Oct 11, 2018

Relationship Insights in Dynamics 365

It is interesting to see how intelligent components come in to play in Dynamics 365. Let’s have a look at Relationship Insights which is a key set of features within Embedded Intelligence suite. Embedded Intelligence suite analyses Dynamics 365 Data as well as Microsoft Exchange database to produce constructive insights to understand relationships through behavior of relationships.

As illustrated, Relationship Insights consist of three separate solutions; namely Relationship Assistant, Email Engagement and Auto Capture. Let’s have a close look at each and how they help end user. (Note: Sales Insights Add-on is not discussed in this post)

Enable Embedded Intelligence

Go to Settings > Intelligence Configuration and enable EI by Accepting the Privacy note.

It is important to understand that features we are going to work with would track behavior and collect data about clients. In fact, you got to be careful in making sure you are not violating privacy policies of the organization.
Let’s have a quick look on three separate Solutions provided by Relationship Insight.

A. Relationship Assistant 

As illustrated in first diagram, Relationship Assistant require configuration of Action Cards. An Action Card represents one reminder tile user will be shown. They are categorized as Base Cards and Advance Cards. Advance Cards are further sub-categorized.

One example of an Action Card would be a No Activity about an Opportunity for last 30 days. Also, it can be as simple as a reminder for an important meeting. These Cards are globally enabled by Administrator through the Embedded Intelligence configuration page, but Users can re-configure from personal level based on their choice.

As per the configuration, Cards are shown timely in the front end so that User is helped in taking necessary steps. 

For example, above two Cards are to remind a Phone Call and Appointment scheduled for today. Please notice different actions provided in each Card based on type. For Appointment, its handy to have the option to Email all the attendees at once or modify the Appointment.  

B. Email Engagement

As soon as Email Engagement is enabled, User can use below list of rich features, otherwise possible only through third party add-ons such as ClickDimensions. 

  • Review the full interaction history of the message.
  • See when recipients opened your message, clicked a link, opened an attachment, or sent a reply.
  • Receive an alert right away, the first time a recipient opens your message.
  • Schedule the most effective delivery time and receive advice for the best time based on the recipient's time zone.
  • Choose the most effective message template, with recommendations based on your organization's previous email interaction history.
  • Set an alert to remind you when it's time to follow up on an email message.

C. Auto Capture

Auto Capture feature access your Microsoft Exchange (Server-Side sync should have been configured) and display Emails those are not necessarily Tracked in Dynamics 365, but likely to be related to important types like Opportunity, Lead etc. 

Please check below screen shot of the Activities Tab which shows list of Emails including one un-tracked Email. This Email subject is same as one of the Opportunity’s topic in the System. In fact, Auto Capture suggest this Email could be related to that opportunity. So, it states clearly that item is not Tracked, but has provided the option to Track. Once Track is clicked, it will create related record in Dynamics 365 which is visible to all. Importantly, till then, it is only visible to the owner of the record to decide whether to Track or Not.

As other features explained here, this feature too needs to be globally enabled first by the administrator. Yet, individual users can switch on/off in user level. 

In summary, Embedded Intelligence is a promising futuristic approach to improve user-friendliness and enhance functionalities through insights in Dynamics 365. Relationship Insight, at this early stage, already highlights what value it can leverage to a day to day business activities through intelligent analysis of relationships.

Jul 19, 2018

Things to consider when resetting a Dynamics 365 instance

Resetting of a Dynamics 365 instance is not a big deal since we are helped to do that through the Admin panel. If you need to do it for Production instance, first you need to convert it to a Sandbox instance which is again not difficult.

This is a well-illustrated article on how to do it step-by-step.

Anyway, Resetting of an instance may be needed due to many reasons such as need for an vanilla instance, changing the region and base currency, getting rid of some customization and etc.

Anyway, depending on the case there are few more things to consider prior to resting which I though of mentioning.

1) Do you need some of the customisation to be installed after resetting ?

If we need some of the solutions to be imported after resetting, you of course need to take those back-ups. More than that I would suggest, importing it back to another similar vanilla environment first to check if it works and keep that environment as a back-up. 

So we have two back-ups; 
  • Solution File 
  • Another D365 instance with those customisation.

2) Do you need some of the reference data to be ready after resetting ?

Sometime creating some sample data could be time consuming. In such cases, its best to use Configuration Migration Tool to backup some of those data, to be imported after the reset.

Business Unit is one of the tricky entity you necessarily need to consider.

3) Do you need your existing Theme back ?

Keep in mind, Theme is not imported through Solutions, in fact, you need a plan on how to restore the Theme. Probably it could be manual work. (Though I haven't tried, I found this article on importing Themes.)

4) How it impacts Integration ?

Finally, just think of the impact on Integration, especially, if it depends on hard-coded unique identifiers of any records. (#2 assures reinstalling same Id's)