Figuring out DataVerse and DualWrite in Dynamics 365 FnO

This is a (probably the first) post to try to sort out my experiences around setting up a DataVerse connection to a Finance and Operations environment and figuring out how this interacts with Power Platform Admin Center, LCS and DualWrite.

Background

DualWrite is Microsofts go-to solution for integrating Dynamics 365 CE and Dynamics 365 FnO. It uses Dataverse and PowerPlatform extensively which means that we are, in all essences, merging two separate products into one, which creates some challenges.

Since Microsoft is in the middle of a “Convergence” transition when it comes to managing these things I realize that this is a moving target at the moment, which is why I will need to come back to this this eventually.

This article will address some of the challenges that we have experienced, setting up DualWrite.

Since my primary focus is FnO I will start there.

There are a lot of clues to the fact that Microsoft sees PowerPlatform and DataVerse as an integral part of Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations. The first one you will notice is that you get the option to create a Power Platform environment when you create a new FnO environment. Another lead is that none of the microservice add-ins that you can deploy from LCS are available to deploy it you have not connected your environment to Power Platform.

There are two different ways to create the DualWrite setup. Setting up a new, empty Environment when deploying a new FnO environment or linking your FnO environment to an existing CRM/CE environment. Please remember that, if you have an existing CRM environment with existing customizations (of a highly customized FnO environment) you should probably think about setting up a proof of concept to evaluate how to handle customizations. Keep in mind that the out-of-box mappings for DualWrite are created for vanilla environments.

Initial Setup

When setting up a new Finance and Operations environment you get the option of also setting up a new connected DataVerse environment. You will not get the option to connect an existing environment. You are able to opt out of this setup at the time of deployment if you want.

Regardless of what you choose the environment will be created and connected from the Power Platform side. On the LCS side there is no indication of any DataVerse environment.

Connecting to PowerPlatform

NOTE: This decision is IRREVERSIBLE. Once you have linked your FnO environment to a Power Platform environment there is no supported way to unlink it.

Once the environment is set up LCS offers an option to set up the DataVerse Connection. You can use the one provisioned for you, if you are not using CRM or if you are not planning to use DualWrite to interface with CRM, or you can link it to your existing Dynamics 365 for Sales (CRM) environment. Even though the connection is done to your existing/live CRM environment the operation should be safe since the Power Platform are being deployed to another “partition” of the environment. I know, the message in the upper right corner looks a bit scarry…

This operation only enabled the install of add-ins, DualWrite still needs to be set up from within FnO when you are ready for it.

Lessons Learned

Since Microsoft is currently moving the management experience of Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations environments to the Power Platform Admin Center, all of this is a changing scenario and I think what we are seeing is a transition to what is about to come.

Key Take-Aways

  • Do a gradual rollout, starting with some entities
  • If there is data that does not need to be synchronized, a different solution such as virtual entities or PowerApps could be an idea
  • Do a proof-of-concept to validate the setup

Links:
Enable integration during environment deployment
Microsoft Power Platform integration with Finance and Operations apps – Finance & Operations | Dynamics 365 | Microsoft Docs

My top 12 items in the Dynamics and Power Platform 2020 Wave 1

Last week Microsoft finally released the complete PDFs with new features of Dynamics 365 and PowerPlatform Wave 1 2020. I browsed through them (all 405 pages of them 🙂 ) to to try to understand where we are going… here are my top 10 12.

  1. Mass deployment of the Warehouse App
    This gives an organization the ability to use Microsoft Intune (or your favorite MDM solution) to deploy the warehouse app to mobile devices.
  2. The UI will start adapting to the license the user has assigned in order to make the UI “less complex”. This means that there is no longer a possibility to get by under licensed”.
  3. The new grid now allows you to group rows based on a column and also to easily rearrange the columns.
  4. Tables, Entities and Aggregate measurements can be stored in Data Lagke Storage Gen 2. Prior to this release we were only able to store Aggregate Measurements in Data Lakes.
  5. The ability to embed a Power Automate Flow directly in the UI in Dynamics. This flow can be triggered by the end user. This feature is even cooler since it was suggested on the Dynamics Ideas site.
  6. Azure AD sign-in in the POS client. This could previously only be done using a worker ID
  7. The ability to create a PowerApp directly in Microsoft Teams.
  8. Great improvements for running model-driven apps offline. Really cool since this is geared towards mobile front line workers.
  9. Monitor and get insight into usage of your canvas apps using Azure Application Insights.
  10. Power Apps Test Studio is available in General Availability. This gives you the possibility to automate testing and integrate it into Azure DevOps release and Build Pipelines
  11. Simplified expressions in Power Automate. Instead of having to write a complex expression for a string operation there are ready-made blocks for this.
  12. Copy and Paste in the Power Automate designer (Yay)

As you can see this selection of features are quite tech/IT heavy… There are a LOT more app related features in the Wave 2 release. Look through the PDFs linked below to get a grasp on these.

One thing to note is that this is Wave 1… Not everything in Wave 1 is general available or in some cases even in preview… but it is coming. Something to look forward to.

Links:
https://docs.microsoft.com/sv-se/dynamics365-release-plan/2020wave1/
https://docs.microsoft.com/sv-se/power-platform-release-plan/2020wave1/