Today’s fast and rapidly growing business organizations are on the lookout for a platform that has the potential to securely store and manage data used by business applications. Management of such intelligent business data is vital to make critical decisions around sales and marketing, accounts, and finance. For such requirements, the Common Data Service used by Dynamics 365 applications comes to the rescue. By enabling seamless sharing of business data to make efficient and informed business decisions with basic overhead, it enables organizations to have an integrated business environment. It provides out-of-the-box, intelligent business integration capabilities with a myriad of built-in features that eases the process of integration between business applications with very less or no custom code development, minimal risks, and ease of maintenance.
Benefits of Common Data Service
Common Data Service stores and manages data used by business applications within a set of entities or records and includes a base set of standard entities that cover typical scenarios. However, you can also create custom entities specific to your business and populate them with data using Power Query; you can then leverage PowerApps to build rich applications using this data. This secure and cloud-based storage option for your data offers several benefits:
Since both the metadata and data are stored in the cloud, it is easy to manage
Data is securely stored; role-based security ensures only authorized users have access
You get access to rich metadata and can leverage data types and relationships directly within PowerApps
You can define calculated fields, workflows, and business process flows to ensure data quality and drive business processes
Pre-defined business rules and logic ensure data consistency, irrespective of how users are accessing the data
Using add-ins for Microsoft Excel, you can increase productivity and ensure data accessibility
Prospect to Cash Integration
The Prospect to Cash Integration using Common Data Service provides a direct synchronization across Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, and Dynamics 365 for Sales. Templates available with the data integration feature enable the flow of data for accounts, contacts, products, sales quotations, sales orders, and sales invoices between Finance and Operations and Sales. By enabling data flow between Finance and Operations and Sales, you can:
Maintain accounts and contacts in Sales and sync them directly to Finance and Operations
Maintain products in Finance and Operations and sync them directly to Sales
Synchronize sales quotations, sales orders, and sales invoices between Sales and Finance and Operations
The only pre-requisite for enabling Prospect to Cash Integration is access to Common Data Service environment with Global Admin Role in Office 365 tenant with Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations and Dynamics 365 for Sales.
Sign in with your Dynamics 365 for Sales credentials
From the menu, navigate to Purchase services. From the list of available services, select Microsoft PowerApps Plan2 – you can either purchase your plan or start with the free trial, which will be active for 3 months.
To create a new environment, go to Environment -> New Environment
Once the new environment form opens, provide the name and country region details specific to your organization. This will create a default Common Data Service database.
To set up the security for the newly created environment, go to Environments → security and set the environment roles, user roles, and permission sets as per the needs of your organization.
3. Set up Connections and Connection sets
Connections are used to store Active Directory credentials of source/target applications whereas Connection sets are used to store organizational mappings. For example, legal entities in the case of Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations and sales units/organization in the case of Dynamics 365 for Sales.
To create Connections, go to PowerApps → Home → Data → Connections
To create Connection sets, go to Admin center → Data integration → Connections Sets → New Connection Set
Once the form is generated, fill in the connection set name, environment details, and sales unit/organization of both the environments.
4. Create the Data Integration project
You can create your own PowerApps projects, and correlate the source and target entities to enable a custom solution for integration and data management. You get the flexibility of field mapping, using the standard set of fields for every template listed in project creation. You can also schedule process synchronization manually or automatically with custom time interval and monitor the error and success charts of the integration procedure taking place.
For creating projects, go to Admin Center → Data Integration → Project → New Projects
In the project wizard, provide the name for the project. Also, select a suitable template from the list of available templates for your specific business needs (for e.g. Sales accounts, Finance and Operations Customers, Sales Contacts, and Finance and Operations Common Data Service contacts.
Next, choose the connection sets and organizational mapping and click on Create to create a PowerApps project with standard mappings.
To view the standard mapping of the entities provided by the template, click MAP → and dig into the mappings. You can also provide your own mappings if needed.
Save your project after any change.
Click on the run command to manually trigger the synchronizations for your entities.
You can also automate the synchronization of data integration project through the scheduling feature. To monitor the flow, the scheduler will automatically be triggered at regular intervals. For this, go to Data Integration → Projects → Scheduling
Running the project will integrate the entities both ways. You can monitor success logs as well as error logs.
The Azure-based storage facilitating the data storage centrally from various Dynamics 365 applications, Common Data Service makes it easier for you to store, maintain, and share data between different business applications. Using the Data Integrator tool, you can structure the end-to-end view of business data between the source application to the destination application with the help of Connections and Connection Sets. The Prospect to Cash Integration enables direct synchronization between Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations and Sales. Through this integration, you can seamlessly maintain and manage accounts, products, contacts, quotations, invoices, and sales invoices between the two applications and streamline operations across your business.
About the Author - Angna Thakkar
Angna Thakkar is a competent Senior Project Manager, Microsoft Dynamics AX Technical at Indusa with over 10 years of experience in managing multi-disciplinary teams of varying sizes and complex programs of work. She is always committed to professionalism, highly organized, able to see the big picture while paying attention to small details.