7 November 2022

What is Microsoft’s Dataverse? Can It Improve App Development?

If you think that Dataverse has something to do with the multiverse, and you start picturing Dr. Strange molding data files across multiple dimensions, then that would be a stretch from reality. On a serious note, the possibilities of the Dataverse to the technology world are exciting and probably as exciting as a new superhero series would be for a comic book fan.

So, what is the Dataverse, and why are we, an independent solution provider for Microsoft's ERP so excited about it? The intent of the blog is to explain these questions and talk about how Microsoft’s Dataverse is going to shake things up in the tech space.

If you haven’t heard about us, at To-Increase, we are passionate about developing simple solutions that solve customer challenges and ease their day-to-day tasks. And our developers are now exploring solution possibilities on Microsoft’s Dataverse. We launched an integration monitoring app Connectivity Monitor earlier this year which has been built on Dataverse.

What is the Microsoft Dataverse?

The Common Data Service (CDS) or Common Data Model which is Microsoft’s online data repository was rebranded as the Microsoft Dataverse in 2020. It is the same database that powers Dynamics Customer Engagement/CRM (Solution Files, Model Driven Apps) and is at the heart of Microsoft’s Power platforms including Power BI, Power Apps, Power Portals, AI Builder, Flow, Virtual Agents, and Power Automate. This means that you can leverage the Dataverse to take action in PowerApps, you can automate using that data to create workflows in Automate, can derive insights from Power BI, and use Virtual Agents to interact with that data.

In the R&D Show, Partner Director of Program Management at Microsoft, Ryan Jones defines the Microsoft Dataverse as a platform that ‘easily structures a variety of data and business logic to support interconnected applications and processes in a secure and compliant manner’.

Microsoft continues to invest heavily on Dataverse indicating that a lot of businesses are leveraging the power of the platform.

Benefits of using Microsoft’s Dataverse

Data is at the core of all our applications and business systems in an organization.

While Microsoft allows you to import data from Connectors, (Sharepoint, SQL) you can also store your data within the Dataverse. The reason why we are so excited about the Dataverse is that it is smart, and secure, offers excellent storage capacity, and allows you to leverage the full capabilities of the Power Platform.

A secure space to save your data

The lineage of the Dataverse is to store and protect the organization’s most valuable data app since before it was rebranded as the Dataverse.

The reason why the Dataverse is secure is that all of the users are authenticated by the Azure Active Directory (Azure AD). It allows you to assign role-based access and authorization of rows and fields. It allows you to define data residency geographically in case your data needs to stay in Europe or the US.

Provides potential for application development

It allows you to use your data in several ways, you can build apps leveraging the Power Apps, AI Builder, Power Apps, and other Power platforms to build rich applications to facilitate an end-to-end business process. So, Dataverse is the native storage the power platform hinges on. This is exciting since our developers can also explore building end-to-end business systems besides individual applications.

It is built using business logic

Dataverse has been built using business logic so regardless of what you're building on it, that business logic that you set up applies to your application. Therefore, Dataverse also understands how different pieces of data relate to one another.

The great news for us is that we can create business rules and recommendations to apply logic and validations without writing code or creating plug-ins and that would make app development a lot faster and easier. Using Power Automate you can create automated workflows within Dataverse or between Dataverse and another application to exchange data or notify colleagues.

Beyond just data storage

Besides being a database, the Dataverse allows you to shape your data and build relationships on the data. This allows you to be in the driver’s seat and control and manage your data better.

Since the way Dataverse is positioned, it gives you the opportunity to leverage the Power platform optimally. So, you can use the Power BI Desktop to create reports of your data and share them with team members or allow them to be accessed cross-platform on Power BI mobile apps.

The platform allows you to use predictions across Power Platform, or your ERP using AI Builder. This is exciting for us as we can now use existing AI models such as text recognition, and more to build low-code applications to strengthen our existing solutions portfolio.

Provides great storage capacity if you plan to scale

The Dataverse boasts of a storage capacity that can scale with you. All the data in the Dataverse is stored in the Azure cloud. In fact, organizations can store up to 20 terabytes of data or more.

Additionally, if you are storing so much data, you need a smart way to search and classify data. The Dataverse search is configurable and allows you to find data easily with detailed views and spelling corrections.

The platform allows you to work with several types of data, including image, file, and even a data lake. And Dataverse is smart enough to classify the type of storage based on the type of data chosen.

Add integrations to support your applications

Dataverse allows you to use APIs, webhooks, and more to move data in and out of the platform. The platform uses Power Query and Data flows for data transfer within Dataverse. You can use data outside the Dataverse using Virtual Tables.

The Dataverse runs on Azure

Since your data is stored in the Azure cloud, you can leverage all the capabilities and expect any upgrades to the Azure cloud to automatically improve your user experience in the Dataverse. Additionally, you can shadow data in the Azure Data Lake and use it to train AI models which will help companies like us build smarter applications.

You can also use a number of applications to export data to the Azure Data Lake such as Azure Synapse and Azure Data Factory. The fun doesn’t stop there as you can run SQL queries on top of the data in the Azure Data Lake. So, the Dataverse provides a lot of potential to teams that understand the full capabilities of the platform.

Want to explore Microsoft’s Dataverse?

If you want to test the waters before diving right in, then you could consider Dataverse for Teams to start off with. However, it provides only a subset of the capabilities of the data platform behind Dynamics 365 and Power Platform. When you are convinced that your business can benefit from using Microsoft’s Dataverse and are ready to upgrade, you can opt for the full version.

Dataverse for Teams supports various data types including relational data, image, and file data. Additionally, these data types can be shared across multiple flows and apps.

While we are excited to explore the Dataverse and have started the journey with Connectivity Monitor – an application that can monitor the health of our customers’ configured integrations on the go, and we are currently working toward building more apps. So, stay tuned!

However, if you are new to the cloud and still unsure about the benefits of moving to the Dataverse or a cloud platform, then do read our blog from the link below. We can also help you navigate your digital journey through our solutions. 

Learn how our solutions can help you transform your business in the cloud.

Digital transformation
Vipul Kulkarni,
Vipul Kulkarni,
Senior Software Engineer

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