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Customer Insights for Dynamics 365 and Other Data Platforms

Different from traditional approaches for realizing a 360-degree view of the customer with a large amount of coding involved, Dynamics 365 Customer Insights (CI) is a finished SaaS solution that allows you to adopt an agile project management approach and deliver value in a matter of weeks.

By reading this blog, you will learn step-by-step how to set up, configure and use Dynamics 365 Customer Insights. To bring this to life, we are looking at a typical customer analytics project for our example company, Contoso Coffee.

We will introduce the business pain points, goals and high-priority use cases that Contoso has identified around their customer data initiative, and then realize a working prototype solution today.

Business Objective

Contoso wishes to own and build a meaningful, direct relationship with all consumers to deliver exceptional, personalized customer experience through relevant communications, personalized recommendations and services.


If your organization feels familiar with the Contoso issue, you are at the best place.

Dynamics 365 Customer Insights enables IT and Pro Users to complete:

Let's get to work. First we will need a test environment.

Our objectives are:

It is suggested that you create a Dynamics 365 Customer Service Trial via

Once this is complete, we suggest you add PowerApps, Flow, PowerBI and Customer Insights trials using the credentials provided.

When creating the Customer Insights trial, you must enter the information as follows:

customer insights

This should progress you to

If you’re prompted to create a new environment, provide a name and select the region into which you wish to deploy the service.

deploy the service

Data Ingestion

You will become familiar with ingesting data from multiple sources.

As a pro user for your company, you have already identified that key sources of data include, for example, eCommerce Customers, Online Purchases, in-store Point of Sales Purchases and data from the company Retail Loyalty Card scheme.

Although Customer Insights has connectors to 30+ data sources and applications (including Dynamics 365 & the Common Data Service for Apps). For this example, we will be using the ‘Text/CSV’ connector.

Data Unification

Having ingested the raw data from your data sources into ‘entities’ you will now begin the Map / Match / Merge process to create a single Unified Customer Profile by merging data from each customer profile source.

To do this you will first map your ingested entities against a standard model and select the Primary Key for each of your profiled entities. Following the completion of this, you will then create your ‘Match Rule’ that will be used to match datasource1 customers with datasource2 Customers.

Finally, running the ‘Merge’ process will create a single set of unique ‘Customers’ having matched profiles from both dataSources using your match rules.

Our objective is to find out how many unique customer profiles for our Microsoft Dynamics CRM Company have across dataSource1 and dataSource2 data.


Select the entities that represent the customer profile – dataSource1Contacts and DataSource2Contacts then click Done.

Click Back to Unify in the top left corner to return to the Map / Match / Merge page.

Match Order

We must select the order in which to merge the profiles. You will be able to merge attributes to ensure that the unified profiles are complete as well as the priority of which sources to use for those attributes.

match order

Create a Match Rule

Rules can consist of a single (e.g. based on ID) or multiple conditions (e.g. Full Name, Postcode, Date of Birth).

match order

Once the match process has completed, click the icon, to view a Match Preview of the match results and the Confidence Score as to how certain Customer Insights is that they are a match based on the rules you have defined.

match preview

Search for a Customer Record

Click Customers in the left menu bar. You should now be presented with a set of ‘Customer’ cards, representing the Unified Profiles.

customer insights

That is done!

Customer insights are a complete solution to unify customers. It allows us to use dozens of existing connectors such as CSV files, Excel, APIs, SQL, and non SQL databases, flow, oracle or others to access the data.

The query and table editor is the same as PowerBI for those who are familiar with the DAX language.

Microsoft plans to extend the model with Machine Learning in Azure to predict models and trends, such as buying or risk/fraud trends.

Hopefully, it is a platform that has arrived to grow and stay.

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