Nicholas Leuthold, Solution Architect
Creating smarter analytics for better business insights
D365 Customer Insights (CI) is split into two apps accessible by the same URL: Audience insights and Engagement Insights.
- Audience Insights provides a 360-degree view of customer data.
- Engagement Insights (formerly Product Insights) provides analytics from customer engagement channels and IoT-connected products.
In the Dynamics 365 release wave 1, multiple updates focused on making these two products feel more seamless for both the end users and IT professionals. Upcoming features will help IT administrators manage their data storage and integration to Azure Synapse for the entire Customer Insights platform (Audience and engagement Insights).
D365 CI Data Storage
Microsoft’s D365 wave 1 2021 release includes two new features that will improve how Engagement Insights stores its application data. The first feature extends support to storing the Engagement Insights data as part of the Customer Insights managed data lake. This means that both Audience and Engagement Insights can use the same out-of-the-box storage location.
The second feature extends support to storing Engagement Insights data within the same Azure Data Lake that stores Audience Insights data. This adds value by reducing the complexity of where your data is stored for the Customer Insights applications.
Customer Insights has another new pair of features in the D365 wave 1 release that focus on integration to Azure Synapse for more performant input and output of data.
- Ingesting Dataverse data into CI can now leverage the compute power of Azure Synapse to increase performance.
- Exporting data from CI can be pushed directly to Azure Synapse.
Both features will save IT administrators time with ingesting data into D365 CI and reduce complexity in how CI data is brought into Azure Synapse.
Ingesting millions of Dataverse records into Customer Insights is a simple process until it crawls at execution using Power Query data flows. Microsoft is improving this experience with a new Data Lake connector that will significantly enhance the performance of ingesting Dataverse data. The connector uses Azure Synapse to handle the extract, transform, and load (ETL) process.
Synapse provides the scalability required to handle the millions of records that are computed as part of the ETL process. The additional scalability and compute power of Synapse handling the ETL process translates to reduced time to bring Dataverse data into D365 CI. It's important to note that this is a Data Lake connector. The feature will only support the use case of those who are exporting Dataverse data to a Data Lake, and it will not support a direct connection to the Dataverse.
Customer Insights is also adding Azure Synapse as a direct export destination. IT administrators who use Azure Synapse for their data warehouse will see a simplified process to get CI data into the data warehouse. Currently, CI can export to Azure Blob Storage or Azure Data Lake. This process can add an extra step in bringing CI data to your data warehouse model by requiring IT to ETL the data out of Blob or Data Lake storage. Having a direct connection to export CI data to Azure Synapse relieves the burden of needing an extra ETL process or the additional overhead for data storage.
Other D365 Wave 1 Resources
The D365 2021 release wave 1 plan is packed full of tools that IT leaders and system administrators will need to have on their radars. Learn more about the important features in this release:
Power Platform: Includes new features that tracks a rich set of metadata across all apps and flows within your organization’s tenant.
Updates for IT Leaders: New tools to improve performance and scalability while optimizing development times
Key Features for Supply Chain Leaders: Boosting inventory visibility and expanding warehouse management and transportation functionality
What's Next for Finance Leaders: Providing better insights into operations, more automated functions, and machine learning capabilities