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Virtual Entities

  • 1.  Virtual Entities

    TOP CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted Mar 05, 2020 10:37 AM
    Hello -

    I am curious to know how folks are using virtual entities in real life.  Each time I come a cross a use case where I think "maybe we could use virtual entities for this", I go an look at the information on Virtual Entities and at least one of the limitations is a deal breaker.

    Since reading the Microsoft documentation isn't sparking any ideas where we could gain value from using them, I thought I'd reach out to the community to see how others have actually implemented the use of virtual entities and gained value.

    THanks!
    Jill

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    Jill Vazquez
    Technical Specialist - CRM
    Bioventus, LLC
    Durham NC
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    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 2.  RE: Virtual Entities

    GOLD CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted Mar 06, 2020 10:49 AM
    We use virtual entities for 3 different use cases and love it.  We have a few data intensive entities, and it's nice to store and manipulate the data outside of D365 (Online).  Some of these are more easily maintained in a local SQL db, or in the source system.

    1) Open invoices - our sales staff does some collections, and can access a virtual entity that shows the invoices a customer has not paid yet.  The data comes from a SQL view in our ERP system, so is always real-time, and the sales staff has no need to edit. We also considered using this for account aging buckets, but virtual entities weren't available at the time so we already have a synchronizing integration.

    2) Leads / Reference DB - We have a third party database of accounts that we reference for validity, and occasionally mine for prospects.  It's easier to refresh from a new version in SQL, and no need to update the source data.

    3) External documents - Our back end ERP collects bills of lading from service provider vendors for each job that we do.  We're able to use the virtual entity to allow our field staff to access all the document images (and data) associated with a vendor, a job, or a customer account.  All in real time without having to pay for additional CRM storage or deal with synchronization.

    I would say that any time you are considering a synchronization strategy, you should take a look at virtual entities.

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    Jeff Woodard
    Chief Technical Officer
    Transportation Financial Services, Inc.
    West Palm Beach FL
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    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 3.  RE: Virtual Entities

    MICROSOFT MVP
    Posted Mar 06, 2020 04:47 PM
    Hi Jill, we're using a virtual entity for "interactions". An interaction is every touchpoint we have with a customer. When they call us, when the receive a quote, when they open the quote, when they purchase a policy, amend a policy, are identified in branch or by the contact centre, update their preferences, update their details, log on to our website, change address, receive a marketing communication, get sent a text message, and hundreds more.

    We store some interactions as activities and users can see those in the timeline, but we delete them after 90 days because of the storage costs. We have 4 million customers and billions of interactions. Virtual entity storage (Azure SQL) is much cheaper than CDS storage.

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    Neil Benson, MVP
    Customery
    Brisbane, QLD, Australia
    Take my free mini-course Agile Foundations for Microsoft Business Apps https://customery.com/foundations
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 4.  RE: Virtual Entities

    SILVER CONTRIBUTOR
    Posted Mar 09, 2020 06:15 AM
    Neil,

    Your approach to "Interactions" is very intriguing.  I would love to hear more details on this.  Have you written a blog on this?

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    Casey Wood-Inskeep
    Sr. Project Manager
    Christian Broadcasting Network
    VA Beach, VA
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    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


  • 5.  RE: Virtual Entities

    MICROSOFT MVP
    Posted Mar 10, 2020 02:18 AM
    Hi Casey, I am encouraging my team to blog about the cool stuff we've built while simultaneously challenging them to keep building more and more cool stuff. Once we're done with our next production deployment, we should have some time to turn our internal technical documentation into community blog articles.

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    Neil Benson, MVP
    Customery
    Brisbane, QLD, Australia
    Take my free mini-course Agile Foundations for Microsoft Business Apps https://customery.com/foundations
    ------------------------------

    Academy - Online Interactive Learning from Experts


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