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Posts Tagged ‘Business Intelligence Tools’

Visualize Live CRM Data Using Power View for Microsoft Excel 2013

July 12th, 2013 Abi Shende No comments

The ability to efficiently access and break down data allows businesses to more effectively strategize and implement successful courses of action. Open Data Protocol, also known as OData, is a web protocol for querying and updating data, applying web technologies to provide access to information from a variety of different data sources.

Microsoft Excel 2013 offers a new data source called OData Data Feed. This enables you to import live data feeds from various data sources, including free and subscription-based data sources available on Windows Azure Marketplace. You can then use these live data feeds in Excel for analysis and reporting.

Microsoft Excel 2013 allows users to import live data feeds from different sources into the application for analysis and reporting purposes

Microsoft Excel 2013 allows users to import live data feeds from different sources into the application for analysis and reporting purposes.

Interestingly, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 also offers an OData data feed that can be used to retrieve live CRM data into any application using OData protocol. You can find the service endpoint for OData service by navigating to Settings > Customizations > Developer Resources.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers an OData data feed that can be used to retrieve live CRM data into any application using OData protocol

Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers an OData data feed that can be used to retrieve live CRM data into any application using OData protocol.

Using a combination of these features, you can now create a live connection to your Dynamics CRM data and generate interesting reports and dashboards using Excel.

For connecting to Dynamics CRM OData service, follow these steps.

In Excel 2013, click Data > From Other Sources > From OData Data Feed. Enter the service endpoint link above and click “Next”.

The Data Connection Wizard presents the list of data sets available in Dynamics CRM

The Data Connection Wizard presents the list of data sets available in Dynamics CRM. For the purpose of this article, we will select AccountSet (Accounts) and OpportunitySet (Opportunities).

Excel allows you to use this data to populate a Table, PivotTable Report, PivotChart or Power View Report

Excel allows you to use this data to populate a Table, PivotTable Report, PivotChart or Power View Report. We will select Power View.

When you click OK, Excel  retrieves the data from Dynamics CRM and populates the data in PowerPivot Data  Model

When you click OK, Excel retrieves the data from Dynamics CRM and populates the data in PowerPivot Data Model. This can take some time depending on the volume of data being retrieved. There are tools available to limit the data by using the OData query instead of retrieving the full data set. You can view the PowerPivot Data Model by clicking on PowerPivot > Manage Data Model.

The following screenshot shows the data model in the diagram view. Excel does not automatically create the relationship between the tables. However, you can do this manually using the PowerPivot features. This is important when you want to use data from multiple tables in the PivotTable or Power View report.

Once the data model is  populated, the data is available for reporting in Excel

Once the data model is populated, the data is available for reporting in Excel.

The first Power View report shows the Open Opportunities by Account Chart and the Opportunities table. Clicking on the specific bar in the chart automatically filters the Opportunities table based on the relationship we defined earlier.

The second Power View report shows the Opportunities on the map

The second Power View report shows the Opportunities on the map. Maps in Power View display your data in the context of geography. Maps in Power View use Bing map tiles, so you can zoom and pan as you would with any other Bing map. Clicking on a dot on the map automatically filters the opportunities in the table below. The size of the dot represents the estimated value of the opportunity.

Because the reports use the data feed from Dynamics CRM, they can be refreshed any time to see the current view of the data

Because the reports use the data feed from Dynamics CRM, they can be refreshed any time to see the current view of the data.

OData helps businesses access valuable information in various applications and thus put that data to good use. In this article, we reviewed how we can take advantage of OData data source and Power View to better analyze live Dynamics CRM data in Microsoft Excel 2013. 

Abi Shende is a Team Lead in Microsoft Dynamics CRM at Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of ERP, CRM, and eCommerce software solutions to businesses and public sector organizations. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for 5 years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine and ranked as one of 100 most innovative companies in the world in the Red Herring Global 100 in 2011.

Find Your Most Valuable Customers Using PowerPivot and DAX for Microsoft Excel 2013

June 11th, 2013 Abi Shende No comments

RFM is a method used for analyzing customer behavior and defining market segments. It is commonly used in database marketing and direct marketing and has received particular attention in retail.

