Making the Impossible Possible with Power BI

Power BI is making it possible for organizations to analyze data, share data, and obtain insights in ways that were not possible for them previously. As we noted, Power BI is a significant advance because analytics of this type were too complex and expensive for most companies in the past.

Besides affordability, a big part of Power BI’s appeal is the self-serve capability and immediacy with which business users can begin gaining insights. Rather than having to wait weeks for their IT organization to analyze data, users across a company can gain the insights they seek quickly and directly through Power BI.

This was the case with supermarket chain Meijer, one of the largest private U.S. companies. With Power BI, said Joseph Openshaw, Meijer’s IT manager of business intelligence, users can pull in the data they need and can answer their own questions, rather than having to rely on the IT group to perform the analyses.

“No matter where I go, the demand for BI is always greater than the supply,” said Marilyn Richards, director of business intelligence and collaboration at Meijer. “And people don’t always have time to wait for IT to build every report. Plus, they were unable to do on-the-fly, ad hoc analysis easily.”

Eliminating the Middleman

Similar user benefits were gained by business managers at ABB Italy, a subsidiary of manufacturer ABB. Before deployed Power BI, managers had to rely on an IT liaison to the company’s external IT supplier to perform market analyses and generate new reports, a process that could take up to four weeks.

After employing Power BI, ABB Italy marketing managers and business users were able to query internal and external data sets directly. ABB Italy can now generate custom reports in just a few hours.

“Before, you really thought twice about ordering a custom report and sometimes you didn’t do it,” said Alessandra Gilberti, BI manager for ABB Italy. “Now, if you have a question, you can use Power BI to find the answer. There’s no barrier between you and the analysis you want to perform.”

Deeper Digging

Condé Nast also has benefited by giving direct access to Power BI to users across its 20 media brands. Before Power BI, there were a lot of redundant requests and several rounds of questioning before users were able to get the answers they were seeking.

“Power BI is a solution for the ‘second question’ problem we’re increasingly seeing,” said Justin Glatz, director of business and corporate systems at Condé Nast. “Many other BI solutions work well for answering that first question, but it’s almost impossible to follow up. In contrast, Power BI seems designed from the start to quickly answer the chain of questions that arise after the first inquiry.”

A Universal Need

Giving business users in smaller-sized companies direct access to data and the ability to perform analyses quickly and easily is the goal of Enlighten Designs, a systems integrator and app developer in New Zealand. As with the organizations described above, Enlighten Designs CEO Damon Kelly says his customers want to unlock information in such a way that business users can ask questions and get answers themselves instead of waiting for IT to generate a report.

There is a rising demand for business intelligence, said Kelly, because everyone has more data than they have ever had before. “Customers,” said Kelly, “are not just looking to gain insights from their data, but also want to make organizational decisions from it.”

Unlocking 101 New Possibilities

Norway’s Oslo University Hospital also was able to gain analytical capabilities that were not possible before it employed Power BI. The hospital’s previous analytical tools were not able to provide up-to-date information, and analyses often required programming skills that researchers and administrators lacked. It took months to collect and analyze radiological data, which might not be updated for years.

When the hospital implemented a Power BI solution, the data could be collected and analyzed over the course of a few hours and presented to executives and researchers the next morning. In addition to faster analyses, executives were able to make decisions based on the most current information, which previously had been unavailable to them.

“This is a dream,” said Eli Marie Sager, MD, Chief Executive Officer at The Clinic for Diagnostics and Intervention at Oslo University Hospital, explaining how hospital researchers now use Power BI to collaborate with colleagues at the hospital and elsewhere in ways not previously practical or possible.

Power BI dashboards give users filtering and drill-down capabilities, and queries can be made in the form of natural-language searches, eliminating the need for programming skills. “I can envision 101 uses for Power BI here,” said Karl Oyri, research fellow at the hospital’s Intervention Center.

MaxQ Technologies provides state-of-the-art Power BI solutions and incorporates Power BI within advanced business solution suites. Contact us to learn more about Power BI and how your business could benefit from a Power BI solution.

Trends to Watch in The Cannabis Industry and Medical Cannabis Production

Cannabis Manufacturing

Growing cannabis as wells as production of cannabis extracts in industries is against the law in many countries. For that reason, many face prosecution if they engage in any of these activities. On the other hand, anyone trafficking marijuana within regions that do not allow it is liable to a jail term according to the laws of the land.

However, there is a shift from prohibition of production and growth of cannabis. As from the previous year, adults in four new states can now use marijuana for recreational purposes. Legal pot sales in North America hit almost $7 billion in the year 2016, and four other states legalized medical marijuana. Here are cannabis industry trends to watch this year.

Medical vs. Recreational

In the year 2017, the expectation is that U.S. medical and recreational markets will take a different direction, particularly in marketing and branding. In that case, you should expect recreational adult use of marijuana to assume the status of big alcohol while medical cannabis will take on a biotech posture to incline more on pharmaceutical.

