In our fast-paced, data-driven world, non-staff resources are increasingly needing access to an association’s data for a variety of reasons.

A common complaint we hear from our customers is staff spends way too much time pulling data from their association management system (AMS) and manipulating it so the information is report ready.

For example, let’s say the Board of Directors Committee is meeting this quarter to decide on a dues increase for the next fiscal year. They will need certain numbers to make an informed decision—the number of new memberships for each member type over the last few years, total revenue generated by dues this year, etc. Cue staff scrambling the week before the meeting to get the necessary information. Sound familiar?

We recently demonstrated how associations can use Microsoft Teams as a robust committee management and collaboration tool (check out the webinar here). One of the great things about Microsoft Teams is the ability to embed a Power BI report into the Team itself. Administrators can set up reports that pull data from the AMS and display the report to external stakeholders. This allows committee members to access the real-time data they need, when they need it, to push important initiatives forward—all without ever contacting association staff.

Building the Power BI report is easy—the only tool you need is Power BI Desktop. Let’s walk through how easy it is to set this up.

Connecting and Manipulating Data

Once you have downloaded Power BI Desktop, you will need to connect to a data source to get the data you want to use for your report(s). Don’t worry—you will only need to do this once. The report will refresh with up-to-date data after you’ve created it.

To connect a data source, click ‘Get Data:’

You will notice you can pull data from a variety of sources. However, we want to connect to our Common Data Service environment.

You will enter your Server URL and then click OK.

Once you’ve signed in and connected to your environment, you will have the option to select which data you want to report on. After you’ve selected all of the entities you want to add, you can click ‘OK.’ Then, you will have the opportunity to manipulate data (if necessary) in the Power Query Editor.

Once you are finished making any edits to the data, you can click ‘Close & Apply.’

Creating Your Visualizations

Once you’ve connected and manipulated your data using Power Query, you get to move on to the fun part– creating beautiful visualizations using Power BI’s visualization editor. It might look intimidating at first, but this tool is designed for business users. However, it might be helpful to check out some of Microsoft’s free Power BI training tools to help orient yourself, especially if you are a new user.

You will see the different options for the visualizations on the right. Let’s say we want to create a card with the count of active memberships for contacts. We would go ahead and select the card visualization.

Then, select the field you want to count and change the field to ‘Count.’

And you will see the count of active memberships for individuals appear in the visualization card:

As you begin to experiment with the different visualizations and data options, you will begin to see how easy it is to pull business intelligence from your AMS/CRM. Once you’ve created your report in Power BI, you can publish the report by clicking ‘Publish.’

Embedding Your Power BI Report in Microsoft Teams

You are almost done! Now, let’s embed the report we’ve created in our Team. This way, our Team members will have access to this report whenever they need to reference it.

To embed this report within a Microsoft Team, click the ‘+’ button at the top of the Teams Channel.

Add the Power BI tab:

Find the report you want to add and click ‘Save.’

Once you’ve added the report as a tab, your report will appear in the Teams Channel—easily accessed by any Team member.

Power BI Report Usability

You’ve embedded a Power BI report into Microsoft Teams. Congrats! But what if we want to slice the data even further?

It is important to note Power BI reports are dynamic. You can see we are displaying the number of contact memberships that are expiring in the next three months. But what if we want to know how many of those memberships are Professional members who joined in 2019?

To see that data, a Team member could click the bar representing the ‘Professional’ member type in 2019.

And the count of memberships expiring in the next three months updates to reflect the selection:

That is all there is to it! Your committee members can now access the data whenever they need to reference it– and staff members can breathe a little easier knowing there is one less thing on their to-do lists.

Learn More about the Benefits for Your Members and Staff

This is just one of the many ways you can incorporate Microsoft functionality to improve the committee member experience. Want to see more?

Schedule a product showcase today to learn how to:

  • streamline processes and make life easier by leveraging a modern AMS built on Dynamics 365
  • improve your members’ experience by using our dynamic member portal
  • make better decisions using robust reporting capabilities including Power BI

If that is something you are interested in seeing, or if you are interested in seeing our committee functionality in more detail, please fill out this form or reach out to sales@cobalt.net to schedule a demo!

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