Planning for Power Platform Data Integration? 8 Essential Questions to Consider

minutes reading time

Planning for Power Platform Data Integration? 8 Essential Questions to Consider

As a business leader, you oversee an intricate network of distinct systems and services, each propelling separate processes.

The potential for these disparate data sources to connect and interact is a topic of discussion and a desired goal. Data integration provides the answer, but you recognise various challenges.

Here at Serversys, we will support you every step of the way. Specialising in integrating systems, from Dynamics 365 CRM systems to web portals, SQL databases, and finance systems, we’ve also configured successful integrations with popular providers such as D&B, PayPal, Stripe, DAVIS and Creditsafe. Given meticulous planning and expert guidance, we believe that potential integration pitfalls can be turned into stepping-stones toward unified data and streamlined processes.

With over 1000 certified connectors, Power Automate simplifies many integrations, but a bespoke approach may still be necessary due to unique organisational considerations.

In this article, we address eight essential questions which, when answered, can guide you towards developing a resilient, unified data source. This is the path to realising the advantages of integrated data, smooth operations, and improved decision-making for your business.

1. What is your data integration goal?

Are you seeking to achieve real-time data sharing across departments? Is the aim to consolidate data from disparate sources to create a unified view? Or perhaps, are you looking to modernise specific business processes with more integrated and accessible information? Clearly articulating your goals at the outset is crucial to scope your project appropriately and ensure everyone is on board.

Like any project, a clearly defined goal will serve as a strategic guide and provide clarity.

2. Which data flow direction aligns with your needs?

Does your business need data to move from one system to another in a single path? This unidirectional flow often suits situations where fresh data is fed into Microsoft Dataverse, the central repository for Dynamics 365 and Power Apps.

Alternatively, might a two-way (bidirectional) flow be needed for ongoing sync between systems? This is common in environments where near real-time interaction between different business areas is necessary.

Deciding the flow direction will affect your data strategy’s dynamics and the infrastructure complexity to support this integration. Specifically, bidirectional integration adds increased complexity to manage data consistency, error handling, and performance loads.

3. How frequently should your data sync?

Real-time sync ensures immediate updates and is suitable for fast-paced environments where up-to-the-minute accuracy is vital. However, all Microsoft Power Platform users have limits on how many API requests can be made between products within 24 hours.

Scheduled data sync is more frequently used, providing regular updates during specified intervals where continuous API requests for real-time updates aren’t needed.

A third option is an event-driven sync involving triggered data updates from a defined action.

An appropriate sync method and schedule, aligned with your business needs, will ensure smooth operations and maintain data consistency.

4. Is your data ready for integration?

Determining the state of your data quality is a vital step before migration. Assess data accuracy, consistency, and relevance within your source systems. Spotting discrepancies or outdated information is crucial, as these could affect the effectiveness of your integration and degrade data quality.

Identifying the need for data cleansing will include purging inaccuracies and resolving duplicate entries to ensure that only high-quality, relevant data is connected.

Equally essential is data normalisation. This entails organising your data to be consistently formatted and easily accessible across systems. For instance, it could involve addressing inconsistent date formats, differing measurement units or non-standard categorisations between your data sources.

Prioritising data quality will help ensure a smoother data integration process and maximise the efficiency of the newly integrated system.

5. How will your data mapping enhance compatibility?

Data mapping and transformation is about laying a clear roadmap for how data from different systems will be interpreted, associated, and stored.

Consider, for instance, the necessity of defining new tables and columns within Dataverse to ensure that once the data is migrated, it remains functional and accessible in Dynamics 365 and other apps.

Mapping data fields between systems entails a careful evaluation to align data types, formats, and values for interoperability between source and target systems. As highlighted above, it may also involve data transformation, where values are converted or reformatted for consistency with the target system. This step should also consider what matching rules will be applied to update existing records or when to create new entries.

A clear and structured data mapping and transformation process ensures that data retains its quality, relevance, and usability post-migration to support informed decision-making.

6. What mechanisms will resolve data conflicts?

Achieving precision in data transformation and integration will ensure that data remains consistent, reliable and actionable across connected systems. Essential to the data validation process is addressing and defining precise rules for data conflict resolution. This aspect is critical, particularly when integrating systems with coinciding updates.

Consider a scheduled data sync between Dataverse and an ERP system. When updates to similar data points are made nearly concurrently in two systems, a well-defined conflict resolution protocol must be in place. These rules will determine which update should prevail, ensuring data integrity post-sync. The key to forming these standards is identifying a ‘system of record’ for different data types, a foundational decision guiding all subsequent conflict resolution processes.

7. How will integration processing errors be managed?

A streamlined approach for handling integration errors and failures is critical to ensure prompt action. This entails implementing comprehensive error logging to capture discrepancies as they occur, ensuring no detail is missed. Automated notifications are pivotal, alerting administrators to intervene when deviations occur.

Finally, having predefined resolution workflows in place means recognising an issue and providing a clear path to rectify it, ensuring minimal disruption.

Together, these mechanisms form a resilient foundation, enhancing data quality and ensuring consistency across systems, reflecting a commitment to maintaining integrity and reliability in your data-driven processes.

Microsoft Dataverse provides several mechanisms to manage and troubleshoot data integration errors. These include an admin dashboard providing a real-time view of integration project runs with colour-coded warnings. Email notifications can also be triggered if an integration process returns an error or warning.

8. What are your strategies to manage system change?

Comprehensive documentation underpins efficient integration change management and resilient processes. Detailed documentation will help new starters and everyone else navigate system changes to preserve your integration setup. Rigorous testing will vet adjustments for integration coherence and data integrity, preventing potential system hiccups.

Meanwhile, consistent communication with stakeholders keeps everyone aligned with the changes, ensuring a unified approach.

With this careful approach, you’ll find that subsequent modifications don’t just avoid disruptions but actively enhance your overall workflow and system capabilities.

Final Thoughts: Successful Power Platform Data Integration

Navigating data integration requires thoughtful planning and strategic decision-making. By addressing these essential questions, you’ll outline a roadmap tailored to your unique business needs to ensure your integration enables greater scale and efficiency.

Our integration experts offer practical advice and solutions that combine innovation and simplicity, helping you to achieve robust data integration.

Contact us today to discuss your requirements and let’s transform your data operations together.


March 26, 2024

Join our Mailing List

Stay updated with developments and insights across Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform.
Warren Butler

Warren Butler

Warren is the director of marketing at ServerSys. He brings over 20 years of experience covering business transformation, CRM and Microsoft Dynamics to help organisations grow by embracing technology.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with us at

Daniel Norris - Linkedin profile