Developers have now developed a knack for working with Swift, Objective- C or Java when it comes to iOS or Android app development. And why wouldn’t that be… these languages are considered as the gold standard — primary native tech stacks.
“But, what if we tell you — there is even a better way to create mobile apps that stick to the users?”
Do you know that Xamarin – a highly potent cross-platform programming language, which is currently owned by Microsoft, has become the favorite mobile app development framework of more than 15,000 businesses worldwide?
Since its launch in the year 2011, it marked its 1 million downloads milestone across the globe in just four years. It has become an app development framework that is used by some big names like Siemens, Coca-Cola, Pinterest, Slack, etc.to digitize their business outlooks.
Just the app development platform we need in this fast-paced day and age…
Xamarin has been innovative with providing developers with tools that allow them to create cross-platform mobile apps but with all native features through shared code.
Before Xamarin, native apps development was the only option accessible. Times have changed and developers are bidding farewell to code from scratch during native apps development.
Xamarin offers more benefits than just the ability to reuse code when building cross-platform applications. More than a million developers create apps via cross-platforms that maximize code reusability and also deliver a high-quality native experience on Android, Windows Phone and iOS.
Businesses that are looking for developing apps need to function across various platforms, which is why they choose Xamarin to not only allow then for code reusability but also lower costs and development time. This in the long-run helps with the investments on resources and profitability of the business overall.
In a nutshell, Xamarin apps have cut the development time substantially, are cost-effective and make apps user-friendly.
Business Intelligence and Xamarin apps
“Did you know 43% app users adopt an app with embedded analytics on a regular basis – while the adoption rate for an app with traditional analytics is 25%?”
In this data-driven world, customers are being smart about how they consume the data, for instance, static pictures and charts that show a snapshot of a single point in time, is no longer the case. People are more attracted to analytics, interactive visualizations, and real-time reports as business analytics turn the huge chunks of data into compelling storytelling.
Forrester predicted that business intelligence (BI) will be the new normal in the next three to five years due to its increase in operational and business complexity.
The more the user interface of an app can guide customers through massive sets of data into something meaningful, i.e. turning data into actionable insights, the more likely adoption and usage rates will increase.
Is Business Intelligence the Right Choice for Your apps?
We are a didactic bunch, we will not make assertions, but we will give you all the information you need.
Business intelligence is the key component to be agile, competitive and effective. As businesses expand, it becomes very difficult to manage data on hands on a regular basis.
This simply creates a pothole for data-driven enterprises who wish to leverage their data to the maximum for driving business decision making.
Mishandling of data or partially correct data can cause the siloing effect and biased reporting structures throughout the levels of an enterprise creating unfortunate situations, where key decision-makers are constrained to make decisions based on partially correct data.
Deploy an analytical system in place that effectively analyzes data helping an enterprise uncover useful information, suggests possible outcomes and supports precise decision making.
Thus investing in business intelligence leverages data to its optimum potential and consequently, business intelligence systems are being accepted and prioritized to a great extent.
Microsoft with its publicly successful track record in the field of technology has come to aid the public yet again with its compelling analytics tool, Power BI. This report authoring tool makes it easy for enterprises to visualize and analyze their business data to transform their operations by getting actionable insights.
Microsoft’s Power BI Embedded
For those who do not know — Power BI Embedded is a Microsoft Azure product-as-service (Paas) solution that allows software developers and (ISVs) independent software vendors to insert visuals, reports, and dashboards into an application making it more data-smart and user-friendly. This embedding is administered through a capacity-based, hourly-metered model.
Not only Power BI allows developers to quickly and easily provide customer-facing reports, dashboards, and analytics in their own application but also allows them to be made as per the brand and business needs of the application.
It helps in reducing developer resources by automating the monitoring, management, and deployment of analytics while allowing complete control of the innate features and intelligent analytics.
What can you do with Power BI?
Adopt and access the decades of analytics expertise of Microsoft in the field of analytics and AI.
Get your hands on thousands of ways to creatively visualize your data with out-of-the-box, certified, and custom-built visuals.
Enhanced user experience, allowing them to make data-driven decisions.
At a minimal price, you can scale as your business grows with analytics—without requiring any end-user licensing.
