Microsoft Power Platform integration with Finance and Operations apps

Note

Effective November 2020:

  • Common Data Service has been renamed to Microsoft Dataverse. For more information, see Power Automate Blog.
  • Some terminology in Microsoft Dataverse has been updated. For example, entity is now table and field is now column. For more information, see Terminology updates.

This topic will be updated soon to reflect the latest terminology.

Microsoft Power Platform provides a suite of capabilities for Dynamics 365 applications via the Power Platform admin center. Today, Finance and Operations apps are not managed by the Power Platform admin center. However, over time more and more management capabilities will be migrated from Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services (LCS) over to the admin center. In the interim, customers will be able to unlock features, such as dual-write functionality, virtual entities, add-ins, and more via Microsoft Power Platform integration functionality in LCS.

Prerequisite reading

To understand the architecture of Microsoft Power Platform, Dataverse, dual-write, and virtual entities for Finance and Operations apps, you must understand how they work. Therefore, the following documentation is a prerequisite:

Tools and services unlocked with Microsoft Power Platform integration

Together, virtual entities, dual-write, and business events make up the shared data layer for the convergence of Finance and Operations apps and the Dataverse platform. They are complementary technologies that are intended to work together.

Virtual entities enable scenarios where access to Finance and Operations data from Microsoft Power Platform or native Dataverse apps is required. You can query that data, bind forms to it, and generally use the full power of Microsoft Power Platform against the full breadth of Finance and Operations apps. Data isn't copied between systems. Instead, it's accessed directly through the standard virtual entity infrastructure that Microsoft Power Platform technologies can already bind to. For more information, see Virtual entities overview.

Business events let you use Microsoft Power Platform to respond to events that are occurring in Finance and Operations apps. Business events can be raised from any app, including Finance and Operations apps, and can be handled by Microsoft Power Platform business logic. This handling will often include querying or interacting with additional data through either native entities or virtual entities.

For a subset of scenarios, data must be physically copied between Finance and Operations apps and native Dataverse entities. These scenarios are for overlapping entities that already have a large amount of bound logic in both native Dataverse apps and Finance and Operations apps, so that the data must reside in the local database of each type of app. Although the number of these entities is relatively small, it includes some of the most important entities, such as Account/Customer, Company, Product, and Sales order. For these scenarios, dual-write enables near-real-time synchronous copying of data. This capability enables existing apps to continue to operate against local data, as designed, and also ensures that the corresponding overlapping entity is kept in sync. For more information, see the Dual-write home page.

Together, virtual entities, dual-write, and business events let you build apps and business processes that span the boundaries between Finance and Operations apps and native Dataverse apps. Most apps and business processes will use either a combination of these three parts of the shared data layer or all of them. As always, extension and customization should reduce the amount of data that is copied between databases as much as possible, and should also optimize for the best possible user experience when these tools are used.

Add-ins functionality

Add-ins provide a way to extend the functionality of Finance and Operations apps. All add-ins are installed and managed via Lifecycle Services on the environment details page for sandbox and production-type environments. The metadata regarding which add-ins are installed and the configuration options for each add-in are stored in the Microsoft Dataverse database that is provisioned as part of the Microsoft Power Platform integration. Some add-ins also store business data in the Dataverse database. To learn more about available add-ins, see Add-ins overview.

Typical scenarios and patterns that use dual-write

Here are some typical scenarios that use dual-write.

Customer service representatives can facilitate a change of address for Finance and Operations customers

A customer relocates and wants to change their billing and shipping address information. This customer contacts a customer service representative and requests a change of address. The customer service representative takes the call and changes the customer's billing and shipping address information.

Decision Information
Is real-time data required? Yes
Peak data volume Not applicable
Frequency Ad hoc

This scenario that involves near-real-time data synchronization is best implemented by using dual-write.

  1. The customer's information is sourced in a Finance and Operations app.
  2. A customer calls customer service and asks to change their billing and shipping address information.
  3. A customer service representative retrieves the customer's record in Dynamics 365 Customer Service.
  4. The customer service representative updates the billing and shipping addresses, and saves the data.
  5. The new billing and shipping addresses are synced back to the Finance and Operations app in real time.

Sales representatives can change customer credit limits without signing in to a Finance and Operations app

A customer has a credit limit of $2,000 and wants to increase it to $5,000. This customer calls and requests the increase. The ticket is assigned to the sales department. The head of sales reviews the request, reviews the customer's payment history, and determines that the customer is eligible for an increased credit limit. The head of sales approves the request and responds to the ticket. The customer receives an email about the approval of the $5,000 credit limit.

Decision Information
Is real-time data required? Yes
Peak data volume Not applicable
Frequency Ad hoc

This scenario is best implemented by using dual-write.

  1. A customer calls and wants to increase their credit limit from $2,000 to $5,000.
  2. A customer support representative creates a ticket in Dynamics 365 Customer Service.
  3. The ticket is assigned to the sales unit.
  4. A sales representative from the sales unit reviews and approves the request.
  5. The customer's credit limit is increased to $5,000 in Dynamics 365 Sales.
  6. The credit limit in the Finance and Operations app is updated to $5,000.
  7. The sales representative responds to the ticket and resolves it.
  8. The customer receives an email about the increased credit limit.

