Updated: Dec 7, 2020
CDM Solutions for Nonprofits
This post was created using speech-to-text AI.
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Hey everybody, it's Dan Lammot from threshold.world. Here we are again, talking about the Common Data Model for Nonprofits and the Dynamics365 nonprofit accelerator. This session is going to focus on the assessment module, which is part of the 3.0 release of the CDM and the accelerator. A little bit of background on this just before we jump in. The assessment model came together through a broad sector collaboration that Microsoft stewarded with organizations that principally were focused on disaster response and the idea that if they were able to share data more readily immediately following sudden onset disasters, they'd be able to improve the outcomes and those operational theaters.
00:00:43:15 - 00:01:20:01
So it is really exciting to have an opportunity to be a spectator and contributor to that project and really grateful that we got a chance to weigh in on it. So today we're going to take a look at the output of that effort, which is this assessment module. So as is always the case, you can get this by going to Microsoft Docs to Dynamic's 365 nonprofit accelerator and all all of the assets and resources are available on that site. And then the one we're going to look at today is the nonprofit reference guide, which is a document that's listed in the GitHub repo for the Dynamics 365 nonprofit accelerator version 3.0.
00:01:21:02 - 00:01:55:12
So when you get into this diagram, this is what you'll see, you're going to see three different colored entities, you're going to see the gray ones which come with Common Data Service out of the box, the blue ones, which represent common data model for nonprofit entities that already exist in prior releases, and the yellow ones, which are new with a 3.0 release that in this case represent the assessment model. So there's two really kind of key parts to this model. You know, one is the the actual idea of assessments and how those assessments are organized, characterized, articulated and so forth.
00:01:55:14 - 00:02:29:01
And that's on the left hand side. And then on the right hand side is a schema that represents this idea of interoperability between differential operating platforms in an operating theatre. Why is that important? It's important because when you have a variety of different actors in a in a scenario like a disaster, they have their own models and their own value systems for categorizing different assessments or observations. And so the important thing is being able to speak with each other about what those values are.
00:02:29:03 - 00:03:11:03
So let's say, for example, there's been a hurricane and you have two different organizations that have shown up right afterwards and they're doing assessments of the damage to try to help mobilize the right resources to save lives and help people deal with this terrible situation. One of those organizations might characterize damage on a ten point scale and the other one might use scale that goes from A to F. And if they're both doing that with their own operating platforms and there isn't a translation capability between one to 10 and A to F, then they're going to have a hard time knowing what the damage assessments are on those different locations that they're assessing, which would ultimately slow down their ability to cooperate in that environment, which is exactly what this model's intended to try to overcome.
00:03:12:01 - 00:03:46:24
So this right side on the schema gives you the ability to establish standards and then specifications within those standards and then create code lists, ranges of acceptable values and specific units of measure for any type of assessment model that you might want to incorporate. This could be for damage assessments, for water quality monitoring, for spatial representation, et cetera. And it gives you, you know, a standard set of tables, fields that enable that interoperability between differential operating platforms that can be mapped together.
00:03:47:06 - 00:04:23:08
So it's a highly structured schema that allows you to be able to put that data into the application while at the same time track backward versions of those different applications and specifications as well. So I encourage you to dig into the details of that and also perhaps test it out with things like FEMA's damage classification here in the United States or the American Red Cross, for that matter, or maybe, you know, the UN's capabilities as well. And then on the left hand side, we have this span that runs from operation down to variable, and I want to talk about each of these entities because each of them has their own specific purpose.
00:04:23:21 - 00:05:03:18
Operation is linked to account and contact, and that represents like the overall effort that's taking place in a specific place at a particular point in time. Think of this as maybe like the Hurricane Katrina response effort for a particular organization or maybe a tsunami relief effort that has taken place in a few places around the world in the not too distant past. So think of that as the umbrella where everything is ultimately group back together. You can see that operations is linked up to the delivery framework entity from prior releases, and that allows you to have an operation that's specifically associated with a programmatic activity of the organization.
