Back in March, I published my last article unpeeling the Dataverse service as part of Power Platform. In April I got the chance to visit European Power Platform Conference in Berlin and spend time with our Power Platform community for further exchange. Dataverse being part of those conversations as well.
I spend time attending many session, coffee breaks and one thing that stood out was a session delivered by Chris Huntingford and Antti Pajunen talking about the Dataverse service from a different view. I´ve summarized and remodeled one of their slides above, which they used to kick-off the controverse views that seems to exist in the field. On the non-beloved side to the right, you can see me adding some categories which I think are pretty important, when addressing and transparently discussing those points.
A key learning – many conversations start by comparing Dataverse from the data side of the house with other (lower priced) data sources being used to store app data. Well, that tells me there needs to be more words spread that Dataverse is way more than a database. This also reflects back on the topic of licensing which I categorized as „costs“. Architects and any creator should obviously know more about Dataverse in detail. Same as it is true for any other service.
Another key-learning – What was a no-brainer for the Dynamics creators, isn´t a no-brainer to Power Platform creators. And this resonates well with the fact that when talking about the implementation and adoption of Power Platform, one of the first topics would be an implementation of a Center of Excellence. A team that should help in first phase to come up with a good environment strategy. And when saying environment (surprise, surprise) – one of the first asks is: With or without Dataverse service?
As I´ve outlined in my previous articles unpeeling this service, it´s not obvious to start from security and management side first. As creator, you may not ask about the environment hosting your app, flow, chatbot, portal or report – you just start creating and therefore may think data-first.
And yes, if the team responsible for your environment allowed for using Dataverse, it´s indeed the data part you enter the Power Apps Studio as an example and navigate to Data section. But as Chris and Antti mentioned as well – it´s not obvious to have this service activated – or is it?
When reading through MuleSoft´s 2022 Connectivity Benchmark Report it´s interesting to read about the majority of customer interactions being digital, though organizations still struggling to provide connected experiences. Well a challenge for them could be the amount of data siloes that raised through previous years, making it a huge challenge to combine systems, take insights out of data and serve customers in a kind of 360° view. Dataverse doesn´t mean to start a „big-data“ project, copy data from each source into a Dataverse just to consume it. But this isn´t known, if you just start using Power Apps Studio and make your first experiences with Dataverse.
To provide an example – when entering the Dataverse tables in Power Apps Studio, there´s a filter set to „default“ which limit the amount of tables a creator would see. If you´re not trained on this surface, you probably wouldn´t recognize that there´re way more tables available to you, once you set the filter to „all“ for instance.
Another example is the recent announced capability of simplifying access to virtual tables via virtual connection providers. Azure Active Directory user information for instance being accessible via a virtual table via Dataverse. So is Dataverse a kind of a data warehouse – without being monolythic?
That´s where creators and architects would need more technical information around the Dataverse service. You might have come across one of the above visuals that outlines included features and capabilities of the Dataverse service. Categorized in the following:
For each of them you would find tons of documentation available – sometimes not even obvious to be found when doing a research via Power Platform. And because of this, we need more guidance around Dataverse. More clarity and an open discussion forum which doesn´t start with above visualized and categorized „non-beloved“ statements. Same as I asked attendees of the European Power Platform Conference, where do you start your creation process from? Security- or Data-perspective? Or something else? Let me know in the comments or feedback via social channels. Until then,…