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We are living in a world of data. Some of the world’s largest companies operate business models based on data collected from Google, Facebook and other sources. When a business grows to a certain size, it will reach the point where customer interactions happen simultaneously across various platforms. Gathering all the information from different interactions can be costly, as not all platforms store data the same way.

That’s where Dynamics 365 for Customer Insights comes into play. Customer insights is an Azure-based service that collects data from various endpoints and creates actionable insights.

 

How does Dynamics 365 Customer Insights work?

Customer Insights has a simple way of organizing data. At the highest level, data is divided into two main categories:

  • Profiles: These represent a business resource of interest (like customers, account, or products).
  • Interactions: These are the activities and communication (like surveys).

Choose the data source

As mentioned earlier, Customer Insights is not a place to store data (unlike Dynamics 365 for Sales or Customer Service or other apps). Instead, it serves as a hub where data is gathered from all the connected data sources. At this step, you need to choose which ‘entities’ are profiles and which are just interactions.

Define KPIs

Key performance indicators (KPIs) represent a way to measure a company’s success against predefined objectives, and can be set up with data imported in Customer Insights. Customer Insights makes sure your data is refreshed every 15 minutes to keep all the information displayed in sync and up to date.

Create visualizations

With Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, you can gather all the profile information under one dashboard enabling you to view all the customer engagements at-a-glance. Data is presented in well-structured charts for easy business analysis.

 

How does Dynamics 365 Customer Insights help your business?

Having information and not being able to find it when you need it is like not having it at all. It is true that software systems are helping businesses engage better with their customers and now have more personalized interactions, but the more the number of systems increases, the harder it is to have a quick 360-degree view of the customer. That’s a problem Dynamics 365 for Customer Insights can solve.

Tracking KPIs

Customer Insights can define multiple KPIs and track targets for your customers. It groups all your customer’s data under their profile, making it a lot easier to track progress and pinpoint any gaps or problems.

Customer 360

Using multiple systems for different purposes can leave your data scattered around different databases making it hard to search for a specific interaction from a point in time. Customer Insight’s power shows you the whole customer journey and can help you predict their needs and enhance your future engagements.

Predictive scoring

Using advanced Azure machine learning technologies, Customer Insights can provide data-driven predictions to help you predict any business outcome. Graded business predictions can help you further integrate and automate the business process.

Segmentation

Target your messages to the right audience using data history and the full customer journey.

Elastic scale

Customer Insights automatically scales from the data provided, so no need to worry about low capacity. A maximum scale can be set to put a limit on consumption.

 

What are the limitations of Dynamics 365 Customer Insights?

Azure subscription

As Customer Insights is an Azure service, to set it up one needs an Azure subscription. This can be inconvenient for some businesses using other cloud platforms.

Data sources supported

At the moment, not many data sources have support out of the box (at the time of writing, the following data sources are supported: CSV files on Azure storage, Dynamics 365 online instance, and Hub Data REST APIs). For a tool advertised to use data from all your existing systems, this can be a bit disappointing. But if history tells us anything, we are sure that Microsoft will be providing connectors to the most popular data systems soon.

Setup steps

To be honest, setting up Customer Insights is not as straightforward as one might wish. It’s not rocket science of course, but it demands many steps that could drive some businesses away.

KPIs processing

Tracking KPIs is one of the biggest selling points of Customer Insights, and we must say that it’s handled well. The only limitation at the moment is processing old data for KPIs. Currently, KPI processing starts the minute it is defined, ignoring any KPI values that were not computed before that.

 

Grow your Dynamics 365 business with the right partner

Technology’s primary purpose is to make our lives easier by solving real-life problems. So far, we can’t complain. The industry has been moving at an incredible pace. With every technology advancement, businesses are managing to cut costs, reduce time and increase profits.

Of course, nothing is perfect. We currently have different systems for everything. Most company’s departments have their data stored in some system (like sales, marketing, accounting or invoices). While all this facilitates daily usage and gets the job done, it makes it difficult to get all your customer’s information in one place. Customer Insights is Microsoft’s answer to this problem, and it does it well. Let’s watch for upcoming updates and hope it gets more support for different data source types.

Looking for guidance on how to grow your Dynamics 365 business? Explore Sherweb’s Partner Guide to see how we help MSPs achieve their goals.

Written by The Sherweb Team Collaborators @ Sherweb

As a value-added cloud solutions provider, Sherweb is dedicated to providing more for its partners, direct customers and extended network. The Sherweb Blog is just one example of how we make this happen, and our team members frequently collaborate on content to ensure it's as beneficial as possible for our readers. If you like what you see here, we strongly encourage you to subscribe!