Common Data Service, Dataflex, and Dataflex Pro: What You Need to Know

August 10, 2020 Greg Williams

For users of Microsoft Dynamics 365 or Power Platform, Common Data Service has been the underlying platform that allows data to be shared and managed between all of your different sources, and it fuels the various low-code possibilities presented by Power Platform. On July 21, 2020, Microsoft announced the launch of a new low-code data platform called Dataflex, and announced the renaming of Common Data Service to Dataflex Pro.

What does all this mean in practical terms for businesses looking to continue or begin using Microsoft’s low-code data platforms? Here’s what you need to know:


Common Data Service is Now Dataflex Pro

This is a simple name change. If your business already uses Common Data Service as the underlying platform to connect business data and processes, you’re now using Dataflex Pro. If you’re still in the process of researching this tool and how it can help your business, think of Dataflex Pro as a centralized storage and management tool for your business data.

As a low-code data platform, Dataflex Pro allows you to securely, easily manage any and all data from across your business, then effectively use that data in innovative ways, including by building custom, low-code apps. To better understand how this all works, check out our webinar What is Microsoft's Common Data Service. Just remember, Common Data Service is now Dataflex Pro, but the platform remains the same.




What is Dataflex?

Microsoft announced more than just the name change from Common Data Service to Dataflex Pro. They also announced the launching of a new tool, which is simply called Dataflex. To summarize, Dataflex is a simplified version of Dataflex Pro which operates within Microsoft Teams. Dataflex is a data platform which enables low-code apps to be built directly within Teams, and it’s now automatically included in the licensing for Teams.

Notably, these apps can only be created and used within a Teams client. (This is in contrast to the way data can be used with Dataflex Pro, which can be accessed from a variety of interfaces and operating systems, as well as embedded within solutions like Dynamics 365.) Compared to Dataflex Pro, the Dataflex capabilities are much more limited in terms of data types, security, integration options, and complex functionality.

If businesses using Dataflex find themselves running into these limitations, they can upgrade to Dataflex Pro and move towards using the much more comprehensive set of Power Platform tools, including Power BI, Power Automate, Power Apps, and Power Virtual Agents.


What does this mean for your business?

The underlying change here is one of increased flexibility for users looking to solve unique problems by building custom business solutions. For very simple app needs, Teams and Dataflex might fit into those needs, or at least give them a starting point. For organizations that have more complex data or processes they want to manage, Dataflex Pro and Microsoft Power Platform offer an incredible opportunity to innovate.

Microsoft has made it easier than ever for your users to create custom business solutions and services to fit a wide range of needs. Need help getting started or building your solutions? Western Computer brings deep expertise in Power Platform, Teams, and Dataflex Pro, and can help you maximize these helpful tools to get big results. Contact us today to talk to a business solutions expert.

About the Author

Greg Williams

As Western Computer's Dynamics Practice Manager, Greg Williams is responsible for aligning the company's product and service offerings with the specific needs of its customers. Greg's 15 years of experience with ERP implementations in the manufacturing and distribution industries allows him to identify potential risks and immediately mitigate them with creative solutions.

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