What is the Microsoft Dataverse?

How to extract meaning from data

How do we manage so much data?

To paraphrase the American media theorist Neil Postman:

The problem today is not getting information to people. The problem is getting meaning to them.

Postman was referring to what he called an “information glut” brought on by technology, but his words are just as relevant to the subject of data.

We have more data than ever before, and it’s expanding all the time with new sources from social media, the Internet of Things, the internet and mobile. Without meaning this data is of little, if any, use to us. The big problem with all this data is that it’s all different. Different sets of data use different terms within them which makes extracting any coherent meaning from them both costly and time consuming.

You probably have silos of data. Every application in your system will have its own database, e.g., your website, an excel file, your CRM etc. You might have tens of applications and hundreds of databases as a result. To make it all work together you must set up links between all the apps and all the databases. And if you want to add a new app, you will have to set up links to it from all your databases all over again. All of which can result in a significant drain on resources.

So how do we extract meaning from data? What you need is a set of terms of reference which is common to all your data sources - known as the Common (or Shared) Data Model (CDM).

What is The Common Data Model?

The Common Data Model solves the problem of having many databases and business applications by connecting them all using a shared set of metadata, a language which everything understands. The Common Data Model ensures that the word ‘customer’ (for example) means the same thing to all apps and in all databases.

One of the major benefits of this is that you only need one record in your database for every application. This not only reduces the amount of data needed, it also reduces inconsistencies and errors by creating a single source of truth, one record for all applications.

What is The Microsoft Dataverse?

Formerly known as the Common Data Service, the Microsoft Dataverse is a cloud-based database where you store and manage your data. It puts into practice the idea of the Common Data Model by supplying a shared language for business and analytical apps to use; apps such as Microsoft PowerApps, Power BI, Dynamics 365, and Azure.

The schema presents terms commonly used in business such as ‘Account', ‘Campaign’, ‘Budget’, and ‘Discount’. These terms have been standardised and published by Microsoft and their approved third-party partners.

What are the Benefits of the Dataverse?

Compliance and consistency. Dataverse is perfect for companies which have to comply with ISO standards. Dataverse enables you to protect your assets by applying company-wide policies to permissions, retentions and storage. All your applications run under one level of governance, so as your organisation becomes more complex, you can be confident of having an underlying compliance.

Easy Integration. If you’re already using Microsoft 365, Azure, Dynamics 365 or any other Microsoft product, then everything is easier to integrate into your system. The Dataverse is the storage model which allows this integration.

The Power Platform. Thanks to the Dataverse we have the Power Platform, which is the foundation for Power Apps, Power Automate, Power BI and Power Virtual Agents. This makes it easy to add automations between SharePoint, Dynamics 365 and Outlook.

Returning to Neil Postman’s idea of too much information and little or no meaning. The problem of extracting meaning from data is solved with the principle of the Common Data Model. Putting this into practice is achieved with the Dataverse, the foundation upon which Microsoft has built its Power Platform and the many business applications which connect with it.

Contact us to arrange a free 1-hour consultation to find out how the Microsoft Dataverse can help your business or organisation.

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