MB2-715 Certification: (Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Online Deployment) – Integrate Social Engagement

As I revised for the MB2-715 exam (Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Online Deployment) I am creating blog posts detailing all aspects of my revision. I hope these posts will aid anyone who is also revising for this exam. In this posts I will review integration with Social Engagement.

Below you can see the skills measured statement for the MB2-715 exam with the referenced to social engagement highlighted.

Before diving deeper into how to integrate Microsoft Social Engagement (MSE) with Dynamics 365, an overview might be appropriate;

Microsoft Social Engagement Overview

By social engagement we mean engaging with customers via multiple social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and many others. In many situations social media has changed or is changing the way people communicate with organizations. Customers are more informed and obtaining that information from varied sources. Purchasing decisions are often influenced by discussions online.

The Microsoft Social Engagement application used with Microsoft Dynamics 365 allows companies to monitor key accounts, gain insight into competitors and be alerted to purchasing “signals”. Service / customer care concerns can also be identified. This information can then be used to help companies better react to customer need.

In addition, fresh leads may be generated from the various social sources.

The Microsoft Social Engagement (MSE) application supports more than 20 languages and Azure machine learning also helps it adapt / evolve to learn new words. (and even emoji!)

Key benefits of social engagement include;

  • Listening, listen everywhere to understand how people really feel about the company and its products. And to appreciate how you compare to competitors.
  • Analyze sentiment, determine your share of the “voice” across social channel and understand who your key influencers are. Based on the volume of posts and importantly their sentiment rating.
  • Drive engagement, foster conversations about your products / brand and gain insight to influence sales and marketing strategy.

The Social Engagement hub provides a rich user interface to allow users to see information on sentiment, trending keywords (etc) by source, location, sentiment (etc). You can “zoom in” on individual posts / tweets and reply directly in the hub. Or even convert these interactions into leads or cases within Microsoft Dynamics 365.

I hope this introduction into social engagement has given you a feel for its capabilities! Next I will consider how MSE can integrate with Dynamics 365.

Connect Dynamics 365 with MSE

You can add data from MSE directly into dashboards and forms with Dynamics 365. Before doing this you’ll need to connect Microsoft Dynamics 365 to Microsoft Social Engagement.

In settings / administration you will find the “Microsoft Social Engagement Configuration” option.

Use this option to connect Dynamics 365 to MSE.

Once connected you will be able to add social insights into dashboards and forms. Below you can see that I am adding social insights into a dashboard. We can pick particular search topic or categories. (It is also possible to create new topics from within Dynamics 365.) We can then choose from one of several visuals. Including data on languages, locations, recent posts, sentiment etc.

Below you can see a simple example of the type of dashboard you could potentially create in Dynamics 365.

Connect MSE with Dynamics 365

We can also connect MSE to Dynamics 365, to enable us to create records in Dynamics 365 from MSE. Before you can create any record in Dynamics 365 you’ll need to ensure that MSE and Dynamics 365 are connected. To do this open Microsoft Social Engagement and select the Settings option.

Next, select the connections option, and the pick “Microsoft Dynamics 365”. You can then use the “+” icon to add a new connection. Notice below that my MSE is connected to two instances. One being my sandbox and another being production.

The connection type can be on premise or online. It is possible to have multiple connections defined. If you are connecting to Dynamics online all of the instances you connect will need to be within the same Dynamics 365 tenant.

If, like me, you are connecting to Dynamics 365 online, you should be able to click the “CHECK INSTANCES” icon. This will search for options and insert the details automatically. After you have selected the correct instance click the arrow to proceed to the next step.

There will now be a short pause whilst the connection magic happens!

Once the connection has been tested you will be presented with the following screen. On this screen you can opt to set this instance as the default, meaning it will be used when creating records from posts. Notice that cases and leads are listed as entities by default. You could remove these and / or add whatever entities you wish. (For now, I will leave these unchanged.)

Note: Just because cases, leads or other entities are listed here it does not mean that these will be created in Dynamics 365. Sounds strange! What is actually going to happen is you will be able to “trigger” the creation of cases or leads in MSE. But to get them to actually create we will also need a record creation rule in Dynamics 365. (More on that in a second!) Once you are happy click save and you’ll be connected.

Create Social Activities from MSE (Not cases and leads!)

As already mentioned, at this point leads and cases will not create in Dynamics 365. But Social Activities should. So it will be worth testing this before you continue.

In MSE, navigate to a post you’d like to see in Dynamics 365. Select it and the use the “LINK TO DYNAMICS 365” option.

Once you have selected to connect the post with Dynamics 365. The instance will default but you can change it if you have multiple connections defined.

Then select the entity you wish to create. (The one that won’t get created!!!)

Add a note. If you wish. And finally select create.

You should now be able to find the record in Dynamics 365. To test this I have used advanced find to look for “Social Activities”. Below you can see that the tweet I selected has been created in Dynamics 365.

Note: In addition to the social activity record a contact and social profile may have been created for the author of the post.

Tip: The creation of a contact from a social media post may create a duplicate in your system. If the contact was already known to the organization! One solution to this is to simply merge the two contact records.

Edit Social Activities form

Now you have confirmed that social activities are being created in Dynamics 365, you might want to edit the form! The reason being that we will want to see some additional information that isn’t shown by default.

A case (or lead) hasn’t been created. Nor has the note we entered shown in Dynamics 365. But this information is available to us as a JSON payload in the additional parameters field. Adding this field to the form will allow us to view this information and then we can decide how to utilize in the case or lead creation process.

Below you can see that I have opened the Social Activity entity in customizations and added the “additional parameters” field to the form.

Now when we view the social activity you can see some additional information. Including the note we entered and that the use requested an incident be created from this social activity.

Record Creation Rules

Next let’s consider how cases and leads can be created from social activities. (And if required any entity for that matter!) In settings, find the service management option and then open the “Automatic Record Creation and Update Rules” option.

First of all create and saved a new rule with the source type as social activity.

Next you will need to create an additional properties entry under channel properties. So select the additional properties field, then use the “new” option. Below you can see that I have called mine MSE Post Payload.

Once saved I have added two properties. I got the names for these by looking at the parameters field we added to the social activity form in the previous step. (userPreferrefTargetEntity and notes) Notice that the data type is text, application source is MSE and I have added an optional description.

Next I completed my record creation rule by adding two record create and update details lines. Once that would create cases and one that would create leads.

Let’s look at one of these in more detail. (Both are similar!)

Notice that my condition is “userPreferredTargetEntity” equals “lead”. Obviously for the case I will say equals “incident”.

The final step is to add the action to create lead. You can just simply add create lead, I however wanted to add the notes entered in MSE into the lead details. To do this click set properties and add the notes to a suitable field. I opted to add them into the description field on the lead. (See below.)

Tip: You can obviously also pick other fields from the social activity and set them to fields on the lead / case. Including post description, sentiment etc.

Auto Create Leads or Cases

Now I have a record creation rule when I manually link data from MSE into Dynamics 365 a case or lead will be created. But what if I want posts to automatically create leads without manual intervention?

If you navigate to settings in MSE you will be able to see automation rules, in here you can use the “+” to create new rules to automatically create cases etc.

Notice there is also a useful option to email you of any failures. (If you’d like!)

Hopefully this post has given you a good overview of the concepts involved in linking Microsoft Social Engagement data with Dynamics 365. And covered most of the topics you’ll need to be aware of for the MB2-715 exam. As always I encourage you to experiment, the best way to learn is via hands-on experience. Enjoy.

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