Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations (AX) consulting, support and integration solutions
What is the Dynamics 365 CDM?
What is the Dynamics 365 CDM?
In today’s world where data becomes a new commodity, businesses can get significant benefits and competitive advantages by being able to quickly integrate new data sources as well as get valuable insights from it. By connecting and processing more data, a business can better link with prospects and customers, build predictions, workflows and get a better view how to improve its products, which attracts more users and eventually can generate even more data, and so on. (The Economist article “The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data”).
In the old days, data management and integrations were typically very complex projects – expensive and time-consuming, requiring specialized technical skills from developers and system administrators. Those integration projects, even if successfully implemented, will typically be quite limited in their functional abilities and then would require business users to provide an additional effort in maintaining those interfaces. In case those integrations are also poorly documented and the original developer is not available to explain how integration was deployed, it becomes even harder to maintain and nearly impossible to upgrade when new technologies come along or new business requirements raised.
Today, Microsoft has a completely new stack of technologies to make it simple, robust and quick for business to integrate with new data sources, share it across existing business applications and build up new business logic or workflows on top of that. These new technologies are Microsoft Flow, PowerApps, CDS and Dynamics 365.
Microsoft Flow helps create multistep workflows using a number of business related tasks. For example, create push notification when you receive an email from a customer or create an entity in Dynamics CRM after approval. PowerApps provide a simple tool for business analysts and SMEs to build and share business applications. PowerApps uses connectors to get data from a variety of data sources many of them are cloud services (like google drive, Dropbox, Twitter or MS Office 365) and CDS makes it easy to integrate business data from those multiple sources. CDS is a Common Data Services, which helps integrate data by using Common Data Model (CDM) concept. As you can see, CDM is a key component of this new technology stack. The main idea of CMD is to set a separate database with a number of unified entities, which are common to a variety of business applications – such as contacts, products, suppliers, etc. CDM can also be seen as a common schema connection between other databases and apps.
Essentially this means that custom development is not going to be required for most of your integrations. For example, consider the scenario when a new account is created in Microsoft Dynamics CRM it needs be created in Dynamics 365 for Operations as well as Dynamics 365 for Finance. For this scenario, Microsoft Flow already provides standard out-of-the-box, “cookie-cutter” template integration, which can help connect the data. In addition, CMD templates give you flexibility throughout the integration setup to define steps, conditions, loops, and more.
Now, also look at how this simplifies data migration scenarios where you need to migrate your master data from legacy systems and eventually make it available for a variety of your business applications including your reporting tools such as PowerBI for instance.
In the next series of posts, we will write more about getting data into the Common Data Model, Dynamics 365 data integration feature and how to it can be used in the real business cases.