Instant insights, automation and action – Part 6 Integrate Power BI, Power Apps, Azure Machine Learning and Dynamics 365 using MS Flow

This is the last article in a 6-part series in which I will explain how you can integrate Power BI, Power Apps, Azure Machine and Dynamics 365 using MS Flow.

For reference here are the descriptions and links to the previous articles.

Instant insights, automation and action – Part 1 Create Power App

Instant insights, automation and action – Part 2 Create Azure Machine Learning Experiment

Instant insights, automation and action – Part 3 Create the Power BI Report

Instant insights, automation and action – Part 4 Register Power BI in Azure Active Directory

Instant insights, automation and action – Part 5 Integrate with MS Flow

In this article I will explain how you can kick off a MS Flow by adding an action to your Power App and then how you can integrate the Power App into a Power BI Dashboard. Data alerts can by tied to tiles in the Power BI Dashboard that can kick off additional flows which will insert records into Dynamics. The complete system is depicted in the diagram below.


Modify the Power APP

In Part 1 of this series we created a simple app that allowed a user to enter new sales data. We now need to go back to this app and modify it. Navigate to Power Apps and edit the app


Once the app is open click on the submit button to select it and then from the Action menu at the top select Flows.


This will open up a new pane in which you can select the flow that we created in Part 5 of this series. Once you have selected the flow enter the following code into the formula expression bar.

PowerApptoAzureMLtoPowerBIbkp.Run(NAME.Text, CHANNEL.Text, REGION.Text, FRESH.Text, MILK.Text, GROCERY.Text, FROZEN.Text, DETERGENT.Text, DELICASSEN.Text,CATEGORY.Text)


This will execute the flow and pass the data values from each of the text input boxes into the flow. You can test the flow by clicking on the play button in the top right-hand corner of the screen.

Save the report and publish it so that the new version with the flow attached to the submit button is available to integrate into Power BI.

Modify the Power BI Report

Next, we will need to modify the Power BI report to drop in a PowerApps visual. Open the Power BI report that we created in Part 3 and add a new custom visual from the marketplace. We need to add the Power App custom visual to the report.


Once the new visual has been successfully added we will add it to a new page in the report. In the Power BI report create a new page and call it Data Entry. We are doing this to keep the report clean and simple. We will integrate various visuals including the Power App in a Power BI Dashboard once we have finished putting the necessary polish in the report.

Drop the new visual onto the canvas of the new page in the report and add any field from the list of fields in the dataset, I used customer name. You should see a screen like the image below.


We are not creating or editing an app since we already built it in Part 1. Click ok and then select Choose app. Select the app we created for entering new whole customer sales data.


Click Add. You may see another warning about creating or editing the app, just ignore this by clicking ok.


New report page should now look like the image below.


Rename Page 1 and call it Wholesale Customer Report. You can spruce up the first page to make it look more appealing. I modified my report to make it look like this.


Once you are happy with the design of the report you need to publish it to Power BI. You can replace the existing report that we created in Part 3. Once the report has been published navigate to the cloud service and go the report that you just published.

Build the Dashboard

It’s now time to build a dashboard. With the report open pin the following visuals to a new dashboard.


To pin a visual to a dashboard click on the visual and select the pin from the menu bar.


A menu like the one below will pop up. Give the new dashboard a name such as Wholesale customer dashboard.


Select pin to create and add the visual to the new dashboard. Repeat this for all of the card visuals in the report except instead of selecting New Dashboard select Existing dashboard and if not already selected pick the Wholesale customer dashboard that we just created.

Next, we will need to pin the Power App visual. Go to the Data Entry page and pin the Power App just like we did for the card visuals. If you are having trouble selecting the pin option you may need to edit the report to pin the visual.

Your dashboard should now look something like this.


Let’s rearrange the tiles and add some new visuals by using Q&A.

First add a new visual by typing the following questions in the Q&A bar at the top of the screen.

Fresh by customer sort by fresh

Pin the visual to the existing Wholesale customer dashboard.


Then place this at the bottom of the dashboard.

Repeat these steps using the following questions:

Milk by customer sort by milk

Grocery by customer sort by grocery

Frozen by customer sort by frozen

Detergent paper by customer sort by detergent paper

Delicassen by customer sort by delicassen

Your dashboard should now look similar to the image below.


Try adding a new customer by using the Power App embedded in the Power BI Dashboard. After you have entered data into each of the input boxes in the Power App hit the submit button and in about 5 seconds or less you should see the customer count go up and your new customer on the dashboard in real-time. Also try entering in a new customer but do not fill out the Category field blank. Notice how even though the field is blank it is still populated by the time it shows up in Power BI, that is because the Azure Machine Learning model is supplying this data.

Integrate with Dynamics 365

The last step is to add a data alert to one of the tiles which will create a record in Dynamics 365. Navigate to the dashboard if not already there and click the … in the top right hand corner of the Fresh tile.


Then select Manage alerts.


This will open a new menu on the right-hand side of the screen. From this screen click + Add alert rule. Create an alert that will fire once the Fresh goes above a certain value. In my case I used 60,000.


For the purposes of this tutorial an alert based on an absolute value is adequate however a better choice would be to create an alert on a relative value such as % change since you do not want to have to go in and modify the alert to increase its threshold every time you surpass it. Click Save and close.

Go back to Manage alerts for this tile (Fresh) and this time select Use Microsoft Flow to trigger additional actions.



This will launch MS Flow. Use the default template to create a new flow triggered from a Power BI alert.


Use the template and select the Alert for Fresh from the Alert id drop down menu. Next select add new step and search for Dynamics 365. Then select Create a new record Dynamics 365.

Your flow should now look like this.