RFM stands for:
Recency: How recently did the customer purchase?
Frequency: How often did they purchase?
Monetary Value: How much did they spend?

In this article we will use PowerPivot and DAX (Data Analysis Expression Language) for Microsoft Excel 2013 to rank customers by their monetary value, based on the sales amount in the last 12 months.

We can start this process by populating the PowerPivot data model from the ERP and/or CRM solutions. Our PowerPivot Data Model consists of the following four tables:

PowerPivot Data Model consists of these four tables: Calendar, DimCustomer, FactInternetSales, DimProduct

PowerPivot Data Model consists of these four tables: Calendar, DimCustomer, FactInternetSales, DimProduct.

Next, we will create the following four calculated columns in the DimCustomer table:

Calculated Column DAX Formula Explanation
L12MSales
=CALCULATE(SUM(FactInternetSales [SalesAmount]),
                       DATESBETWEEN (
                           Calendar [FullDate],
                           DATE (2012,6,1),
                           DATE (2013,5,31)
                        )
                      )
This column holds the total sales amount for each customer for the last 12 months.
RunningL12MSales
=SUMX (
     FILTER (
         DimCustomer,
         DimCustomer [L12MSales] >= EARLIER(
     DimCustomer [L12MSales])
                ),
          DimCustomer [L12MSales]
            )
This column calculates the running total of customer sales, which includes the sales for the customer on the current row and all other customers having sales greater than the current customer. This is accomplished using the FILTER function to filter the customers and the EARLIER function, which ignores the filter context and uses the previous row context to compare all other customers’ sales with the current customer’s sales.
RunningPct
=DimCustomer [RunningL12MSales]/
SUM(DimCustomer[L12MSales])
This column calculates the percentage of running total to the total of all customer sales.
SalesABCRank
=IF(DimCustomer[RunningPct]  < 0.7, "A",
    IF(DimCustomer[RunningPct] <  0.9, "B", "C"))
Finally, this column assigns the rank to each customer based on the Running Percentage as follows:
A = Top 70% of Total Sales
B = Middle 20% of Total Sales
C = Bottom 10% of Total Sales

The following screen shot shows the result of these calculations in the PowerPivot data view of DimCustomer table. The DimCustomer table is sorted by L12MSales in the descending order (largest to smallest) to see that top customers are ranked “A”.

After completing calculations in the PowerPivot data view of DimCustomer table, the DimCustomer table is sorted to see the top customers (ranked “A”)

After completing calculations in the PowerPivot data view of DimCustomer table, the DimCustomer table is sorted to see the top customers (ranked “A”).

Now, we can use this data in Microsoft Excel PivotTable for analysis and reporting purposes. The following screenshot shows the list of customers ranked “A” – i.e., top customers that contribute to 70% of sales.

Data can be put in Microsoft Excel Pivot Table for further analysis and reporting

Data can be put in Microsoft Excel Pivot Table for further analysis and reporting.  

The following PivotTable using the same data shows that the top 3,595 customers generate 70% of sales while the bottom 12,465 customers generate only 10% of sales.

This PivotTable shows the percentage of sales generated by customers in different sales ranks

This PivotTable shows the percentage of sales generated by customers in different sales ranks. 

We can use a similar technique to rank customers by recency and frequency and calculate a combined customer rank.

Also, the PowerPivot tables can be refreshed periodically to recalculate the ranks.

This is just one example that illustrates how PowerPivot for Microsoft Excel 2013 provides powerful Business Intelligence capabilities to analyze operational, financial and sales data from ERP and CRM solutions.

If you have any questions, or if you would like more information, please email us at dynamics@ignify.com.

Abi Shende is a Team Lead in Microsoft Dynamics CRM at Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of ERP, CRM, and eCommerce software solutions to businesses and public sector organizations. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for 5 years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine and ranked as one of 100 most innovative companies in the world in the Red Herring Global 100 in 2011.