Microsoft typical data model and flow and PowerApps…Oh My!

I had a bit of time currently to examine probably the most new and not-so-new applied sciences coming out of the Redmond campus and things appear quite entertaining.

Microsoft standard data mannequin (CDM)

The primary piece of the puzzle is whatever thing referred to as the standard data model or CDM. Tremendously adequate, Microsoft basically selected a nice identify for this product that’s self-describing in what it really does. The CDM is a at ease cloud database (feel SQL Azure) that sits at the base of the upcoming Microsoft Dynamics 365 utility Platform.

Currently, it’s accessed handiest from within PowerApps, however for the reason that it sits in Azure i’d wholly predict that to change soon. The idea in the back of this approach is that the database contains general company entities that will also be deployed on your business to be consumed by means of other purposes.

It is also quite handy to both lengthen the common entities or make your own customized entities thoroughly if relevant the usage of rich information types. This gives the obvious improvement of a unified view of facts throughout a firm and goes a long method against addressing silos of disparate (and perhaps duplicated) facts.

In the current user Interface, growing a brand new Entity is so simple as clicking the brand new entity button on the good correct.

When you click subsequent that you would be able to see the usual fields on all entities.  click on the Add field button on the properly appropriate to add your personal, and at last Create to commit your changes.

So now that you consider the basics of how to alter and retain your CDM, the next logical question can be how do you truly get information into it? whereas there is the capacity to import information using Excel offered in the CDM, this isn’t very wonderful from an application integration point of view.


That brings us to the 2nd piece of the puzzle, which is something called flow.

A circulate is enterprise method Automation akin to a workflow (therefore the name). It’s used to combine functions and features, and take actions according to predefined movements.

With regards to the commonplace records model, Microsoft has offered a handful of templates that should provide you with a good idea of what to predict.

There is obviously a focus on Dynamics CRM and Salesforce as talents sources for bringing records into the CDM and here’s a bit anticipated as they are carefully following the development cycle of the Dynamics 365 initiative.

In view that we at Rockton are closely involved in Dynamics CRM development, let’s see how we could take facts from CRM and get it into the CDM.

We will select the reproduction Contacts Template due to the fact that that is a fairly regular state of affairs.

On the subsequent monitor it instantly selected my CRM and CDM connections that I had in the past configured.

Clicking continue brings me to the screen where i might choose my CRM company and CDM Namespace.

I am not bound why I deserve to opt for the CDM Database because at this aspect you are simplest in a position to create a single example, but probably future functionality will include the means to have multiples.  that you could add additional steps or click the Edit hyperlinks to specify extra mappings between fields for each the source and vacation spot.

After clicking the Create flow button on the exact of the display the flow is ready to replica Contacts created in CRM to the CDM.

So now that we have facts “flowing” from our CRM into the CDM, what can we do with it?


That brings us to the third and final piece of the puzzle, which is anything referred to as PowerApps.

We have been discussing PowerApps inside the context of enhancing our CDM, however now we are able to change from the backend to constructing whatever on the front conclusion. For our state of affairs, we are able to are looking to reveal Contacts contained within the CDM into a cell utility on our mobilephone.

Once once again, Microsoft has offered a template certainly for this goal.

Deciding upon the normal information mannequin template takes us to the display where we are able to opt for what entity we want to take care of.

Right here we can choose the Contact entity and click join at which time it is going to begin building our app.

When it is complete, we are offered with three screens (Browse, element and Edit) that we can adjust to healthy our needs.

Store the application, down load PowerApps to your telephone and in case you login make sure you see the utility accessible with basic functionality to Browse and Edit Contacts from the CDM.


Now, surely there are lots of techniques accessible to solving the enterprise issue of viewing & editing CRM Contacts for your mobile machine.

You could have used the cellular forms and performance this is native in CRM, or related PowerApps without delay to your CRM data, however the intrigue to the strategy above is if you happen to are coping with distinct systems.

It’s no longer tricky to imagine an atmosphere the place you’ve got Contacts in CRM, inner techniques or Legacy purposes and also you want a consistent view of all of them.  Leveraging the CDM, move and PowerApps tool set makes this a company problem it’s simply solved.  And remember, simply as we consumed our information from the CDM we could have also added a circulate that goes the different route and updates other programs with any adjustments leading to facts it really is at all times in Sync.

Of these 3 technologies the most fascinating for me in my view is the CDM and being in a position to have a novel source of data for utility construction.  Cloud computing is actually proving to be massive company and it is becoming greater essential than ever to be able to analyze and leverage information as a key differentiator of technology.

Written by means of Shawn Strayer, net Developer at Rockton software, a Microsoft Dynamics CRM add-on companion.