BI Helper

Welcome to BI Helper

This guide is meant to provide specific information to help you get off to using BI Helper.

BI Helper        

ADDING A NEW JOB        

Add a job

Login Credentials

API Integrations

Email Setup

Conditional Reporting

EDITING A JOB

Configuration

Basic Configuration

PDF Configuration

Email Configuration

JOB EXECUTION

Job Status and Run Emails Later

Job Failure

ACCESSING YOUR REPORTS

Cloud Storage

FTP Access

Push Files to Other Locations

SECURITY

Credentials Security

File Security

More information on Security

PRICING AND SUPPORT

FEATURES

ADDING A NEW JOB

Add a job

Login and create a new job. Fill in the configuration. Make sure the report is accessible by the given login.

Post 24 hours the report will be deployed and will be usable.
Large volume reports - for e.g. - 5000 reports per day run on a multiple server setup. Based on the load the servers scale by themselves. We need to understand your SLAs to correctly configure the machines.

In upcoming releases we plan to make it self-serve where you can do the validations yourself.


It takes 24 hours to provision a job. The reasons being validations, multi node execution setup, etc.

Login Credentials

Please make sure the Power BI login credentials provided to us have access ONLY to the Reports you want automated.
Best Practice: Get a new account created within your organization. Share the reports with the newly created user. Make sure this account DOES NOT have access to any other resources within your organization.

The MFA (multi factor authentication / 2 step authentication) needs to be switched off on this account to access the Power BI resources.

Please write to us if you have any questions around login-credentials.

API Integrations

Please write to us to enable API Integrations. BI Helper can automatically pull (slicer, contacts) information using APIs. The API configuration happens through back-end.

Also, all the APIs of BI Helper are available and can easily integrate with your internal systems.

E.g. You can extend distribution in embedded reports using APIs.

Please write to us to learn more about APIs.

Email Setup

There are two modes to setup email:

The advantage is that it is easiest to get started within no time, no approvals from the IT team and no access to SMTP server of your organization is needed. The emails sent using this method have high trust factor because they originate from the Amazon Servers and emails sent using this method don’t have to be whitelisted and they are not classified as spam.

The disadvantage is that the emails have an additional text in the “from” header of the email - abc@xyz.com sent via amazonses.com. (see image below)

However many
clients like Outlook do not show this additional text.

Clients like Gmail Show this text to inform you that amazon has sent the email on behalf of the account provided.

The advantages of this approach are - the “From text” doesn’t contain the additional text of “sent via amazonses.com”

The disadvantages of this approach are - you need SMTP server access of the organization. Also if the SMTP server goes down or if there are changes in credentials or if the security policies change, the user needs to be aware of this and manage this.

Recommended Setup: Without SMTP Server

Conditional Reporting

Conditional reporting is supported by BI Helper.
To setup conditional reporting, please get in touch with us to enable the conditions from backend.
We plan to expose conditional reporting to the UI in the future releases.

EDITING A JOB

Configuration

Once the job has been deployed, you can edit any part of the job as long as the REPORT to be distributed remains the same.

Basic Configuration

Edit schedule, activate, deactivate, change the name of the job from this tab.
Once deactivated the job will not run.

PDF Configuration

While editing a job in the PDF tab it is mandatory to provide the following information:

  1. Slicer Name: (If there is no slicer name - mark it with “not available”)
  2. Emails: email ids are to be provided. If you don’t want to send an email to a user, please add a dummy email id so that the email is not sent. Multiple emails should be separated by “;”.
    There is no verification of the data provided by the users.
  3. The report name and the workspace name should be exactly the same as defined in the Power BI Service.
    If the reports are renamed in Power BI service, they should be renamed in the PDF tab as well.

To upload data in bulk - you can download a template from the UI and fill that template and upload it again to the UI.

The template that downloads is a CSV and is separated by a “|” operator.

When uploading a template the column headers should not be rearranged or edited or deleted.

Email Configuration

From Email: BI Helper uses the account specified in the From Email to send the emails. To allow BI Helper to send the emails, you have to authorize BI Helper to use the account.

Manual step: If you want to use a new email id, you will be sent an authorization email from AWS.
During onboarding we will setup your email account.
Post that if you want to change your from email - please drop us an email.

