Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Deploying Business Analyzer Companion App Services on Windows Azure Service Bus

Business Analyzer App for Windows 8.1

If you are not using Business Analyzer today, shame on you. Last year sometimes I wrote a small article on how to deploy the Business Analyzer Windows 8 application on a personal laptop, which is typically how most of us road warriors need it to be for demo purposes. However, here at Intelligent Partnerships, we've changed our approach a bit: all our infrastructure and demo environments now reside on Windows Azure, which gives all of our people the flexibility of having a single environment and consistent across the board, while allowing our accounting staff to do work from anywhere in the world.

Today, I want to talk about another one of those cool features in Windows Azure: The Azure Service Bus and how you can leverage it to run the Business Analyzer app for Windows 8.1.

I really don't like to oversimplify anything, but think of Azure Service Bus as cloud based message queuing system, akin to MSMQ, but running on a much more robust platform. The advantage is that applications are no longer bound by myriads of layers (like firewalls, complex authentication, etc.) to communicate with each other and can reside anywhere and on any device that can communicate to the Internet.

So let's get started...

1. To setup a Service Bus you sign into Azure's management portal, then click on the Service Bus option on the left navigation bar.

Service Bus service
2. Click the Create button to add a namespace for your service bus. The namespace identifies the service in Windows Azure and is assigned an address. You can then choose the region where your service will be hosted.

Service bus namespace

By clicking the Ok button, Windows Azure proceeds to activate that namespace if it's available. If it's not available, you will be prompted to enter a new namespace, before you can continue.

3. You can then proceed to install Business Analyzer Companion App Services on one of your virtual machines (preferably not your SQL Server). The installation is straight forward and all you need to do prior to running the setup executable program (setup.exe) is to install the reporting services configuration reports for Business Analyzer. Those are provided in the Companion App services SSRS zip file (

4. Once the Companion App Services application is installed, you can proceed to launch the configuration app, which can typically be found in the C:\Program Files\Microsoft Dynamics\GP Companion App Services\ folder.

Welcome screen
The Welcome screen displays the Companion App Service current connection information, which should later on be replaced by the settings you establish for this instance.

5. After the Welcome screen, you are presented with the Windows Azure configuration screen.

Windows Azure Service Bus Configuration window
In this window you will enter information about the Service Bus you previously configured using the Azure management portal. For the most part you specify the namespace, issuer, and issuer key which can be found

Service Bus connection information
Note the default issuer and default key must match the issuer name and issuer key, respectively, in the Azure configuration window. Click Next to continue - you will experience a short delay while the wizard validates the Azure service bus information you provided.

6. On the Host Configuration screen you can enter the host name and port of the machine that's going to be running the service - typically, just accept the default port. The beauty here is, since we already configured access via the Azure service bus, it's not necessary to expose the public name ( of the host and create an end-point for the port, thus exposing our servers to the world - this is why we created the service bus to begin with!

7. Next on is to select the Companion Apps that will be used with the service. You will want to mark both of them here.

Select Applications

8. You will then want to choose the Data Connections to use with Companion App Services. In this case you have a choice of either Excel Reports or SQL Server Reporting Services reports.

Data Connections
9. Next you must identify where to find the Excel reports using UNC path to specify the folder. My reports happen to be at \\servername\gpfiles\excel reports\reports.

Shared Excel Reports folder

10. You are now asked to enter the address to Report Server and specify a folder where the reports can be found, if you happen to have multiple instances of GP deployed.

If you have deployed SharePoint Integrated mode, then click the checkmark and specify the library address for the reports.

11. Once the report server information is validated, you will receive a confirmation page with the address to be used when configuring the Business Analyzer application.

Configuration Complete window
The address we are particularly interested in is the Service Bus address, which in this case is simply ip-contoso. (with the period at the end).

12. Open the Business Analyzer application, the go to the Configuration window from the Charms on the right. You can then enter the ip.contoso. address in the service configuration.

Business Analyzer Configuration

Sweet! Now, we have configured BA without really exposing the public address of our Azure VM, which should make system administrators very happy.

Mariano Gomez, MVP
Intelligent Partnerships, LLC


Kurniawan Hiu said...

Hi, i have installed GP Companion App Service and i have the service connection. But, when i enter the service connection string to configuration of business analyzer, an error always occured, it said : The Service Connection cannot be established. Please help.


