Microsoft has released Common Data Service (CDS) for Power Apps, Flow and Power BI. This Common Data service was the missing piece in Microsoft’s vision in connecting data with modern workplace apps in Office 365. This new feature will make end-to-end applications building accessible to a whole new range of more business-minded people, further helping to bridge the gap that has always existed between IT and business.

First of all, let’s see what is Common Data Services for Apps?

Common Data Service (CDS) for Apps will provide secure storage to manage data that can be used by business applications. Data stored within CDS for Apps will use set of entities. An entity is a set of records used to store data, similar to how a SQL table stores data within a database.

CDS for Apps also includes a base set of standard entities that cover typical scenarios, but you can also create custom entities specific to your specific requirement and populate them with data using Power Query. App makers can then use PowerApps to build rich applications using this data.


Why use CDS over Data Connectors?

Entities (standard or custom) within CDS provide a more secure and cloud-based storage option for your data. These entities let you to create a business-focused definition for your organisation’s data for use within specified apps. Benefits as follows:

  • Manageability: Both the metadata and data are stored in the cloud. You don’t need to worry about the details of how they’re stored.
  • Secure: Data is securely stored so that users can see it only if you grant them access. Role-based security allows you to control access to entities for different users within your organization.
  • Meta Data: Data types and relationships are leveraged directly within PowerApps.
  • Business logic: Define calculated fields, business rules, workflows, and business process flows to ensure data quality and drive business processes.
  • Easy integration: Entities are available within the add-ins for Microsoft Excel to increase productivity and ensure data accessibility.


How data integration works with CDS?

Developing an app typically involves data from more than one source, while this can sometimes be done at the application level, there are also cases where integrating this data together into a common store allows for an easier app building experience, and a single set of logic to maintain and operate over the data. The CDS for Apps allows data to be integrated from multiple sources into a single store which can then be used in PowerApps, Flow and Power BI along with data already available from the Dynamics 365 applications. How good is this?

You can integrate or transport data using following methods:

  • Scheduled synchronisation: Data which is kept within another application can be regularly synchronised with the Common Data Service for Apps to allow you to leverage other applications data in PowerApps.
  • Export using PowerQuery: Transforming data when importing into the Common Data Service can be done through PowerQuery from many online data sources, a common tool used across Excel and Power BI.
  • One-off data import: Simple import and export of Excel and CSV files can be used for a one time or infrequent import of data into the Common Data Service for Apps.


Please feel free to contact us if you have any queries in regard to Common Data Service for Apps.

About Prometix: At Prometix, we design implement and support Microsoft based technology solutions that help our client’s staff to more easily use and share information as individuals and in teams. We work with our clients to establish a structure that makes information easier to create, store, find and share with others. We’ve worked hard to understand how people want to access and share information.