Last week I connected NewBook to Microsoft’s Power BI for our Accommodation provider clients. This weekend I gave Xero the same treatment, and it’s worked out better than I thought.
Some tech stuff
The architecture of this solution is pretty much the same as the NewBook solution. A .net console app runs as an Azure web job on a set schedule. It pulls the up to date Xero data via the Xero API and transfers it into Azure Table Storage. Power BI connects to the table storage, transforms the data, creates the relationships between the flat tables and makes it really easy to create cool reports and dashboards.
Discover more with Power BI reporting
Once our cloud hosted application pulls your Xero data into Power BI, we can get to work building the reports. Most of these examples are built using the sample data in the Xero demo organisation. I’ve included a couple of reports from our own Xero organisation because I think they demonstrate the functionality of Power BI a bit better. I’ve edited out the names and figures, though you’ll get the idea.
This above report showing our custom tracking option breakdown, our total amount paid vs owing and a donut chart of our top paying customers. Clicking on a chart element updates the other chart elements. Clicking around these reports gave me some great insight on how we’re performing as an organisation.
This map uses the data from your Xero contact’s street and postal info to give you an idea of how your customers are distributed. Our demo data only contained two address records, though map data updates when other elements are selected also. For example, you can even find out whether customer location has anything to do with the sorts of products they purchase from you.
Create the perfect dashboard(s)
Once the reports are created, they can be pinned to a custom dashboard in Power BI. Dashboards can give you a quick overview on how everything’s running. You can create multiple dashboards, and view them on your phone, tablet, or computer. We have a dashboard on a TV in our office displaying our daily performance data from a few sources.
Ask the right questions
This is probably the coolest thing about Power BI – the ability to ask questions of your data. You don’t need to be a data scientist to put together these dashboards, just open up Power BI and tell it what you want. The Q&A feature builds charts, graphs and returns numbers instantly. Once you’re happy with the response, you can pin it to your dashboard.
Check in from anywhere
The current Xero mobile apps don’t give you access to the same reports that you get on the full website. Now with the Power BI mobile apps, we can create and access our own custom Xero reporting and dashboards from any device.
Tap the mobile graphs to drill down into the data. Set alerts on important data to be notified when targets are exceeded or not met.
Export and share with anyone
Dashboards can be shared with other Power BI users via the web, tablet or mobile apps. You can also export, annotate and share individual chart elements if you don’t want to give someone access to your entire dashboard or dataset.
If you want to know more about getting this set up for your organisation, get in touch. We’re going to be offering this as a per user, per month pricing bundled with Power BI. This bundle will include set up, training and customisation of your first Xero to Power BI dashboard.