The Common Data Model

We all know that data is fundamental to building business applications. In most cases, data needs to move between systems to make it accessible for apps to use, such as a two-way integration between Dynamics 365 for Operations and Dynamics 365 Sales, or a one-way integration between a Dynamics 365 application and another database. 

In the not too distant past, integrations were siloed and custom built, making them expensive, risky, and difficult to maintain.

CMD is a Game-Changer

The Common Data Model (CDM) simplifies the integration process by providing a shared data language for business and analytical applications to use as well as template integrations between systems. These templates guide system administrators through the integration process without any coding languages, which means integration jobs are now accessible to a larger community of Dynamics consumers.

The Common Data Model metadata system enables consistency of data and its meaning across applications and business processes (such as PowerApps, Power BI, Dynamics 365, and Azure), which store data in conformance with the Common Data Model.

In addition to the metadata system, the Common Data Model includes a set of standardized, extensible data schemas that Microsoft and its partners have published. This collection of predefined schemas includes entities, attributes, semantic metadata, and relationships. The schemas represent commonly used concepts and activities, such as Account and Campaign, to simplify the creation, aggregation, and analysis of data. This graphic shows some elements of the standard entities.

Photo Credit: Microsoft

Why we Like the Common Data Model

The Common Data Model simplifies data management and app development by unifying data into a known form and applying structural and semantic consistency across multiple apps and deployments. When data is in the model:

  • It can be used in many apps
  • It streamlines the creation or use of other apps to use that data
  • It can easily build reports for each of those apps (or all of them). 

The result? Menlo is able to bring data from a variety of systems into the Common Data Model, instead of building a different model for each app. 

And what about the need to create a fourth app? Your data is ready in the Common Data Model schema. 

The efficiency that you get from standardization can expedite and streamline whatever you do next with your data.

Key benefits of the Common Data Model

  • Structural and semantic consistency across applications and deployments.
  • Simplified integration of data that’s collected from processes, digital interactions, product telemetry, people interactions, and so on.
  • A unified shape where data integrations can combine existing enterprise data with other sources and use that data holistically to develop apps or derive insights.
  • Ability to extend the schema and Common Data Model standard entities to tailor the model to your organization.

In its latest release, the Common Data Model enables low friction collaboration among Data and AI professionals.

How Menlo Uses the Common Data Model 

As Microsoft Partners, Menlo uses the Common Data Model for our own apps and offerings. We’re also building additional services and offerings based on Common Data Model schemas. These examples show how organizations use the Common Data Model:

  • Common Data Service, which supports Dynamics and PowerApps, stores data in conformance with the Common Data Model definition. In fact, many of the original business entities in the Common Data Model came from Dynamics offerings, such as Dynamics 365 for Sales and Dynamics 365 for Marketing.
  • Industries such as healthcare are working closely with Microsoft to extend the Common Data Model to their specific business concepts, such as Patient and Care Plan through Industry Accelerators. This extends the benefit of the Common Data Model standard entities to these verticals so that industry solutions interoperate more easily.
  • Power BI Dataflows allows you to ingest data into the Common Data Model form from a variety of sources such as Dynamics 365, Salesforce, Azure SQL Database, Excel, or SharePoint. Once you’ve connected and prepared your data, you can choose to map it to a Common Data Model standard entity or load it as a custom entity in Common Data Model form in Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2.
  • Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2 helps speed your transition from proof of concept to production by combining the power of a file system that’s compatible with Hadoop, an integrated hierarchical namespace, and the massive scale and economy of Azure Blob Storage. The Common Data Model brings semantic consistency to data within the lake so that applications and services can interoperate more easily when data is stored in Common Data Model form.

Menlo Technologies is a Microsoft Gold Application Development Partner. Talk to us about your  data management and app development needs.