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Dynamics 365 and Common Data Service

This post explains about Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Common Data Service. Common Data Service lets you securely store and manage data that are used by business applications. Information within Common Data Service is stored within the set of entities. An entity is a set of records used to store data, similar to how a table stores data within a database.

Common Data Service includes a base set of standard entities that cover scenarios, but you can create the custom entities particular to your company and populate them with data using Power Query. App makers can then use PowerApps to build rich applications using this data.

Dynamics 365 and Common Data Service

Dynamics 365 applications, like Dynamics 365 for Sales, Service or Talent also use the Common Data Service to store and secure data used by the applications.

This enables you to build apps using PowerApps and the CDS directly against your core business data already used within Dynamics 365 without the need for integration.

  • Build Apps against your Dynamics 365 Data – Build apps quickly against your business data within PowerApps or using the Pro Developer SDK.
  • Manage reusable Business logic and rules – Business Rules and logic already defined in your Dynamics 365 entities are applied to your PowerApps to ensure data consistency regardless of how your users are accessing the data or through which app.
  • Reusable skills across Dynamics 365 and PowerApps – Users with skills previously in PowerApps or Dynamics 365 can now leverage those skills across the new CDS Platform. Creating entities, forms, charts, etc are now common across your applications.

Integrating Data into the Common Data Service

Building an app typically involves data from more than one source, while this can sometimes be done at the app level, there are cases where integrating this information together into a common store enables for the easier application building experience, and a single set of logic to maintain and operate over the data.

The CDS allows data to be integrated from multiple sources into a single store which can then be used in PowerApps, Flow and Power Business Intelligence along with data available from the D365 applications.

  • Scheduled integration with other systems – Data which is kept within another application can be regularly synchronized with the CDS to allow you to leverage other applications data in PowerApps.
  • Transform and import data using PowerQuery – Transforming data when importing into the Common Data Service can be done through PowerQuery from many online data sources, a common tool used across Excel and Power BI.
  • One time import of data – Simple import and export of Excel and CSV files can be used for a one time or infrequent import of data into the CDS.

Interacting with entities

When you develop an app, you can use standard entities, custom entities, or both. Common Data Service provides standard entities by default. These are designed, in accordance with best practices, to capture the most common concepts and scenarios within an organization.

Logic and validation

Entities within CDS can leverage rich server-side logic and validation to allow the data quality and reduce the repetitive code in each application that creates and uses data within an entity.

  • Business rules validate data across multiple fields and entities and provide warning and error messages, regardless of the app used to create the data.
  • Business process flows to guide users to ensure they enter data consistently and follow the same steps every time. Business process flows are currently only supported for Model-driven apps.
  • Workflows allow you to automate business processes without user interaction. Business logic with code supports advanced developer scenarios to extend the application directly through code.

Security

  • Common Data Service has a rich security model to protect the data integrity and privacy of users while promoting efficient data access and collaboration.
  • You can combine business units, role-based security, record-based security, and field-based security to define the overall access to information that users have in a Common Data Service environment.

Developer capabilities

In addition to the features available through the PowerApps portal, Common Data Service also includes features for developers to programmatically access metadata and data to create entities and business logic, as well as interact with data.

Contact us with your questions about Dynamics 365 and Common Data Service or Common Data Services.

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