Brand Emergence

The appetite to finance marijuana brands by investors will increase. As a result, the market for cannabis will grow faster. On the other hand, emergence of national brand leaders is likely as investors and growth of the industry set in the market. Looking back into the year 2016, we can see consolidation and brand emergence at a smaller scale. But this year, this will happen on a larger scale.

Consequently, it will avail both product and retail establishments in every market where cannabis is legal.

International Markets

Another trend to expect is the growth of the legal pot sector beyond the U.S. market. That is evident after an announcement by Germany’s health minister in the year 2016. As per the announcement, plans to legalize medical marijuana at the federal level this year are underway. In Canada, use of medical cannabis at the federal level is already in effect. Plans to legalize adult recreational use of marijuana in Canada in 2017 are also in the pipeline.

It is important to note that demand for cannabis in the U.S. is not as high as it is in Canada. That is clearly visible in the country’s public markets that exude serious investment in the marijuana market.

Industry Consolidation

Cannabis is illegal at the federal level, which attracts both legal and financial risks. For that reason, most state-legal pot businesses operate in small-scale. This venture proves a successful venture to some extent. However, the entry of serious investors in this sector will increase competition. As a result, small marijuana traders will merge with larger establishments.

Merging will cushion them from heavy losses and spur growth within the industry. Huge institutions are only awaiting federal approval to move into marijuana business full throttle.

Ancillary Business Boom

Cannabis relates to many other industries that do not interact with the plant directly. Hence, as the market share of this product increases, you should expect a surge in demand for ancillary. It is worth noting that the boom of ancillary business may overtake that of cannabis. Many are considering a venture into marijuana business, but do not have the capital investment which compliance demands.

Such individuals or entities now have opportunity to tap into the gains of the industry through ancillary. That is because many products and services relate to commercialization of cannabis.

Marijuana Banking

The growth of marijuana businesses in the year 2015 and 2016 is not doing much to give such enterprises access to traditional banking and financial services. As such, operations in the sector remain on a cash basis for those already in this line of business. That is not the best way of running such a business today. On the contrary, high-profile lawmakers are now pushing for a reform of federal banking guidelines to accommodate those in the marijuana sector.

There is a high probability that cannabis financial services will open up this year. Contact us now for more information.

Reordering Lines on an Acumatica Sales Order

A popular requested enhancement to sales orders has just been added to the Acumatica release number 6.10.0472.  This lets you reorder document lines by using any of the following ways:

  • You can drag-and-drop lines to reorder document lines within one page.
  • You can cut a line on one page by using Cut Row in the context menu and paste the line on another page by using Insert Cut Row in the context menu.

See below for an example.


Acumatica Sales Order Line Reorder- MaxQ

A very useful feature that you may have missed in the release notes.

Non-Stock Kits in Acumatica

I have repeatedly been asked if MaxQ had a product that could help get shippers created for kit items that were not in stock.  While we are about to release an Auto-Kit module (more on this later), most of the requirements can be handled by what appears to be a little known feature already in Acumatica’s Inventory Module, Non-Stock Kits.

Taken from the Acumatica help:

“When a non-stock kit is listed on a sales order as a line item, its stock components are specified on a pick list and shipped to the customer. Upon shipment confirmation, the quantity of stock components is decreased while the quantities of non-stock components and kits are not tracked in any way.

Only the standard cost valuation method may be assigned to non-stock kits.

On the sale of a non-stock kit with stock components, the system generates an inventory issue and debits the COGS accounts of the stock components (by their costs). On the sale of a non-stock kit with only non-stock components, no inventory issue is generated.”

Create Non-Stock Kit Inventory ID

Create a non-stock inventory item to be the parent part.


Create Kit Specifications

Enter the kit specifications.


Note: The was a fix in release 5.3.249 properly displayed the Non-stock check box.

Enter a Sales Order

Create a sales order for the non-stock kit

Enter a sales order that has the non-stocking kit inventory Id on it


Component Inventory Check

Try to create Shipment.


An error will be raised if a component does not have sufficient availability.



Receive Component Inventory

Create Shipment when component inventory is available.


After the component is received into inventory, a shipment can now be generated.

Print Pick List

Notice Components Show on Pick List



6 Uses for Microsoft Power BI

Microsoft Power BI is an essential software system for businesses with large amounts of disparate data created during the normal course of business operations. There are many uses for a software system like Power BI (BI stands for Business Intelligence).

The following six uses, visualization, server-level management, integrated analytics, streamlined processes, and detail oriented visualization give your business the tools to process information and create quality management systems.

  1. Intuitive Visualization

Visualization of data is essential for human management of business systems. While computer programs eat data for lunch, business people have rather more varied diets and need to be able to easily see and understand data regarding their business. A great program like Power BI gives you the tools to swiftly and accurately visualize key data points regarding your business from many different sources in a single dashboard.

Not only does Power BI provide great visualization, but it also integrates with Cortana by default. This means that you can visualize data, interact with it in your OS, and search your data with Cortana’s powerful AI systems.

