editing your query is the best option. The query editor loads a preview of your records and allows you to filter and change the query to bring over only what you need. Doing so will help report performance when loading and updating your data.
We will cover features of the query editor in a future blog post.
Power BI Online
Connect to data within the online version of Power BI by selecting “Get Data” located at the bottom of the black toolbar on the left-hand side of the page. The main screen will then allow you to select data connection types.
My organization: If you have published content packs anyone within your organization would be able to connect to the data through this option.
Services: Power BI online allows you to choose from basic apps that connect to different types of online services, such as CRM or Power GP, which will pull in tables and a basic report.
Files: Pulls in from files that can be local or shared, such as from OneDrive or SharePoint.
Databases: Connects to databases and online systems you use. If using GP connecting through SQL is the recommended option.
Once connected to data you can begin making visualizations; however, if pulling in from databases or online systems it can be quite confusing at first. When pulling from system tables there can be anywhere from 10 to over 300 fields and the names do not always make sense. Generally, this is where people get frustrated and give up.
Over the next few blog posts we will be reviewing ways to clean up and prepare your data making it easier to work with when you start creating reports.
– Jerica Coleman, CRM and Power BI Consultant
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