Integrating PowerBI & Sabisu

Following recent posts about integrating with BI tools and the need for open systems, how best to integrate with PowerBI?

While visualisation is a core Sabisu capability it’s sometimes the case that customers have existing visualisations required by a particular process, or that they don’t want to recreate in Sabisu.

Sabisu can help users get more value out of existing visualisations, introducing collaboration, workflow, Action tracking, other sources of data, advanced analytics, machine learning, or sharing of the data with third parties.

Sometimes recreating visualisations in Sabisu is required because the PowerBI infrastructure or capability doesn’t exist to share the source data or visualisations outside of the corporate network.

With those things said, we have some options:

  1. Embed
  2. Publish to web
  3. Export
  4. Power Pivot integration

Let’s look at those in detail.

Option 1: Power BI Embedded

It’s relatively straightforward for the Sabisu Customer Implementation team to embed PowerBI visuals into Sabisu pages using iFrames. Depending on the implementation these can be interactive (as there’s a PowerBI JavaScript API).

The assumption here is that the end-user is licensed appropriately to allow this. With limited authentication in PowerBI there are some concerns about how the data would be selectively secured, which for some data should really be regarded as mandatory.

Option 2: Power BI (Publish to Web)

PowerBI licenses usually include the right to publish reports to the web – which is great, as Sabisu is a web-based platform.

This simply produces a URL pointing to a server somewhere on the user’s network, which can easily be iFramed into Sabisu.

As with option (1), there’s authentication and selective security may be a concern – anyone with the URL and access to that network location can see the report. Also it’s not possible to share it externally.

PowerBI administrators may also disable this feature.

Option 3: Export to Excel or CSV

This scenario is similar to the way Spotfire or Tableau is often used; by small groups of users testing hypotheses, analysing data or prototyping new approaches.

In this case the data is exported to .XLSX or CSV format ready for insertion into Sabisu through a file upload or via Sabisu Go.

While this is a slightly clunky solution it does avoid any authentication problems, ensuring data security and permitting reports/data to be shared selectively and externally.

Option 4: PowerPivot

If data has been manipulated in PowerBI then the ‘PowerPivot’ Excel add-in can be used to get the data somewhere else, as PowerPivot and PowerQuery functionality underpins the PowerBI solution.

Sabisu can connect to PowerPivot using a Data Object, making it available to all reports/analytics just like any other data in Sabisu.

This means if you have a PowerBI query/report you can:

  • Open an MS Excel workbook (Excel 2013, 2016)
  • Open PowerQuery (Excel 2013) or Data Connections (Excel 2016)
  • Copy/paste the query from PowerBI to MS Excel
  • Load the queries, add them to the data model in PowerPivot
  • Then they’ll be available to Sabisu as a Data Object

This is a one time set up but it means that your data is then controlled by Sabisu; it’s secure as only authenticated users can access it, visible as per your Community structure and available throughout Sabisu for KPIs/reports.

Wrap up

It’s great to have a few options on the table for reusing existing solutions and that’s certainly the case here. Of course, choosing the right solution requires some analysis and while some are suitable for end-users, others less so.


We’re always interested in hearing from you with any comments or suggestions, feel free to get in touch.

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