Prerequisites for setting up the Microsoft Power Platform integration

The following list provides details about the prerequisites for setting up the Microsoft Power Platform integration:

  • Make sure that at least one gigabyte (GB) of Microsoft Power Platform database storage capacity space is available for your tenant. Otherwise, setup will fail. You can view your capacity in the Power Platform admin center.

  • Identify your Finance and Operations environment administrator. You can find that information in the Environment details section.

    Environment details tab.

  • Validate your Microsoft Power Platform environment governance policy. To validate, you must be a Global administrator or Power Platform administrator.

    1. Sign in to the Power Platform admin center.

    2. Select the Settings button (gear symbol) in the upper-right corner of the page to open the Power Platform settings pane.

      Power Platform settings pane.

  • For organizations that do not allow everyone to create Microsoft Power Platform production environments, the Finance and Operations environment administrator account for your environment must be added to one of the following Microsoft Power Platform admin roles. To make this change, you must be a Global Administrator.

    • Global admins
    • Dynamics 365 admins
    • Power Platform admins

    Note

    The preceding roles might provide more permissions than the Finance and Operations administrator account requires. Therefore, a more limited role for this integration will eventually be added to Azure Active Directory (Azure AD). The new role won't require any of the preceding roles. If you want to keep the administrator that has the least privileges, you can temporarily grant one of the preceding roles. Then, after the Microsoft Power Platform integration is set up, remove that role.

  • All users who create Microsoft Power Platform environments must be licensed. The Microsoft 365 admin center should be used to apply the Dynamics 365 Unified Operations Plan or AX Enterprise license, or an application-specific license such as Dynamics 365 Finance, to the Finance and Operations environment administrator account.

Enabling the Microsoft Power Platform integration

The Microsoft Power Platform integration can be enabled when you create a new Finance and Operations environment in LCS. Alternatively, it can be enabled in an existing Finance and Operations environment.

Enable during environment deployment

When you set up a new Finance and Operations environment in LCS, the deployment wizard includes several sections where you can set values. One of those sections is named Power Platform Integration.

Power Platform Integration section in the deployment wizard.

Follow these steps to configure the Power Platform Integration section.

  1. Set the Configure Power Platform Environment option to Yes. Several additional settings become available.

  2. In the Power Platform template field, select one of the following values:

    • Dynamics 365 Standard – This basic template is applicable to all Finance and Operations environments. Select this value if you don't require a more specific template.
    • Project Operations – This template is specific to the Project Operations scenario. This value is available only if your tenant has licenses and entitlement for Dynamics 365 Project Operations.
  3. If you're deploying a DevTest or cloud-hosted environment, the Environment Type field is available. In it, you can select the type of Dataverse environment that is created and linked. Otherwise, by default, the environment type is set to Sandbox for Tier 2 through Tier 5 acceptance test environments and Production for production environments.

  4. Select the Agree check box to agree to the terms and conditions of the integration.

Important

The language and currency values of the Dataverse environment that is created and linked to your Finance and Operations environment are automatically determined, based on the physical address of your Azure AD tenant. For example, if that address is in Redmond, Washington, USA, the language will be English by default, and the currency will be US dollars (USD).

If you require values that differ from the default values, contact Microsoft support. We can help link an existing Dataverse environment that you manually provision to the Finance and Operations environment. Eventually, fields for the language and currency will be added as setup options, so that customers can manually set them or accept the default values.

Set up after environment deployment

To set up after the Finance and Operations environment has been deployed, follow these steps:

  1. After the Finance and Operations environment has been deployed through LCS, open the Environment details page in LCS.

  2. In the Power Platform integration section, select Setup.

    Setup button in the Power Platform Integration section.

  3. In the Power Platform environment setup dialog box, agree to the terms and conditions, and then select Setup at the bottom of the dialog box.

    Note

    This will provision a Microsoft Dataverse-based environment in the Power Platform admin center, and typically requires 1GB of database storage capacity. It will have the same name as your Finance and Operations environment. Dual-write platform-level components will be installed, but dual-write application components will not be set up or enabled. That is a separate action.

  4. When you receive a message that states that the Microsoft Power Platform environment is being provisioned, select OK.

    The Power Platform integration section of the Environment details page now shows a message that states that the Microsoft Power Platform environment is being provisioned.

  5. After a few minutes, refresh the Environment details page.

  6. In the Power Platform integration section, notice that the value of the Status field is Environment setup is in progress.

    Typically, the setup takes between 60 and 90 minutes.

    After the Dataverse environment is provisioned, the Install a new add-in and the Dual-write application buttons become available in the Power Platform integration section.

    Install a new add-in button.

    Dual-write application button.

Important

The language and currency values of the Dataverse environment that is created and linked to your Finance and Operations environment are automatically determined, based on the physical address of your Azure AD tenant. For example, if that address is in Redmond, Washington, USA, the language will be English by default, and the currency will be US dollars (USD).

If you require values that differ from the default values, contact Microsoft support. We can help link an existing Dataverse environment that you manually provision to the Finance and Operations environment. Eventually, fields for the language and currency will be added as setup options, so that customers can manually set them or accept the default values.

Troubleshooting the setup

Setup can fail at various stages of the deployment of the Dataverse-based environment.

Dual-write setup failure.

  • Anytime the setup fails, an error message will be displayed. Based on the error message, you may need to address licensing or capacity issues. After these have been resolved, you can then use the Resume button in the Power Platform integration section of the Environment details page in LCS to finish the setup.