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Enabling Virtual Entities in Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations Using Power Automate

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In the ever-evolving landscape of business technology, automation has become the cornerstone of efficiency and productivity. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations is at the forefront of this movement, offering robust solutions to streamline processes and drive organizational success. One powerful feature within Dynamics 365 is Virtual Entities, which allow users to interact with external data seamlessly within the application interface. In this blog post, we’ll delve into how to enable Virtual Entities in Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations using Power Automate.

What are Virtual Entities?

Virtual Entities are lightweight representations of data from business systems that are made accessible from a Dataverse environment. They provide a way for applications connected to Dataverse to view and interact with data from external systems such as relational databases, web services, or custom connectors. F&O customers can bring their ERP solution together with Power Platform by enabling virtual entities on key F&O data, making this data available in Dataverse.

Why Enable Virtual Entities?

Enabling Virtual Entities offers several advantages:

  1. Real-Time Data Access: Virtual Entities allow users to access and interact with real-time data from external systems without the need for manual data entry or synchronization.
  2. Streamlined Processes: By integrating external data seamlessly into Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, Virtual Entities streamline processes and improve overall efficiency.
  3. Enhanced Decision Making: Access to a wider range of data sources enables better-informed decision-making within the organization.

Enabling Virtual Entities Using Power Automate

Power Automate, Microsoft’s cloud-based automation platform, provides a straightforward method for enabling Virtual Entities in Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations. In the following example, we will look at how to create a flow to enable specific Virtual Entities from F&O. In the case below, we are querying for employee-related entities and telling Dataverse to make them available as Virtual Entities. Here’s how to do it:

Conclusion:

  1. Set up Power Automate: Ensure you have access to Power Automate and have the necessary permissions to create flows.
  2. Create a New Flow: In Power Automate, create a new flow and select the appropriate trigger based on your requirements. This trigger could be a scheduled recurrence, an event-based trigger, or a manual trigger, depending on when you want the data to be updated in Dynamics 365.
  3. Connect to Data Source: Add a new action to connect to the external data source from which you want to retrieve data. This could be a FinOps, or a Dataverse connector.
  4. List rows: You can use List rows from Dataverse connector.
    • Select columns – Enter a comma-separated list of columns to return, such as “mserp_physicalname, mserp_hasbeengenerated ” for the Available Finance and Operations Entity table.

    • Filter rows – Use to define an OData-style filter expression to narrow down the set of rows that Dataverse returns, such as “contains(mserp_physicalname,’HcmEmployee’)”. This will only list two entities, but you can do all do for all. If you do all, your power automate can run for longer time. It is better to put some filter condition. 

    • Sort by – Use to define an OData-style expression that defines the order in which items are returned, such as “name desc”. Use the asc or desc suffix to indicate ascending or descending order, respectively. The default order is ascending.

  5. Make Virtual Entity records: Add an action to Update a row Virtual Entity record in Power Automate. Map the fields Visible to Yes and Refresh to Yes (Optional).                                                                Table Name: Available Finance and Operation Entities
    Event: Dataverse – Update a row.
    Row ID: Use the previous step from the list rows.
    Name: This can be blank because we selected the Row Id. This will take all entities in a loop based on selection in the previous step.
    Change Tracking: It is optional. 
    Refresh: Select Yes to refresh the entities
    Visible: Select Yes to make an entity available in Power Platform
  6. Your Power Automate flow will look like the diagram below, where the loop takes an update action on each Virtual Entity.Enabling Virtual Entities in Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations Using Power Automate
  7. Test and Publish: Test the flow to ensure it functions as expected, then publish it to make it available for use in Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations.

Enabling Virtual Entities in Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations using Power Automate opens up a world of possibilities for integrating external data seamlessly into your business processes. By leveraging the power of automation, organizations can streamline operations, make more informed decisions, and drive greater efficiency. With the step-by-step guide outlined above, you can easily harness the full potential of Virtual Entities and unleash the true power of Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations.

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