Mariano Gomez said...

You need to be more specific. Where did you install it? On Azure? Did the installation complete fine? I have no issues with my connection to the Service Bus. Are you including the period at the end of the namespace?

Peter Berton said...

I have the companion service setup correctly for Report Server Reports, but I cannot seem to get my Excel Spreadsheets to show as reports. I have a share setup with a subfolder "Excel Reports", and a folder under that named "Reports", then a Company folder, then a Financial folder. The spreadsheet is in the Financial folder. Do any other files need to exist in the Excel Reports folder?

Mariano Gomez said...


In Business Analyzer, click on Reports. They should show up there prefixed by the company database name.

Mariano Gomez

Raul Mendizabal said...

Hi, how should you configure the SRS Reports when in SharePoint 2013 integrated mode?
This is on-premise, and for the Web Service URL I used
When I check the SharePoint integrated checkbox and enter: (which is my SRS reports library) I get an error: Invalid Report Library information.
Thank you so much

Ansar said...

Hi Mariano Gomez,

I have downloaded Business analyzer app from windows8 store,i couldn't find any tool for dynamics ax to configure the services, i'm using windows server 2012 R2 OS which is not supported to install ADFS, could you pls. help me where to download the tool for Dynamics AX to configure Business analyzer on Server.

Thanks & Regards,
Ansar Basha.S

Mariano Gomez said...


I'm not familiar with Business Analyzer configuration specifics for Dynamics AX. Post your question on the Microsoft Dynamics community forum.


Mariano Gomez said...


I'm not familiar with Business Analyzer configuration specifics for Dynamics AX. Post your question on the Microsoft Dynamics community forum.


Marysol Rochin said...

Hello Mariano: Such a great post. I create the service bus in the Azure Portal, but in the connection information I can not see the issuer name neither the default key. It seems something is different in Azure.
do you know something about it?

Jesus Cruz said...

Hi Mariano:

I'm new to Azure and I'm configuring using your post to use Business Analyzer for GP. Once I created the Service Bus in Azure I go into Connection Informmation and it says that they are no longer giving the ACS connection information. Could we use SAS instead?


Robert F. Crocker said...

i'm using windows server 2012 R2 OS which is not supported to install ADFS, could you pls. help me where to download the tool for Dynamics AX to configure Business analyzer on Server.Cell Phone Tracking Application

Kurniawan Hiu said...

Hi Mariano,

i put all reports from GP and there is some reports that show me "Unable to Render".
i checked to those reports and i figure out those reports have some parameters.
Is there any workaround to show report that have parameters inside, since that parameter has a default value.

Thank you.

Kurniawan Hiu said...

Hello Marysol Rochin,

i think you should create Service Bus from Power Shell.
here is the link that hope helps you.

Jeff said...

Hi Mariano,

Are the analytics and visualizations in Business Analyzer (BA) hard-wired into the product, or can I develop my own custom SSRS reports and have them charted in BA? I don't see anything in the docs that lead me to believe this can be done. If so, I would appreciate some guidance as to how to do it. I know BA now integrates with MR, but we need to deliver analytics from GP data other than financial data from the GL. We're currently looking at Qlik and Tableau, but would prefer to use SSRS and BA.

Thanks, Jeff

Mariano Gomez said...


Nothing is "hard-wired" into BA. You should be able to develop your reports and charts in SSRS and expose to BA by simply adding the report into one of the series folders (financial, sales, purchasing, inventory, etc.) under the company folder in Report Server.

Mariano Gomez

Michael Bufano said...


I can use business analyzer to see the SSRS reports but not the Excel Reports?

1. I created an Azure database server called GP2015 that hosts Dynamics GP 2015.
2. I have another Azure server that runs SharePoint called GPSharePoint.
3. I deployed my GP Excel Reports to
4. I installed the companion app on the GP2015 DB server (within Azure)(option 1 using white paper).
5. I configured the service bus
6. I installed Business analyzer app on windows 8.1 machine outside of azure

I can access the reports using that URL while logged into the server without an issue.
I can access the SharePoint site externally but I cannot open any Excel reports because the ODC file references "GP2015" instead of "".
If I manually change the connection string I can then pull the data into the Excel report.
I cannot get my excel reports in Business Analyzer
How can I open my Excel reports from SharePoint (external from the Azure server) without having to manually change anything?