Ever since organizations across the globe started adopting Teams to support their remote work during the ongoing crisis, Microsoft has reinforced its plans to add more capabilities to Microsoft Teams so that it could become a way forward to address the challenging business needs. Thanks to Microsoft, organizations will now be able to build business applications, automate Teams processes and create chat bots without having to pay extra for Power Platform licensing with the new Microsoft Dataflex which comes free of cost with Teams Licensing.
Microsoft Dataflex is a simplified version of CDS specifically built for Microsoft Teams to allow users to build apps, flows and bots using Power Platform within Microsoft Teams. In addition, Microsoft Dataflex gives the ability to package all apps, flows and bots, and deploy to the Teams store. In other words, Microsoft Dataflex offers a fully integrated experience for Teams users to build and deploy apps, flows and bots seamlessly.
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Though one can argue why Dataflex when you can build Power Apps with SharePoint database inside Teams, the fact is that SharePoint is not a relational database like SQL and CDS. Thus, Dataflex assumes significance as it provides relational database, rich data types, enterprise grade governance and one-click deployment. Also, Dataflex in Teams offers out of the box responsiveness which is otherwise a painstaking task when you build a standalone power app. To top it all, Microsoft Dataflex provides the ability to use Model-Driven Apps in Teams at no extra costs.
However, it is important to note that since Dataflex is a lightweight CDS it doesn’t support custom connectors and other Web API services for which you need to separately buy CDS license. Also, apps and bots built in Teams will not open in Power Apps Portal or Mobile App and cannot be embedded in SharePoint as it is solely built for Teams Desktop and Teams Mobile App.