The Dynamics 365 Data Integration feature enables the flow of data between Dynamics 365 for Sales, Dynamics 365 for Operations, and some other products through Common Data Service. You’ll be happy to learn that CDS comes pre-configured with a large set of standard entities commonly used in business applications. A good example would be customer fields. Both CRM and ERP have customer fields, but they are called something different in each system. Using Common Data Service - you can map both applications to a single field called “Customer.” After mapping - whenever that field is updated, Common Data Service will update both applications. You can think of this as a codeless integration. And it gets even better, because these standard entities can extend the data model with custom entities without using any code. Common Data Service thus opens a whole new world of possibilities for building even more useful PowerApps and Flows. You don’t have to be a developer to create a data model to support your needs. The power of Common Data Service lies in its ability to provide a single data model that can source data from multiple systems, relate that data, and allow users to view and update data across multiple applications.

Previously, custom code, kludgy workarounds, and third-party solutions were required to provide these capabilities. Also, Microsoft provides 17 custom templates for CDS like:

  • Copy from Dynamics 365 for Sales to the Common Data Service and Operations – When a new account is created in Dynamics 365 for Sales, a new account will also be created in the Microsoft Common Data Service and a customer will be created in Dynamics 365 for Operations.

  • Copy new Dynamics 365 Contacts to the Common Data Service – Whenever a new Dynamics 365 contact is created, it will be added to the Microsoft Common Data Service.

Why can’t we just sync data between CRM and ERP using Microsoft Flow only? why do we need to use Common Data Service? In most cases, mapping of data between these products cannot be done directly. Same data may be stored in different ways or formats in these applications. Another simple example is, how Currency is used: In Dynamics 365 for Sales, Customer’s currency is stored with currency name as US Dollar whereas, in Dynamics 365 for operations, same data is stored with currency code as USD. In such cases, we can have a staging database in CDS to map as required in the destination application.

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