00:05:04:02 - 00:05:35:06
Now, it's not displayed on this diagram, but you know that the whole results framework all the way down to indicator measurements is tied up to that delivery framework. So you can actually execute an operation associated with a particular activity and track all of the outputs and outcomes and impacts that are associated with that, which is a really unique capability that's been combined here in the model. Underneath the operation, you get assessments and assessments could be small, localized assessment, but it could also be like a countrywide damage assessment, for example.
00:05:36:01 - 00:06:08:22
And ultimately, the idea and the interaction between the operation assessment is to aggregate all the details that help support decisions that need to be made at a point in time for a specific location. So the assessment is like that key aggregation point of the next entity, which are the observations that are made. Now, this is when we start to get back towards the schema that I mentioned earlier on. So an observation you can see with the fields that are displayed below is kind of the really the key entity that's part of this model.
00:06:08:24 - 00:06:39:21
Right. And observation has a type of subtype. It's got data collected, dates and times, start dates and ends and times. And then it has this series of eight fields that are really the crux of this model. It has the need, what's been reached, the targeted and the unmet need. And the idea behind those four things is that you can say we observe a specific need. Right. We have reached a particular amount of that need we see are remaining unmet need.
00:06:39:24 - 00:07:11:09
Right. And then we can also see what we're actually targeting. And if you combine those four things together. Right, like what you see is the need, what you've actually reached, what you're targeting to complete and what is then going to be left unmet. That unmet need, if you're sharing this data with other organizations, can be the thing that other people go and fulfill to try to ensure that the constituents, ecosystems and so forth that are observed in this context are able to receive the services and so forth that they need at that point in time.
00:07:11:11 - 00:07:43:18
So that's really a special part of this model, in my view. And then that observed variable and the variable itself set out the specific things that are observed. That could be that there's a flood, right. That could be that there was a fire. That could be that there was a damaged structure, like a bridge, a home, et cetera. And so the variables as established by the schema that we mentioned give you that specific context. Now, the observed variable is actually the linking entity between the observation and the variable.
00:07:44:04 - 00:08:16:20
And the idea there is that you can have as many variables as you want or need in a specific observation to ensure that you're getting the full context of that need reached, targeted and unmet need. So that's the assessment model. I hope this has been a good review. And if you want to be able to download this application and version 3.0, the CDM and Accelerator head on over to App Source and the Dynamics 365 nonprofit accelerator, either get it now or do a test drive and go to the assessment app and you'll be able to check it out.
00:08:17:09 - 00:08:47:12
One final thing I wanted to show you. This past summer, we had a gentleman named Spencer Berg that we worked with, and he's a college student that had no prior experience building Microsoft Power Apps. And the task that we asked Spencer to take a look at was if we just give you this assessment model. Right. And then we share with you some context about the types of scenarios that operating organizations experience when they're trying to go out and meet needs in these difficult circumstances.
00:08:48:00 - 00:09:25:21
Could you build that in a couple of weeks that might actually be able to fulfill those needs? And so this is what Spencer came up with. He called it Relief.World, a project by Threshold's World. And it's a Microsoft Power app that runs on top of the common data model for nonprofits and the Common Data Service. Here's just a little bit of the application includes. So when you log in and imagine this is happening on a mobile device. I just enter the application, and within that I can go and search across all the different entities and I can see the operations, the assessments, the observations, the variables, locations and so on and so forth.
00:09:26:06 - 00:09:59:02
In this case, if I look at this example of flooding in New York City, that's part of a damage assessment. I can tap in through that flooding and I can actually see that there was a damage assessment made at a particular point in time at a particular location that it's associated to an individual variable and ultimately be able to get a really clear picture of what's going on inside of this assessment. It's a fully mobile enabled application. It's geo-aware because it's able to take advantage of the capabilities of the power APS framework within Microsoft.
00:09:59:18 - 00:10:13:23
We're really proud to see Spencer build this application, and I would love to see it help some operating organizations out there trying to make people's lives a little better in these difficult circumstances. That's it for the assessment module. And look forward to talking to you soon.