The new Dynamics 365 platform comes with a new concept called Common Data Model (CDM) for a new way to look at your business data. The Common Data model is a way for business apps to be able to speak the same language about the information you care about. It's an out-of-the-box business database for storing and managing business entities. It makes integrations a lot faster and a lot less painful as it acts as an integration hub to enable data exchange based on pre-defined entity schemas.

But what actually is the Common Data Model ?

It’s a secure database stored in Microsoft Azure on your company’s Microsoft Account made up of standard business entities and relationships, but it is designed to support businesses in extending entities and building their own. The standard entities expect your data model to be somewhat closer to the out-of-the-box CDM data model.

CDM unifies applications made with PowerApps, Microsoft Flow, and Dynamics 365. It has the functions important to business data management, such as auto numbering, cascading delete, and explicit data types such as Addresses. It’s also constantly being improved and revised by Microsoft.

How can you use it ?

  • To integrate systems with different data models like Dynamics CRM, Dynamics NAV, Dynamics AX.
  • By building mobile applications together with PowerApps and Microsoft Flow for Dynamics 365.
  • By using CDM you can gain access to cross system reporting together with Power BI.

What is Microsoft doing with the CDM?

Microsoft claims:

“For Microsoft, the Common Data Model provides the best opportunity to provide true intelligence to its customers. Azure Machine Learning, Cortana, and Power BI will all speak to the Common Data Model”.

…meaning Microsoft is going further than just keeping systems nicely integrated by offering true insights into your business data, on your behalf. Simply put, Common Data Model provides standard schema for all your future integrations which can be extended. It also gives a possibility to make it more data rich while Microsoft is releasing its entities and gathering opinions about including more technologies which can be unified with CMD.

What does this mean for the future?

For businesses, the Common Data Model is the promise of having a more user friendly way to look at all of your data. Data will have more value, applications will provide proactive intelligence across the business, applications will be built faster by power users themselves. The Common Data Model is not the endpoint of such a vision, but it is a very strong first step towards it.

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