By Richard Britton
April 10th, 2019

We’ve been using Dynamics365 For Marketing since it was launched in May 2018. Since then we’ve learned a huge amount about the strengths and weakness of the application. Dashboards and reporting are areas where the out-of-the-box capabilities are both strong and frustratingly weak.

Dashboards are likely the first thing you’ll see when you open the application. There are a bunch of built-in dashboards that come out-of-the-box – for example this is the OOTB Customer Journey Dashboard.

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These dashboards are great … if you want to see the number of journeys live, over time, by owner, etc. But – if you want to look at contact volumes, open rates, click-through rates, etc., you need to open the individual journey or email. And choose the ‘:Insights’ drop-down menu option.

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The reason for this is that the dashboards reference the entities and records that you see, edit, and create when working directly in Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement, whereas the interaction data are stored on Customer Insights and not in Customer Engagement. Hence you can see ‘how many journeys’ on the dashboards, but ‘how many contacts were on the journey’ via Journey:Insights

Using these :Insights views you can only see one activity at a time, which is pretty frustrating. And you can’t easily extract the underlying data, which is deeply infuriating. As a marketer, I want to see comparative side-by-side performance of my campaigns. And I want to see the funnel from send>open>click on my emails. And I want to export the data for further analysis. This just isn’t possible OOTB, but as with most things Microsoft, there is a way, and in this case that way is to leverage Power BI.

The instructions on how to use PowerBI to do create custom analytics in Dynamics 365 For Marketing are here. You’ll need someone with decent PowerBI skills to set this up, but the results are worth it. Deeply functional, highly interactive marketing dashboards that you can embed into the Dynamics365 For Marketing application. Like this:

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And this:

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And because the data are in PowerBI, you also can extract sets of contact data for further analysis, like this Excel pivot table.

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So – while it’s frustrating that these dashboards are not available OOTB, it’s great that the tools are there to resolve this and create some pretty amazing views of how your marketing campaigns are performing.

At Barhead we are always pushing the boundaries of Microsoft’s Business Applications. Do reach out with any comments, or if you’d like any more insight or help with this.

 

Richard Britton

Practice Lead, Dynamics 365 for Marketing

Barhead Solutions

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