As we continue on our Dynamics 365 Deep Dive journey, we’re now plunging into three powerful new services – PowerApps, Flow, and the Common Data Service (previously formerly called Common Data Model) – to explore how they can be used to your advantage in Dynamics 365. The visual below will help you understand how the Microsoft team is positioning these applications.
In the world of business management software, “codeless applications” have long been sought after as a way to make business software more user friendly for non-technical users. Microsoft’s answer to this pressing need has arrived in the form of three services – PowerApps, Flow, and Common Data Service – that constitute the core foundation for quickly and easily building useful business applications without touching the underlying code!
Microsoft Power Apps
We’ll start with
The finished app looks like this:
PowerApps is a vehicle for business users to easily create mobile apps for smartphones and tablets. They can also be accessed from a browser. This is a platform that can now consume, edit and create data from many commonly used systems. Let’s say, for example, that you already have a form or SharePoint list to capture new project requests. All you have to do is point PowerApps at the form or SharePoint list in question and most of the app will be created for you. Should you want to add CRM or ERP data, all you have to do is tap into the Common Data Service. By using PowerApps you can accomplish all of this with an intuitive point-and-click designer (web or desktop). And again, it’s codeless!
These are some of the most common applications that PowersApps can tap into:
- Common Data Service
- Office 365
- Dynamics 365
- Google Apps
- SQL Server
All of the available applications are shown on this
Now let’s take a look at
The best part is that Flow works alongside PowerApps to provide even greater power and usability for Dynamics 365. Flow will automate almost any time-consuming process or task, whether it’s a simple task such as an approval workflow or a far more complex workflow across Sales, Service and Operations. A few examples would be:
- Synchronized Files and Services
- Data Collection
- Approvals Automation
Getting started with Flow is easy and includes:
- 400 Templates with more to come
- 95 Services with more to come
Common Data Service
Last but not least is the Microsoft Common Data Service (CDS), which is an Office 365/Dynamics 365/Azure-based data model and storage application that comes pre-configured with a large set of standard entities used in common business applications. Take for example the customer fields that exist in both CRM and ERP but are called something different in each of those systems. The beauty of CDS is that it allows you to map both applications to a single, common field called "Customer." Thus, when that field is updated, both applications will be updated as well because CDS has created a codeless integration between the two systems.
On top of that, these standard entities can extend the data model with custom entities, once again without writing code. Just think about how this opens a whole new world of possibilities for building even more useful PowerApps and Flows, a world in which non-developers can now create a data model to support their needs. CDS provides a single data model with the ability to source data from multiple systems, relate data, and permit users to view and update data across many applications.
There is no longer a need for the custom code, kludgy workarounds, and third-party solutions that were previously required to provide these capabilities. All that is in the past!
We hope you will