  1. Server-Level Data Management

Data comes into your business from a variety of sources. Most of those sources touch a server at some point. Power BI gives you tools to manage business information at the server level so that you have more comprehensive and complete information systems than would be provided if you merely collected data from a program operating on several computers.

  1. Integrate Analytics With Internal Software Systems

What software systems do you use to manage your business? These are your internal software systems. Managing your business processes requires that you access data from the entire software system you use to manage your business. As seen by the list of compatible software programs, Power BI integrates with almost any software platform you will use for business management. This includes mail management, social media platforms, accounting software, CRMs, and traditional data platforms like Azure and MySQL. Integrated data management means your business does not need to use multiple dashboards for data management: Power BI will give you all the information you need.

  1. Provide Complex Information Within Your Own External Software and Apps

Not only does Power BI take information from a variety of sources, but it also provides it in a variety of contexts, including embedded within your own apps through Microsoft’s API. Not only does this give you tools to manage your own business with custom apps, but it also gives you a product value-add that you can create for your customers where they are able to track and identify key data sets regarding your product or service.

  1. Streamline Processes (Sales, Marketing, Operations, etc.)

Sales, marketing, operations, HR, and other business departments often create their own data sets, their own KPIs and need their own data management. Power BI provides specific functionality for customers who can use its comprehensive data management to streamline processes in different departments.

Rather than recreating the wheel for each part of your business, Power BI comes with the templates for intuitive dashboards and reporting systems to give teams the ability to manage their quality and efficiency without customizing the software.

  1. Visualize Details Easily

A great BI dashboard like Power BI gives you the capability to dial in to any level of detail you need to ensure that your business is running successfully. While some businesses need to be able to track small amounts of inventory, others need to track sales calls made by sales team members. Each of these data sets can be called up with Power BI’s algorithms and delivered in a readable and understandable format.

For more information on business management and quality control systems, please contact us today and ask how to integrate Power BI with your current software systems.


Changing Acumatica Grid Column Headings at Runtime

Changing Acumatica Grid Column Headings at Runtime

Acumatica allows developers to dynamically change the headings of grid columns when the user changes the values of fields that are not in the grid.

For this to work, there are three things that the developer must do.  First, the controls that the non-grid fields are bound to must have their CommitChanges property set to True.  This is to ensure that changes to their values will cause a postback and that the RowSelected event of the associated cache will be fired.

Next, within the RowSelected event handler of the non-grid cache, the developer must call the PXUIFieldAttribute.SetDisplayName method to specify what the new column heading will be.

Finally, the Grid’s RepaintColumns must be set to True in order to ensure that the grid gets repainted when the postback completes.

Below is an example implementation of the RowSelected event that changes the heading of the Sales Orders screen’s Free Item column. This will change the column heading from “Free Item” to “Ext Free” or “Free” based on the value of the CustomerRefNbr field.




protected void SOOrder_RowSelected(PXCache cache, PXRowSelectedEventArgs e)


    if (e.Row == null) return;

        SOOrder data = (SOOrder)e.Row;


    PXUIFieldAttribute.SetDisplayName<SOLine.isFree>(Base.Transactions.Cache, (data.CustomerRefNbr == “A1”) ? “Ext Free” : “Free”);






Cloud Computing Soon Used by The Pentagon: Why Do Companies Hold Off on Technology?


Cloud computing is a technology that’s virtually revolutionized the storage of data and in how businesses potentially operate. But even the largest corporations hold off on technology that’s seemingly mainstream. The cloud is one piece of technology where even a few major government organizations have sat on the fence. The Pentagon is one surprising government source that’s shied away from the cloud as a major part of their data management.

This is about to change with reports The Pentagon will soon start using the cloud on a wider basis, even if there’s still worries about secure implementation. What’s kept major government organizations and even some corporations from using the cloud to their benefit? Most of this comes in misconceptions, especially through the media that sometimes paints the cloud as not a safe place for sensitive documents.

All of this has to change with a new sense of education about what cloud computing does and how it’s used.

Setting the Record Straight on Using the Cloud

Fear seemed to permeate in the corporate atmosphere late this last year when Apple experienced hacks through their iCloud that leaked private celebrity photos. This led to unfounded fears about how safe the cloud really is without realizing how careful monitoring would have prevented it. No matter what kind of technology you use, it’s easily abused when not managed right. It’s been the same with TV for years where many criticize the device rather than the content.

In truth, the cloud is the safest data storage technology out there, as well as a major cost-saver. The Pentagon is moving to the cloud for the same reasons, as well as realizing the efficiency it brings. Corporations locating a cloud provider with excellent management find out how much the cloud is a lifesaver when budgets need tightening and when disasters strike.

The cloud saves you money because it eliminates the extreme expense of running your own server. Then, when an unexpected disaster strikes, all your corporate data is still accessible in another location with an Internet connection.

In time, it’s going to serve The Pentagon well. It also can serve your corporation well through our own cloud solution here at MaxQ Technologies, Inc.

Contact us to find out more about cloud computing and why it isn’t necessary to ever have ambivalence about the cloud’s ability to make corporate life more efficient.