Reporting Issues: Advanced BIMcollab reporting using Power BI
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to give each and every stakeholder access to the BIMcollab space. Some project teams may have (legal) requirements to provide periodic status reports. For this, BIMcollab provides a number of different options to create basic reports in either PDF or Excel file formats.
But users would not be users if they did not all have their own requirements as to the contents of the reports, as well as to their layout. Developing software for such customized reports would be a herculean effort and we could go so far to say that it could be a product all of its own.
In fact it is. And that product is Microsoft Power BI.
Power BI provides a number of tools which can allow users to create fully customizable and interactive dashboards as well as paginated reports. And in the spirit of openBIM, BIMcollab provides all you need, to make use of this powerful tool and integrate it into your issue management workflow.
To get started using Power BI with BIMcollab, your first step is to install the BIMcollab Power BI connector. This custom connector allows you to retrieve BIMcollab data without the need to perform any kind of programming yourself.
The connector can be downloaded here.
With the connector installed you can now start creating reports using Power BI Desktop.
1. Click on “Get Data”
2. Select “BIMcollab” from the list of data sources
3. Enter the URL of your BIMcollab Cloud
4. Sign in using your BIMcollab credentials
5. Select the project data you wish to retrieve
You can now start creating you own fully customized reports making use of the latest issue data.
Tip: Upgrade to a connected plan and have access to activity and timing data as well as to be able to retrieve the full space data in a single transaction.
WorkspaceWhen your report is complete, it can then be published to your Power BI space in the cloud. This can be either a free personal workspace or a corporate one. Here you can take your reports to create dashboards.
Embed into BIM360, Sharepoint or IntranetIf you have a corporate Power BI workspace then you will be able to share it with your team directly or by embedding it into a CDE, a Sharepoint portal or your intranet site.
For example you can embed a PowerBI dashboard into BIM360 simply by:
1. Navigate to your BIM360 Project Home
2. Click “Card Library”
3. Select Power BI from the list of available cards
4. Click “Configure” to enter an “embed” URL from your Power BI report
On-Premises Data GatewayTo keep your Power BI dashboard automatically up to date, you can make use of an On-Premises Data Gateway provided by Microsoft.
After installing this on one of your local servers (a personal version is also available), it can be configured to provide a data gateway to your BIMcollab cloud. You can then schedule a data refresh in Power BI.
Full instructions on how to setup your gateway can be found here.
Report BuilderMicrosoft’s Power BI Report builder is an easy to use editing tool which can be used to create paginated reports making use of any available Power BI data sets.
The application will allow you to create a report layout using the available tables, matrixes and graphs. Once the report is completed it can be “run” thereby filling the report with the latest data.
The report can then be exported to a variety of file format such as PDF, Word, Excel, Powerpoint.
It is also easy to use your report as a template for future reports. All you need to do is change the data set.
ConclusionThe concept of openBIM allows teams to freely exchange BIM data between applications. This will let teams make use of the best BIM tools for the job, not just the “compatible” ones, and integrate the chosen solutions into their day-to-day workflow. It allows you to make use of a best-in-class issue management solution such as BIMcollab and combine that with enterprise level reporting tools like Microsoft Power BI.
Reporting issues; resolved!