Customer Engagement & Dynamics CRM Forum

Expand all | Collapse all

Has anyone actually implemented Virtual Entities in their enterprise?

  • 1.  Has anyone actually implemented Virtual Entities in their enterprise?

    Posted Feb 06, 2019 11:22 AM
    Good Afternoon,

    I am just reaching out to see if anyone has successfully implemented Virtual Entities? Road blocks? issues ? Level of Effort required? We are trying to implement some version of this for our company and would want some level of guidance before heading down this wrong.

    ------------------------------
    Stephen Danquah
    Programmer Analyst
    Motorists Insurance Group
    Columbus OH
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Has anyone actually implemented Virtual Entities in their enterprise?

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted Feb 07, 2019 05:34 AM
    What would a slimmed down custom form not give you?
    Easy to access etc.
    Exec can update.
    What am I missing?

    ------------------------------
    Donal McCarthy
    BrightWork
    Galway
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Has anyone actually implemented Virtual Entities in their enterprise?

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted Feb 08, 2019 04:34 PM
    I don't understand how a custom form is a replacement for a Virtual Entity.  The idea with a Virtual Entity is that the data is not housed in CRM, but elsewhere, isn't it?

    We haven't implemented these yet either, but have a couple of potential use cases in the back of our minds for when we get some time to investigate.  Curious to see people's experiences with them as well.

    ------------------------------
    Allison Walters
    IT Coordinator
    Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology
    Calgary AB
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Has anyone actually implemented Virtual Entities in their enterprise?

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted Feb 08, 2019 04:57 PM
    We've just started to look at this as a means of accessing data on our legacy transactions system in real time. Give us a week or 2 and I will let you know how the work/fighting is going!

    Regards,
    Kevin

    ------------------------------
    Kevin Harrington
    CRM Product Manager
    Universtiy College Cork
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Has anyone actually implemented Virtual Entities in their enterprise?

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted Feb 09, 2019 12:53 PM
    Apologies, this was in response to another question. Not sure how it ended up in this thread.

    Thanks,
    Donal
    ------------------------
    Sent from my phone
    Please excuse brevity and typos


    Donal McCarthy
    Digital Marketing Administrator | BrightWork
    +353 91412476
    e: dmccarthy@brightwork.com






  • 6.  RE: Has anyone actually implemented Virtual Entities in their enterprise?

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted Feb 11, 2019 09:53 AM
    We implemented them in D365 CE Online shortly after they were first released.  It took us a few weeks to get it implemented initially due mostly to glitches with the original release that required a few server side updates before it worked properly.

    It's a great way to access external information without loading into CRM and dealing with integrations, synchronizations, and various record states. We currently have 2 primary use cases:

    1) For outstanding invoices from our ERP - We use a separate ERP system (Dynamics GP), that we don't currently integrate all invoices with CRM.  Our field personnel, however, do need to see any unpaid invoices through CRM.  We created a SQL View in the ERP database to show any unpaid invoices, and expose that in CRM as a virtual entity.  Now the field folks can see all of the outstanding invoices exactly when they are updated in the ERP - no timing delays when payments are applied, it's instantaneous whenever the query is made.

    2) We have a several million record database of marketing contacts that comes from an outside source. We store and update that in a local SQL database, and expose that to CRM as a virtual entity.  We get updates as full file replacements, so instead of trying to manage updating the records in CRM, and deleting CRM records that weren't in the new file, we just delete the local SQL DB and replace with the new one. We save on storage space here, but lose a little bit in marketing flexibility with some of the OOB entity relationships, but these are not key factors for us.

    So far, it's been performing quite well, but make sure you pay attention to security best practices when setting it up, as you are putting your data on a URL, and also make sure you have a dependable and fast internet connection wherever you plan on hosting your virtual entity data.

    ------------------------------
    Jeff Woodard
    Chief Technical Officer
    Transportation Financial Services, Inc.
    West Palm Beach FL
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Has anyone actually implemented Virtual Entities in their enterprise?

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted Feb 12, 2019 06:23 AM
    Hi Stephen, I'm implementing Dynamics 365 for the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (assistance, insurance & banking services provider). We have 1 billion 'engagement' records in our legacy system that describe interactions with our members over the last ten years. That's a terabyte of low value, historical data. It's growing but doesn't change. It's occasionally useful for our consultants to be able to see the last time a member logged in online, or added a policy to their cart, or made a claim, etc.

    In moving to Dynamics we've decided to store none of those engagements in the CDS database. We're using an Azure SQL database, a custom API layer and virtual entities to present the data in Dynamics 365 to our consultants (who don't even know the data isn't in CE). We copy all activities and some audit data to the Azure SQL database using a plugin that fires to Azure Service Bus where an Azure function ingests it into the Azure SQL database. Lots of other line-of-business systems throw their engagements onto the queue as well.

    Quite a bit of engineering to get it working. It'll save us $1m/year in CDS storage costs.

    ------------------------------
    Neil Benson, MVP
    Customery
    Brisbane, QLD, Australia
    https://customery.com/blog
    ------------------------------



If you've found this thread useful, dive deeper into User Group community content by role