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Integrate Everything with Microsoft’s Common Data Services for Apps

Mo Anwar | | July 3, 2018

Microsoft understands how difficult it is to manage and use all the data generated and received by your organization. Accordingly, the software giant developed its Common Data Services for Apps (CDS for Apps) to store and integrate all that disparate data into a single repository and methodology that businesses can use to grow and thrive.

Built on the Common Data Model

Microsoft knows that despite the individual nature of every enterprise, most organizations use and identify functions (Microsoft calls them “entities”) that are common to all others, such as files, contacts, and products, to name a few. The company based the CDS on that foundation and implemented its Common Data Model (CDM), is an open-sourced definition of standard entities that represent commonly used concepts and activities across a variety of business and application domains, to provide a well-defined, modular, and extensible business entity directory that most businesses can use. With that base, organizations can quickly engage with the standardized Microsoft tools, which conform to the CDM definition. All the fundamental business activities are preset, so each company doesn’t have to develop those internally. Plus, the CDM form supports a growing number of solutions that work together with more efficiency because they access data stored in the CDM format.

Take, for example, a typical sales application. Each sales transaction usually engages data related to the product, the sales team, the purchaser’s accounts, and its manufacturer. Defining each of those functions in a CDM form allows the company to:

  • integrate all the data related to the transaction;
  • use that data to develop business intelligence around that product or process, and
  • combine that data with data from other transactions or company data stores to find even more value.

The CDM gives every worker throughout the organization a common element with which to do their work.

Common Data Service for Apps

The CDS does for data storage what the CDM does for data definition: it stores data in a series of “entities” (in this case records, tables or other commonly recognized formats) to ease access to it from numerous applications. This base set of standardized entities cover traditional business scenarios so they are easy to understand and access right from the start.

CDS for Apps also gives users the power to create their own customized entities to conform to their proprietary functions and operations.

In addition, CDS for Apps uses popular platform features, such as workflow, business process flows, calculated fields and so on, making it a very powerful platform.

Why Use CDS

Convenience

The most obvious argument in support of CDS is the convenience. Your corporate economics may not have the funds to build out a unique data storage and usage infrastructure. With CDS, you can put your money directly into your company’s proprietary operations, not replicating tools already established to do the job. And since it is using CDM, you are also covered when it comes to be able to standardize across multiple application.

Easily Manage Data from all Sources

Because your stored data in CDS in the cloud, you don’t have to:

  • invest in the physical infrastructure to house it all;
  • develop the myriad security layers needed to keep it safe, or
  • invent new programming for emerging functionality — the CDS supports programming for proprietary apps, too.

What you DO get to do is equally valuable:

  • Access to PowerApps to develop tools and systems to meet your unique needs using the CDS data.
  • Reuse your business logic, rules and skills to retain data consistency across your enterprise.
  • Integrate all your data — from whatever source — into a commonly structured database, where it is accessible by your entire organization, not just your IT department.

Final Thoughts

At Datavail, we like Microsoft’s CDM and CDS because they kickstart our client’s application development process. By gaining access to the client’s CDS data, we can begin immediately to design and develop the programming that client needs without wasting time having to set up the tables, databases, and views that we need. And, because both systems integrate with every other Microsoft product, we can leverage them to gain even more service and capacity from those already stellar services and products.

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