Why integrating Power BI embedded should be a priority
Tools for analysis empower the customers with the ability to take better-informed decisions, easily. Apps pertaining to any industry, regardless of the business objective it serves they must provide confidence in data-driven decision-making to the customers. Below are mentioned all the other facts that make integrating business analytics in your app a priority:
- Embedding Power BI in apps helps ISV developers to insert visuals into their applications that too without needing to create any analytical solution on their own
- Embedding analytics helps decision-makers with valuable actionable insights from chunks of their business data to perform actions within the application.
- Business intelligence minimizes gives businesses more time to market and upsell their apps as the time in development decreases. That is you can now spend more time focusing on the product rather than developing elaborate visual analytics features from scratch.
- With BI you can deliver value to your customers by exploring data sets and gaining a wide range of insights.
- Generally, a lack of business intelligence prevents you from doing everyday tasks that would otherwise be performed quickly and accurately.
Features of Power BI
Let us get to the nitty-gritty of Microsoft’s Power BI:
Hassle-free integration with the existing applications:
Regardless of your existing business set-up on the technology front, power BI will prove its versatility by smooth and hassle-free adaptation. It will also allow you to adopt analytics and reporting capabilities. Yes, there is no doubt about the versatility of Power BI, but there are a few technologies that work better with Power BI than others. We will talk about that later in the blog.
You can get assistance from Microsoft consultants to get this integration done in an optimum manner.
Rich, tailored-for-you dashboards:
The ultimate selling point of Power BI is the feature of information dashboards. Information dashboards can be customized in a number of ways to meet the exact need of your business. These dashboards and BI reports in your applications will provide your users with an enhanced user experience.
Publish reports securely:
You have the safety and trusty of Microsoft. The tool helps you to set up automatic data and publish reports allowing all your users to avail of the latest information.
Avail High Speed and Memory:
Moving an existing BI system to a potent cloud environment like that of Power BI embedded mitigates memory and speed constraints, making sure that the data is quickly retrievable for use.
No post-integration technical guidance required:
Power BI avails agile analysis and inquiry without needing any technical support.
Balanced simplicity and efficiency:
The in-memory analysis technology and DAX scripting language are both examples of a balance between simplicity and efficiency that one can find in Power BI.
For this reason, getting analytics in the hands of users should be considered a top priority.
How to integrate a power BI Report to your app using .NET SDK
You will understand now how you can integrate a Power BI report into an application using Power BI .NET SDK in four parts. Here you are using Power BI Embedded in Azure for your customers using app owns data.
Things you will need:
- A Power BI Pro account, which you can sign up for a free trial
- A Microsoft Azure subscription, create a free account
- Set up your own Azure Active Directory tenant setup.
- Visual Studio (version 2013 or later).
Part 1 – Registering your application in Azure AD – Azure Active Directory
1. You need to register your application in Azure AD to establish an identity for your application and to specify permissions to Power BI REST resources.
2. For your application to be registered, your Azure AD should also have the right to give permission.
3. Now go to Azure Portal and then go to Azure AD.
4. Now go to App Registrations and click New application registrations.
5. Follow the as prompted and create a new application. After filling this up, what you would get should look like this.
You are required to enable additional permissions for your application now, for that:
6. Click on the Settings on the top right corner of the application you just created and then press on Required Permissions.
7. Now click on Windows Azure Active Directory and click on all the Delegated Permissions and then hit Save.
8. Now click on – Add and add Power BI Service API.
9. Select all the permissions under Delegated Permissions and then hit Save when you are done. Remember you will only be able to grant the permissions if your account has Global Admin rights.
Part 2 – Setting up the Power BI Service Environment
1. To insert reports for your app users, place your reports into a certain app workspace. Note that, the master account should have admin rights for the workspace.
2. You can create an app workspace by selecting workspaces > Create app workspace. You can publish your Power BI report here.
3. Now open your Power BI file in the Power BI desktop and publish the report to the app workspace. You will now be able to view the report in Power BI service.
Part 3 – Embedding Power BI report in the app
Download the App Owns Data sample application code by Microsoft, for download purposes. Then follow the next steps:
1. Fill the following five fields so as to run the application successfully: application ID, group ID, report ID, power BI username and password.
