MB2-717 Certification: (Microsoft Dynamics for Sales) – Relationship Assistant

As I prepare for my Dynamics 365 certification in sales (MB2-717), I am creating blog posts based on my revision. I hope that collectively these posts may prove useful to anyone also preparing for the MB2-717 exam. In this post I will focus on the relationship assistant.

I have already commented about the number of times the word relationship is mentioned in the skills measured statement of MB2-717! With this in mind I’d like to examine one key area of relationship management / analysis, the relationship assistant. You can see the skills measured statement which mentioned the relationship assistant below;

The relationship assistant is one tool within a collection of solutions that help to provide insight into your relationships with customers and prospects. The idea being to help organisations spot “trends” or “patterns” in customer behaviour and then influence the customer experience based on these insights. The aim here is to help users take action with the right customer at the right time. One simple example might be alerting a user to the fact that a sales opportunity is reaching its expected close date.

What is the relationship assistant?

The relationship assistant is designed to analyse data and provide contextual information in real time. It does this by presenting configurable “cards” to users. Each card will highlight something connected with a specific interaction with a customer.

We see “cards” in several places in Dynamics 365, including on the wall. This will commonly be shown on a dashboard or accessible via the “What’s new option”.

Below you can see my assistant with a couple of cards. This first one refers to an email that contains a potential lead. Clicking “OPEN EMAIL” will open this directly in Outlook. With the task that is shown I can complete the task directly from the relationship assistant or alternatively I can click on the task subject to open the associated record in Dynamics 365.

Below you can see an example of where I have added the relationship assistant to a dashboard;

Additionally cards can be seen in the assistant tab of the social pane directly on Dynamics 365 entities.

Additionally from the relationship assistant I have icons to refresh the information, send feedback to Microsoft on the assistant and customize what cards are shown.

Tip: Notice that each card has an alarm clock icon. Clicking this will snooze the card for 12 hours.

Configure The Relationship Assistant (And other relationship insights)

Customer relationship insights (and therefore the relationship assistant) is not enabled by default. You will need to be a Dynamics 365 admin user to enable relationship insights. Options include customer insights, the relationship assistant and email engagement options.

You will find the Intelligence configuration option in the settings area of Dynamics 365;

It not already enabled you will need to accept the terms and then configure some or all of the options.

Below you can see that I have accepted the privacy notice and now I can configure the relationship assistant, enable email engagement and configure connection insights. Meaning all of the embedded intelligence options can be enabled and configured from one screen. Some of the features will need additional configuration, I’ll expand on that for the relationship assistant below.

There are two types of cards that can be enabled for the relationship assistant, base cards and advanced cards.

The base cards have a number of options, all of which are enabled by default but you can disable them as required. Based cards include options for warn if an open activity is due today or if an opportunity is approaching or passed its close date. I can even enable warnings for custom activities that are due.

Tip: Additional detail on the purpose of each card maybe available by hovering over the details icon. (As shown below.)

Advanced cards are not enabled by default. You may need to be aware that some options such as email engagement cards require the use of Microsoft exchange. Under each heading you can expand the options available and config / enable / disable as required. As an example I have highlighted one advanced option below. Here we can see that a card will be shown when an email concerning an open opportunity has a negative sentiment.

I won’t cover all of the options in this post, I therefore suggest your revision includes you reviewing the options available here! But to give a flavour of advanced options I have listed a few examples;

Email Cards from Exchange

  • Opportunity at Risk KTG model – shows a card when a related email contains a phrase that suggests the opportunity might be at risk.
  • Opportunity at Risk sentiment – shows a card when a related email contains a strong negative sentiment about an opportunity.
  • Stake holder recommendation – flags when an email is received from someone not identified as a stake holder on the opportunity.
  • Competitor mentioned – triggers a card if a competitor is mentioned in an email.

There is an option to perform some actions automatically without showing a card. For example, we could automatically add stake holders to opportunities instead of recommending they be added.

Relationship analytic cards

  • No activity with opportunity – show a card it no activity record against an opportunity after “n” days.
  • No activity with account – will remind if no activity against an account after “n” days.

Email engagement cards

  • Email opened – notify when a followed email is opened.

Email engagement and relationship assistant may both need to be enabled / configured for some features.

Productivity cards

  • Upcoming meeting – will give a notification for upcoming meetings.
  • Relevant NEWS – see relevant news articles for an account.

“Today” Cards

  • Today’s top records – shows a list of records that need to be worked on today.

Privileges required to access relationship insight features are automatically enabled for all out of the box security roles. But maybe initially disabled in custom roles.

Whilst most options for the relationship are maintained at an organisation level by a system administrator, it is also possible for users to access their personal options and configure their experience with the relationship assistant.

I hope this post has given you some insight into the relationship assistant. I know for my revision I’m going to be spending time trying to see which of these I can make trigger to help me better understand the results. (I suggest you also do that.) I doubt that will always be easy!! As sometimes additional email setup maybe needed or possibly my tests have to run for several days to see that an opportunity has had no activity etc, etc.

I am yet to take the MB2-717 exam. (These really are my revision notes!!) But I have spoken to several people who have passed the exam and they have mentioned they’d wished they’d spent more time revising customer insights / relationship assistant!!!!


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