What is Microsoft Dataverse?

Microsoft Dataverse lets you securely store and manage data that is used by business applications. Data within Dataverse is stored within a set of tables. A table is a set of rows and columns. You can think of it as a managed cloud database on steroids.

Each column in the table is designed to store a certain type of data, for example, name, age, salary, and so on. Dataverse includes a base set of standard tables that cover typical scenarios, but you can also create custom tables specific to your organization and populate them with data by using Power Query. App makers can then use Power Apps to build rich applications that use this data.

What is the difference between Common Data Service, Microsoft Dataverse, Power Apps, Power Platform and Dynamics?

Common Data Service and Microsoft Dataverse are the same things. Microsoft recently renamed the Common Data Service to Microsoft Dataverse. Also made some changes to the terminology used within Common Data Service. For example, entity is now table and field is now column.

The Power Platform is a family of products based on the low code philosophy. Low code means that little to no code is required to build an application. Also, this introduces the concept of Citizen Developers.

As we can see in the diagram below, Power Apps is a component within the Power Platform. It allows us to easily build user interfaces for our apps. You have three types of apps available: Canvas Apps, Model Driven Apps and Portals. Portals was recently renamed to Power Pages, and it stands as a standalone product in the platform.

Diagram describing the main components of the Microsoft Power Platform: Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate and Power Virtual Agents
The diagram above shows the main components of the Microsoft Power Platform

Microsoft Dynamics is the name of a family of products built on top of the Power Platform and Azure. Microsoft Dynamics comes in different flavors, and provide functions for Financial Management, Customer Relationship Management, Supply Chain Management, Project Management, Human Resources among others.

A Citizen Developer is a person with no coding skills that is able to use the functionality provided by the Power Platform to build secure and reliable enterprise applications. Think for example of those people in your organization that use their Excel skills to build all sort of spreadsheet trackers, or workbooks full of formulas to calculate budgets. Now those people are Citizen Developers in the Power Platform.

How can Microsoft Dataverse help your organization?

Microsoft Dataverse makes it easier to quickly build applications. That means that you can build something quicker. And quicker means less time, less resources and cheaper.

This approach where anyone within your organization with Microsoft Office skills could model an application that automates parts of your business processes in a secure a reliable way is a game-changer. It is effectively putting the knowledge of the experts in applications that can be shared, without requiring the IT department to get involved, the same way it happens with the old spreadsheets, but more controlled, powerful and safer.

More information:

Photo by Andrei Carina on Unsplash.

Post reviewed and updated on 29/12/2022.

Published by Cris Fernandez

Solutions Architect at Creativity Spark

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