Nowadays, we are very much used to the idea of talking about ‘the cloud’. Cloud apps have taken hold in every aspect of our online experience, from storing our own personal data in cloud services to companies using the cloud to store their information. Often mentioned when talking about Microsoft’s cloud-based apps is CDS – Common Data Service. To use a familiar analogy, if we were to imagine Microsoft’s PowerApps as a custom cloud (and mobile) application, CDS would be the magic beanstalk holding it up, basically type of cloud database under PowerApps, where then we have possibility to integrate those data with Office 365, Dynamics 365 or other popular third party business application. And all that data we can than visualize in Power BI. What I’m trying to say is that CDS, also sometimes referred to as the Common Data Model (CDM) is the foundation from which Microsoft’s cloud apps draw all their data. In March 2018, Microsoft announced a new capability for Power BI, called the Common Data Service for Analytics. So, what does the integration into Power BI mean for the end user?


To start off, it means precisely that: integration. What CDS for Analytics offers first and foremost is the ability to integrate data directly into Power BI, eliminating the need to send data from multiple sources. Now those multiple sources are united in CDS for Analytics, allowing users to draw data from sources such as Dynamics 365, Salesforce and others directly into Power BI. The option to add their own data will also be available to organizations.
With all of the data being aggregated in one place, insights will be more readily available and relevant for users. This will allow for customers to purchase apps built in Power BI from Microsoft and its partners, as well as having the data accessible for self-service analytics. As for insights, they will be more custom tailored to each branch of users – sales, operations, marketing, finance, talent, and service. Organizations will be able to use CDS for Analytics to provide better data for their customers. This all may sound a bit complicated at first glance, but Microsoft promises everyone will be able to build apps using CDS for Analytics, from individual users with little to no experience in coding to big services like Azure using it to build better reports.

Credit: Microsoft

Now that we can share data across applications, we are more than ever able to control our data and share it in any way we personally want. Related to this is the announcement of Dynamics 365 Data Integration, a topic I will talk about more in my next post. For now, try to explore the possibilities brought to you by CDS for Analytics. For any inquiries about purchasing a Power BI license or any additional questions, feel free to contact me at [email protected]


Note: what is then a difference between CDS (Common Data Service) and CDM (Common Data Model)? CDS we can imagine as a cloud database platform as service under business application, as every business app usually use one common set of fields like first and last name of a person, company name etc, those common data fields are inside CDM (Common Data Model), plus all our custom data fields are part of custom developed data model, so CDM + our custom data fields are the complete data model that sits inside our database service, where here we call that  CDS (Common Data Service).