Everything You Need to Know about Power Platform – November 2020

This month the theme seems to be the product formally known as Common Data Service. Thankfully they didn’t change its name to a symbol, instead, they now call it Dataverse. There are announcements to be had about its name change and oh yeah it is now FREE inside of Teams! Crazy. Hopefully, we can stop renaming things for five minutes, or at least long enough for me to write up this news and notes. Also, some cool info on Power BI, governance, and more connectors.

Not CDS but instead Dataverse and other changes

Another day, another name change. The Common Data Service aka CDS aka Common Data Service for Apps aka Dataflex aka whatever you wanted to call it is now officially named Dataverse. As a guy who creates content and teaches training classes, I am still struggling to say Dataverse but I will get there. And in case one name change wasn’t enough they also changed parts of Dataverse. Entities are now called Tables and Option Sets are now called Choices. I think overall these name changes make complete sense and will be good for the long-term health of bringing new people up to speed. But, man, it was a lot all and at once for those of who knew the old names. Best part? No functionality changes, just words on the screen.

And if you are like what the heck is Dataverse then the quick answer is it is the data platform underneath Microsoft Dynamics and Power Platform. Notice I said data platform, not database. Because while yes, you store data there in a database, it is so much more. It has an awesome security model, business rules, relationships, views, and is the fastest place to store your Power Platform data. ? If you haven’t at least played with it enough to understand it then you are missing out. Go play!

Oh yeah, Dataverse for Microsoft Teams is full release and FREE

Yes, I realize I have typed free in all caps twice now. No, I don’t care. I think that is so important to understand what it is and why it is free. So we just established that Dataverse is the cool data platform in the previous paragraph so Dataverse for Teams (D4T is my acronym of choice if we are voting) is just storage in Teams? No. Well, yes, but that is just a piece. What is interesting is while Dataverse standalone is a premium data source, D4T is free when used inside of the Teams bubble.

AND D4T also includes usage rights to build Apps, Workflows, and Chatbots all still for free. (I wanted to capitalize it.) So if you use Power Apps, Power Automate, or Power Virtual Agent to interact with D4T or any of the standard connectors it is all free. That folks, is awesome. So the question is why?

The reason why is Microsoft is tired of hearing about Slack and Zoom. Both of which only do a subset of what Teams can do. And guess what? Now that you can build custom apps, workflows, and chatbots for no additional cost that subset has become microscopic. Teams is awesome and Dataverse for Teams made it more awesome!

Power BI Premium per user is now out in the wild

I am not a big Power BI guy, I wish I was, but even I get that this change to licensing will have a profound effect. All of the goodness that is Power BI Premium but without the previously enormous price tag. More scale, better residency, and more flexibility are just a few of the reasons you should be pumped.

Power Apps URL is changing

Microsoft has retired the usage of web.powerapps.com and instead, everything will be in make.powerapps.com or app.powerapps.com. Honestly, I thought web was gone years ago. ? Whoops. Just in case you are affected here is the announcement.

24 new connectors for Power Platform

How many is that now? 400 something for sure. Looking at the list I haven’t used any of them but interesting that there is two new SMS options and a lot of industry-specific connectors. Check out the list here.

Power Platform Center of Excellence helps manage Dataverse for Teams

Turns out the fact D4T can now spin up environments right and left has some people looking twice. If you are one of those people check out the updates to the COE for help with all things governance. You can learn more in this post.