Disabling Emails: There will be scenarios where you will want to send emails later and would just want to generate the PDFs. In such cases there is an option to “SEND EMAILS” emails in the email tab. Just switch it off.
Switching it off will just generate the PDFs and will NOT send the emails.

JOB EXECUTION

Job Status and Run Emails Later

The jobs can either be scheduled or run on demand by clicking on the run now functionality.
The job status can be checked by going to the  job history tab.

The email step is independent of the pdf step. Only when the PDF generation completes, the emails will be sent. If the PDF step fails, emails will NOT be sent.

If you want you can disable the emails and run them later.

You will be shown data of last 5 executions in the tab.

Following operations can be performed on the last 5 executions:

  1. Edit the configuration: Editing the configuration will allow you to edit the emails and will allow you to enable / disable “send email” flag.
  2. Send Emails: This will send the emails for the specific Job Execution.
    You can edit the configuration and disable certain files if you don’t want them to be sent via email. You can also edit the configuration to add more contacts if you want to send any file to any person. The contacts are “,” separated.
  3. In job execution you will see the status of the emails, files and the jobs.


Job Failure

There will be scenarios where there will be job failures. BI Helper attempts 3 retries before reporting error.
Following scenarios might cause the job to fail :-

  1. Wrong Configuration: If the credentials are changed / wrong or the report is renamed or the workspace is changed, the process will fail.
  2. BI tool not reachable / taking too much time to respond- There might be timeout scenarios where the tools is not reachable or taking time to respond.
  3. Couple of files generated and the process failed: In such a scenario, you can see which files got generated and which ones were still in the queue.
    In such a scenario - we recommend the following steps:
  1. Take a note of the files which were generated and the ones which are still in the queue.
  2. Go to home-page and go back to editing your job.
  3. Go to the PDF section of “Edit Job”. For all the files that have generated, mark their “Active” status to “False”.
  4. Save you configuration and click on “Run” now.

What we did here is - we changed the input for every run and in each run we disabled the  files generated in the previous step.
Now go back to the job execution history tab and trigger the emails from there.

Note: If your job fails frequently, please report it to contact@bihelper.tech immediately.
This is just a workaround to come around repeated failures.
We plan to add more error logs to the system to make sure you are aware of the exact reasons on why the file failed.

In case of errors, please write to contact@bihelper.tech

ACCESSING YOUR REPORTS

Cloud Storage

By default all the PDFs are stored in AWS cloud. Once onboarded, you will be given access to the cloud storage and you can access all your generated files. You can manage your cloud location and copy or delete the files from there.

In one of the intermediate steps of PDF generation, images of reports (per filter) are generated. These images too are available on the cloud storage.

FTP Access

You can access the files using FTP access too. You can manage the FTP location just like the cloud location.

Push Files to Other Locations

BI Helper can automatically push files to other locations like OneDrive, etc.

These features will be enabled during onboarding.

SECURITY

Credentials Security

All the credentials that are provided by the user are encrypted and stored in our systems. At no stage any individual can access the raw passwords.

File Security

When a new user is onboarded a new location is created on the AWS cloud where the files of the users are stored. At no stage the files of one customer are visible to another.
The files are encrypted and stored.
Users are free to manage their own files. They can move or delete the files from the cloud after the execution has completed.


More information on Security

We have many more safeguards built in the system.

We would be happy to provide you any information around the security.

Please write to kiran@bihelper.tech or ishan@bihelper.tech if you have any questions around security or authorization.

PRICING AND SUPPORT

The pricing is 10¢ per PDF. It includes infrastructure and support fee.

One time setup fee of $99 is charged for
basic usage (no API integrations, manual upload and download of the filters -> contacts mapping).

For advanced usage (API integrations, programmatic access to the reports, etc.) please write to us for pricing details.

The pricing is inclusive of support and maintenance.

FEATURES

Following is the list of features supported by BI Helper:

  1. API Integration
  2. Centralized Distribution
  3. Dynamic Report Naming
  4. Dynamic Email Subject
  5. Inbuilt Scalability
  6. On Demand Execution
  7. Detailed logging and monitoring
  8. Alerting in case of failures
  9. Access to execution logs
  10. Report generation independent of emails
  11. FTP Support
  12. Cloud based storage
  13. Retries in case of failures
  14. HTML Emails
  15. Import Filters and contacts from excel.
  16. Export Filters and contacts from excel.
  17. Add / Edit users, filters from web interface.
  18. Conditional Reporting