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Dynamics 365 and Dataverse: A Guide to Understanding Both

Posted by Alanna Friedberg on Aug 29, 2023 10:00:00 AM


Data now forms the center of most business decisions. Company leaders use it to understand the strengths and challenges of their current business models. Thanks to modern technology, we can now capture and review real-time data. Solutions like Microsoft Dynamics 365 store information in internal databases so users can quickly access information from storage platforms like Dataverse. Let’s explore how Dataverse works. We’ll also go over what you can achieve by working with Dynamics 365 and Dataverse.  

What is Dataverse?

Building a modern data infrastructure is one of the biggest hurdles most businesses face. Finding something that covers every function while remaining agile enough to adapt to future changes is hard. Data comes into most organizations, small and large, from every direction. It may be housed in formats like a CSV file, eXtensible Hypertext Markup Language (XML), or JavaScript Object Notation (JSON).

Dataverse, formerly Common Data Services (CDS), can support various Microsoft applications and services, including Dynamics 365. It provides businesses with a secure and unified environment for storing and managing information within the Microsoft ecosystem, regardless of the source format.

What is Dynamics 365?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based platform that provides businesses access to enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) functionality. It’s an evolution from earlier on-premises solutions like NAV and AX. You can access Dynamics 365 from any device as long as you have an internet connection.

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have long relied on Dynamics to provide the functionality to run their operations. That keeps them competitive with larger organizations within their industry. Dynamics 365 also lets companies automate standard business functions to eliminate manual workflows.

Thanks to Dynamics 365, organizations can capture and analyze various customer interactions. Examples include reviewing feedback on the company website or tracking social media chatter about the brand. Marketing teams can use the information collected to find better ways of appealing to different audiences. Businesses can also use what they learn to improve the customer experience to help build customer loyalty.

How Dataverse Helps Businesses

There are currently no direct integrations between Dynamics 365 and Dataverse. However, it’s possible to leverage Dataverse’s capabilities as a data storage and management solution. Let’s look at some of the benefits that Dataverse brings.

  • Centralized data storage — You can make Dataverse your central data repository. That way, you no longer have to tap into separate databases to feed different Dynamics 365 applications and modules.
  • Standardized data structure — Dataverse provides a standardized data structure that includes entities, fields, and relationships. That makes data modeling simpler and provides your company with data consistency.
  • Business and data validation rules — You can implement rules that enforce data integrity and automate standard business processes. That helps eliminate data entry errors, improve overall data quality, and ensure consistent business logic.
  • Access control and data security — Dataverse provides robust security features that protect information housed within Dynamics 365. Organizations can define granular access controls to prevent unauthorized users from accessing and modifying information.

How Do You Incorporate Dataverse into Dynamics 365?

You can use Dataverse to seamlessly integrate different Microsoft tools and applications, like Dynamics 365 with Power Apps and Power Automate. You can create a single logic set, then connect applications like Dynamics 365 Business Central with Dynamics 365 Sales or a custom business application. Below is an overview of how you can integrate Dataverse with Business Central.

It’s best to use the Dataverse Connection Setup assisted guide to establish your connection.

  1. Select the search icon, type in Assisted Setup, then click the link.
  2. Click Set up a connection to Microsoft Dataverse to start the assisted setup guide.
  3. Fill in all necessary fields.

If desired, you can also choose to establish a manual connection.

  1. Select the search icon, type in Dataverse Connection Setup, then click the related link.
  2. Enter the below information to establish your connection to Business Central
    1. Environment URL
    2. Enabled
  3. Go to the Ownership Model field and indicate if you want a team table to own new records or specific users. If you go with the Person option, you must add each user. Selecting Teams causes the default business unit to populate in the Coupled Business Unit field.
  4. Test your connection string by clicking Connection, then Test Connection.
  5. If you haven’t already set up Dataverse synchronization, you will be asked if you want to go with the default setup. Your choice of Yes or No determines whether you keep Business Central and Dataverse records aligned.

Best Practices for Using Dynamics 365 with Dataverse

Use the following guidelines when incorporating Dataverse into Dynamics 365.

Plan Your Data Model

Make sure you invest a lot of time and effort into setting up a well-designed data model. It should align with your current business needs. To ensure data integrity and optimal performance, you should also include definitions for all entities, fields, and relationships.

Use Established Dataverse Entities

Dataverse provides standard entities like Contacts, Opportunities, and Accounts. It’s a good idea to take advantage of them. Because the entities already come with predefined functionality and structures, it’s easier to align them with standard business scenarios. Using the internal Dataverse entities also reduces the amount of customization required.

Follow Naming Conventions

Make sure you use consistent naming conventions for your Dataverse structures. That makes it easier for other users to understand the purpose of different fields, entities, and relationships. Using standard naming conventions also makes it easier to maintain data models.

Create Data Governance

Establish and implement data governance practices to help your organization maintain data consistency and quality. You should include guidelines for data entry, setting up validation rules, and determining data ownership.

Build a Consistent Source of Truth for Your Company

Dataverse provides businesses with a reliable, consistent way to centralize information and create a reliable data repository. Internet eBusiness Solutions can help you leverage your current technology to support your company’s data needs. Contact us today if you’re ready to move your business forward.

6 Best Practices for Implementing Microsoft Dynamics 365

Topics: Dynamics 365