Microsoft Links Dynamics 365, Power BI for Deeper Customer Insights

A new Power BI connector enables users to visualize and explore customer data in new, potentially more informative ways.

Dynamics 365 Power BI Connection

Microsoft wants to make it easier for its Dynamics 365 customers to glean insights from their customers' business history by enlisting its cloud-based business intelligence and analytics service, Power BI.

The software maker released a new Power BI connector for its Dynamics 365 for Customer Insights (DCI), allowing businesses to turn raw customer data into informative charts and other visualizations. Also key to the new integration is the ability to distribute those data-driven findings to workforces.

"This allows combining the analytic power of DCI with data visualization and exploration capabilities of Power BI to get best of the both the worlds," explained Narinder Singh, a Microsoft Dynamics 365 principal program manager, in a blog post. "KPIs and profiles data can now be easily extracted into Power BI Desktop to build Power BI reports. These reports can then be shared with other users using the Power BI service."

Beyond standard-issue charts and graphs, the connector also allows users to explore their key performance indicators and other data using more sophisticated visualizations or overlay data points onto real-world maps. Instructions on getting started with the Power BI connector and an example report are available in this online support document.

Debuting last year, Dynamics 365 for Customer Insights provides businesses with multifaceted views of customers and their interactions using data derived from Microsoft's other business software products and third-party customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning (ERP), Internet of Things and social platforms. Last month, the company added a Predictive Scoring application, which uses machine learning to help users identify accounts that are likely to churn, agreements facing renewal and cases that may require escalation, among other potential outcomes.

For a better grasp of an organization's inner workings, Microsoft recently updated its ERP suite, Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Enterprise Edition (formerly Dynamics 365 for Operations). Now available with an on-premises deployment option, the product also embraces visually-rich analytics.

Dynamics 365 for Finance & Operations includes embedded analytics capabilities that are directly integrated into the product's work space, including an interface that allows users to drill down into their transactions. In total, the solution offers 15 built-in dashboards across a variety of functions.

Microsoft also teased a some of the new enhancements coming to all of the product's modules in the upcoming Fall Release 2017 update that are inspired by the more modern Cost Accounting module, the newly-streamlined methods of creating company configurations and other system-of-record improvements. For Dynamics AX 2012 users, Microsoft has updated the upgrade process with a focus on usage consistency and easing migrations.

Other recent changes include a sweeping revamp of the Dynamics 365 support and documentation site and schedule management updates for Dynamics 365 for Field Service and Dynamics 365 for Project Service Automation. And on Aug. 31, Microsoft is removing the trending documents feature provided by the Office Graph integration for Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement. As an alternative, the company suggests using the Document Suggestions feature to discover pertinent Office content.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...