2. Now open the Web.config file in the sample application (fill the IDs here)
3. Enter the application ID field with the application created from Azure. This ID is used by the application to identify itself to the users whom you are requesting permissions from.
4. In the Azure portal, choose All Services and select App Registrations and click on the application you have created in Part 1. We need to take the Application ID from here.
5. Open your Power BI report in the Power BI service. This URL will get you workspace ID and report ID.
6. The workspace ID you will find will be 1a8d021d-9bfd-47a0-966f-c2d181449b26.
7. And the report ID will be 8ecc94fa-fe19-41f5-968e-725989ede165.
8. Note that, The first ID after groups is the Workspace ID while the second ID after the reports is the Report ID.
9. So, now we have gotten all the three IDs as required. The next step is to put them in the Web.config file with the username and password of the Power BI master account.
10. Then, Run the application and you can view the report in the sample application.
Part 4 – The production phase
After the completion of developing your application, you now have to back up your app workspace with dedicated capacity. This action is inevitable to move to the production phase.
Dedicated capacity will be advantageous in having a dedicated resource for your customers. You will be able to purchase a dedicated capacity at the Azure portal.
Use the table to determine which Power BI Embedded capacity is suitable for your needs.
1. Sign in to the Azure portal and select Create a resource> Data + analytics.
2. Search for Power BI Embedded and within Power BI Embedded, select Create.
3. Fill in the required information and then select Create.
4. Assign your app workspace to dedicated capacity.
5. After having created a dedicated capacity, assign your workspace app to that dedicated capacity.
6. In the Power BI service, expand workspaces and click on the workspace you are using for embedding your content. Now click on Edit workspaces.
7. Click on Advanced to enable Dedicated capacity, now select the dedicated capacity created by you and click on Save.
These are the steps to embed a Power BI report into your Xamarin application.
So should you build a BI solution in-house, or choose a vendor?
Embedded analytics are available in the market enabling your business to leverage the dedicated R&D, infrastructure, and saving you the development efforts.
Choosing a vendor that provides BI integration services eliminates the burden of development, allowing your business to invest in capturing additional value for you, your developers, and your customers.
Here is what you get when you get a BI vendor onboard for your Xamarin apps.
Optimum Performance –
Business analytics development requires time and resources and not just expertise. By purchasing BI solutions you reduce the burden of maintaining infrastructure, storage, along with other things. According to Microsoft, you can be confident your analytics solution will work at 5x, 10x, or even 100x of your existing users. Perhaps more importantly, the right embedded analytics solution providers allow you the time to reach out to that many people.
Leverage yourself in the marketplace
“Only 25% of users return to an application after their first day using it, so focusing on how to improve retention is critical.”
Here’s what you can get with Power BI in comparison to the traditional analytics:
Export-free zones for app users
Delivering insights on-demand within applications in a single, consistent context.
Intuitively analyzing in a report, with regards to other relevant data in no time.
Performing trend forecasting to deliver significant value to users.
Expand revenue streams
An embedded analytics solution can impact your own business as much as it impacts your application.
You can offer premium access to analytics and self-service reporting. You can also create new lines of business because of embedded analytics services—such as white-glove analyst assistance with reporting—to expand customer loyalty and grow your business.
Over the past eight years, Xamarin has come up as a general solution for developing cross-platform mobile apps. Cost-effective, dependable, and comprehensive, Xamarin remains one of the most preferred mobile app development frames. These are precisely the reasons why corporations hire Xamarin developers to create cross-platform apps to give a feel of the native-like user interface.
We hope that the tips that we shared today will help you understand why integrating Embedded Power BI to Xamarin apps creates a win-win situation for both the app users and the creators.
i-Verve has been one of the leading Xamarin apps development companies that can source you the best solutions for mobile app development. Headquartered in New Jersey, USA, they provide integrated IT solutions and outsource their developers on various web development projects. Their services span across websites, e-commerce, mobile development, software, testing ERP, consulting, and Business Analytics integration. Find all your needs and queries quenched regarding Embedded Power BI integration with Xamarin Apps at i-Verve.