The essential aspect of working with Dynamic 365 Finance and Operations is the ability to load data into the system for convenient storage and thorough management of various business-important assets. New files can be easily uploaded into previously created data import projects. For this, Data Management Workspace is used where you can flexibly adjust data entities in order to smooth out the operation of your database. Turning to specialized professionals, in this case, is a great choice, but there are scenarios where you may as well handle proper data management by yourself. Let’s take a look at the specifics of loading data into D365FO environments and figure out how to do it in practice.
What are Data Entities?
In a nutshell, data entities act as mediums for data loading in Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations. They are abstracted, denormalized representations of data tables that enable user access across multiple security and business logic layers. DMF or data management framework is the definition of the whole process of collecting and accessing data entities. DMF is the ultimate way to manage data exporting and importing routines without any necessary expert skills and knowledge. The main practical nuance here is heeding the type of data being loaded from the source data system. The structure, format, and validation method are completely different there. For instance, supported import file formats include .csv, .zip, .txt, .xml, and .xlsx. Keeping this in line should be among the initial efforts in the whole thing. There are two fundamental ways of employing data entities for managed data loading. Let’s take a look at and figure out each separately.
Load Data Using Data Management Workspace
This is a direct way to import data via a template Excel file that triggers entities to import data in the most straightforward manner. The main benefit of this approach is the simplicity – any user can handle data management via the data management workspace without any required tech-savviness. You can simply create a record, adjust the data fields it holds as needed, and export it. Here’s how you do it step by step.
Build your template
Once you have a proper file with assets that need to be imported, you can start configuring its export/import routine through the default D365FO data management interface. For this:
- Open the menu tab on the left and select System Administration;
- In the opened screen, select Workspaces and expand the Data Management section;
- Click on the Export tile in the opened interface;
- Specify the name of your entity in the Group name field based on the type of data to be imported/exported;
- Click on Add entity;
- Specify the Entity name;
- Pick Excel in the Target data format;
- Tick off the Skip staging option;
- Click Add at the bottom;
- Click Export in the upper menu to set off the export;
- Now, to download the data package, click Download package in the upper menu;
- Now view and open your prepared Excel file.
Your template is created and ready for upload to D365FO. You can see it in the list of exported entities with all its descriptions. If you need to multiply it, just populate the fields and save the populated file in an Excel format in the local storage.
Upload your template
You can now conveniently upload the created template into your D365FO environment. For this:
- Go to the System Administration section in the main menu, navigate to Workspaces -> Data management;
- Now, pick the Import tile;
- The most standard way to specify the Group name here is to add import to the name of your entity – for instance, specify Security Import if your entity is named “security”;
- Click Add file;
- Select the required entity;
- Select Excel in the Target data format section;
- Click Upload and add;
- Now pick your template and click Import in the upper menu;
All these manipulations should be pretty easy to handle. However, users may face some major challenges that you should know how to overcome. These include:
- Non-compliances between lookup values in source files and master data of D365FO – these can easily lead to inappropriate loading or duplication of data;
- Text formatting – when filling out templates heed formatting signs such as “;” quotation marks, spaces as decimal separators, etc. that can be recognized as reserved characters during the import. It’s easy to leave such signs in while fixing the resulting errors may take much time;
- Other possible errors – a variety of errors may appear in the process, which you can view and analyze by clicking View staging data, such errors can be solved through a variety of minor and major efforts depending on a specific case.
Use Excel Add-In
The second essential way to employ data entities for subsequent data loading purposes is to import data via a specialized Excel add-in which helps build connections to data entities and load the required data through Microsoft Excel. This is the alternative method that you can choose based only on your project specifics.
Excel add-in overview
Some people may find it much more convenient to manage data import/export routines in the D365FO environment using good old Excel exclusively. The program is used throughout the process anyway so why not narrow down all data loading manipulations to the interconnected Excel interface. This method only slightly differs from the above-mentioned route.
Using Excel add-in
In order to adjust the entities-powered data uploading routine via Excel add-in, here’s what you should do step by step:
- If, suppose, you previously created and prepared the Vendors entity source file, open the section titled Accounts payable, click Vendors, and then All Vendors;
- Then, find the Microsoft Office symbol in the right-most upper corner and click on it;
- Click Open in Excel and pick the required entity;
- This will trigger the Download button and you will need to click Open to find and open your file;
- After that, click Enable content for all data to begin transitioning into the document.
In this interface, you will be able to view manual representations of your entities. You can manually copy the needed entity row and paste it at the sheet’s end if you want to edit their description info (names, numbers, addresses, and other such data). Once everything is set, simply click Publish and watch your new record load. The uploaded record should now be viewable in the list of vendors (Accounts Payable -> Vendors -> All Vendors).
Read further: Advanced Reporting in MS Dynamics AX/365: Excel and SSRS
The whole process of preparing data entities for subsequent data management routines in D365FO environments is pretty simple to grasp by a wide range of users – just follow the guide above in order to adjust data loading through entities in two major ways depending on your preferences and selected data management tools. If you need a more in-depth approach though, the best option would be to turn to specialized professionals. Contact our team of experienced Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations specialists for high-quality assistance in smooth data management.
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