Enter the details for the Dynamics 365 tenant and select the Entity that you want a record created in. For my purposes I created a new task to follow-up with the customer by using the tasks entity. Save the flow and test it out by entering in new sales data using the Power App embedded in the Power BI report. If you have wired up the flow correctly a new record should be created in Dynamics 365 once you have triggered the data alert in your Power BI dashboard.

We have now reached the end of this series hopefully you have realized that by combining Power BI, Power Apps, Flow, Azure Machine Learning and Dynamics 365 you can open up new possibilities which lead to insights, automation and action at the speed of business.

Until next time.

Anthony


Instant insights, automation and action – Part 5 Integrate with MS Flow

This is the fifth post in a series of articles in which I explain how to integrate Power BI, Power Apps, Flow, Azure Machine Learning and Dynamics 365 to rapidly build a functioning system which allows users to analyze, insert, automate and action data.

In the previous article I covered how to create an API enabled dataset.

In this article I will cover how you can use MS Flow to create and automated workflow which will integrate the various components that we have built thus far as illustrated in the diagram below.


Prerequisites

Before you can complete this tutorial you will need to make sure that you have access to use MS Flow as well as registered Power BI with Azure AD so that you can push data into an API enabled data set. For more information on how to register Power BI you can refer to the previous article.

Create the Flow

Log onto MS Flow using the following URL https://us.flow.microsoft.com

Once you have logged into MS Flow click on My Flows and then select New > Create from blank using the drop down menu.

This will land you on a second screen in which you will need to click Create from blank once more.

After clicking create from blank once more you should see a screen like the one below.

The first thing we need to add is a Power Apps Trigger. To do this search for the word PowerApps and select the first result back from the search.

Add Power BI action

Next we will add the an action to our flow. Click on + New Step after the PowerApp connector and search for Power BI. Then select Add rows to dataset (preview)

This will open a new window in which you will select the workspace, dataset, and table name. The workspace will be called Customer Segmentation and corresponds to the Power BI Workspace you used to create the customer segmentation report. The dataset should be called WholeSaleCustomer and corresponds to the name of the API enabled dataset that we created in Power BI. The table name is the default table name for all API enabled datasets that are created in Power BI.

Next, we will use the dynamic content wizard to get the data from PowerApps into each of the appropriate columns in the API enabled dataset.

NOTE You must do this next step correctly and in the right order because as of the time of this writing there is no way to remove elements once they have been created.

Click on Add dynamic content and then in the pop up menu on the right select Power Apps See More.

This will open an additional option to Ask in PowerApps.

Select Ask in PowerApps and notice how flow automatically generates a field in the flow called Addrowstoadataset_CustomerName.

Complete the same steps for each column in the Power BI dataset. Be sure to select Ask in PowerApps for each new field. Once done your action should look like this.

This will automatically create parameters in the flow which will surface in the Power App once the Flow has been added to the Power App. As a sneak peek to what I mean here is a screen clip of the step to call the flow from inside PowerApps, we will do this step later in this tutorial series.

Add Azure Machine Learning action

Now we will add a new action between the PowerApp connector and the Power BI one to call the Azure Machine Learning API. To do this we will use the HTTP event. As of the time of this writing there is no OOTB connector or action to Azure Machine Learning Studio.

After you have added the HTTP event fill out the details as follows.

You can get the URI from the Azure Machine Learning Experiment > Request/Response page. Also, be sure to include the Content-Type and Authorization information. The authorization information needs to include the keyword bearer as well as the API Key which you can get from the Azure Machine Learning Experiment page.

Next, we will add a dynamic body as follows.

This will take the data that comes out of Power Apps and pass it to the Azure Machine Learning API for scoring. The machine learning model responds with the grouping the customer belongs to by using a clustering alogrithm. The Azure Machine Learning service responds with a JSON document that needs to be parsed in order to get the appropriate information.

Parse the JSON response

After the HTTP action we will add a Parse JSON action and take the Body of the HTTP response as input. We will also use the following Schema.

{
	"type": "object",
	"properties": {
		"Results": {
			"type": "object",
			"properties": {
				"output1": {
					"type": "object",
					"properties": {
						"type": {
							"type": "string"
						},
						"value": {
							"type": "object",
							"properties": {
								"ColumnNames": {
									"type": "array",
									"items": {
										"type": "string"
									}
								},
								"ColumnTypes": {
									"type": "array",
									"items": {
										"type": "string"
									}
								},
								"Values": {
									"type": "array",
									"items": {
										"type": "array",
										"items": {
											"type": "string"
										}
									}
								}
							}
						}
					}
				}
			}
		}
	}
}

 

This schema can also be generated by dropping the sample payload generated by the Azure Machine Learning Service Request/Response document in the Sample Response section.

Your action should look like the image below.

parse json

You flow should now look as follows.

complete flow
Complete flow with all components

Using the HTTP event is adequate for this tutorial however a more robust solution would be to use Azure Functions.

You can grab the sample C# code generated in Azure Machine Learning Studio to jump start the development of the “server-less” function.

Add conditional logic to Category data

Last, we will add some conditional logic to the Category field in the Power BI event. Click on the Category field in the Power BI event and select Experssion.

Enter in the following code to the expression box.

if
(
      equals(triggerBody()['Addrowstoadataset_Category'],''),
      first(first(body('Parse_JSON')?['Results']?['output1']?['value']?['Values'])),
      triggerBody()['Addrowstoadataset_Category']
)

This will check to see if the Category field has been filled out in the Power App and use that value otherwise if the category field is null it will use the value from the Azure Machine Learning model.

Test the flow by clicking Test in the top right hand corner of the flow.

In the next post I will show you how you can integrate the flow into the Power App and then integrate the app into a Power BI Dashboard.

Hopefully you have found this to be another practical post.

Until next time

Anthony