Reducing Costs with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Virtual Entities

Reducing Costs with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Virtual Entities

What are Dynamics 365 Virtual Entities?

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Virtual Entities let you experience data in a whole new way. Virtual Entities allow you to "peek" into external data from a foreign system, without having to migrate and store data in your Microsoft Dynamics 365 and CRM for Distribution environment. This data is presented similarly to your traditional Dynamics 365 entities, which leverage forms, fields, relationships, and views. This enables you to seamlessly interact with virtual entities and Dynamics 365 and CRM for Distribution data, regardless of whether you access it through your PC, tablet or phone.

How Can Dynamics Virtual Entities Reduce Costs?

Virtual entities can help reduce costs in many ways.

  • They leverage data from external data sources, so you do not have to add the additional cost of Dynamics storage.
  • They can be used to view archived Dynamics data, which can reduce the cost of your existing Dynamics storage.
  • The data presentation is real time, so there is no cost to build or maintain a data integration.

Visibility of your key enterprise data from foreign systems can keep your team working primarily in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and CRM for Distribution. This will help reduce training and licensing costs associated with working in many disparate systems.

Hear are three Microsoft Dynamics 365 Virtual Entities use cases we have implemented for our clients to help them reduce costs:

Use Case 1 - Real Time Access to Vendor Pricing

In this scenario, we are building a quote in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and CRM for Distribution and need to see the latest pricing from my vendors. Since there are multiple vendors with millions of SKU's, building multiple integrations and storing stale data does not make sense. With Microsoft Dynamics 365 Virtual Entities, we can peek into my vendor's systems, and get the latest pricing for my quote.

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Use Case 2- Real Time Access to Legacy Data

In this scenario, we are migrating multiple legacy systems to Microsoft Dynamics 365 and CRM for Distribution, including a legacy CRM and ERP system. We have completed the legacy CRM migration, but not yet started the legacy ERP migration. My sales team needs to go ahead and adopt Microsoft Dynamics 365 and CRM for Distribution, which is more likely to succeed when they spend more time in the product.  With Microsoft Dynamics 365 Virtual Entities, I can present legacy ERP data to my team as part of their Microsoft Dynamics 365 and CRM for Distribution experience.

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Use Case 3 - Real Time Access to Archived Data

In this scenario, my team has generated a decade of completed activities in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and CRM for Distribution. Since activities can consume an average of 25% of Dynamics storage, I would like to move them to a much cheaper storage option like Microsoft Azure Cosmos Database.  I have made a business decision to archive any completed activity that hasn't been touched in two years, then delete them from Microsoft Dynamics system. With Microsoft Dynamics 365 Virtual Entities, I can now search and view these legacy activities without consuming costly Microsoft Dynamics storage.

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What Are Dynamics Virtual Entities Limitations?

There are some limitations to Dynamics Virtual Entities:

  • The data is read only, so you cannot create new records from Dynamics, nor can you update them.
  • The security model is limited. The records are Organization owned, and not user owned. There is also no field level security.
  • Special Dynamics 365 entity functionality is not available like auditing, queuing, offline caching, calculating, or rollup fields.

One limitation listed in the Microsoft documentation is "It must be possible to model the external data as a Common Data Service entity." This translates to "Microsoft expects the external data source to look a very specific way for Virtual Entities to work." This is not always possible, especially when you and don't have control on how the data is delivered. Not to worry though, at Beringer Technology Group, we have figured out how to overcome this limitation, and connect you to just about any data source including legacy API's and SQL databases!

Would you like to learn more about Microsoft Dynamics Virtual Entities? Reach out to Beringer today!

Are you up against your storage limit in Microsoft Dynamics CRM? Do you need a way to view real time data from another system? We’ve been working with Microsoft Dynamics since its inception, and we’re always finding innovative ways to implement the latest tools and help automate business processes. If you are looking for a certified Microsoft solution partner to help you implement Microsoft Dynamics 365 Virtual Entities (with or without CRM for Distribution) we can help.

Contact Beringer Today!

Beringer Technology Group, a leading Microsoft Gold Certified Partner specializing in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and CRM for Distribution, also provides expert Managed IT ServicesBackup and Disaster RecoveryCloud Based Computing, Email Security Implementation and Training,  Unified Communication Solutions, and Cybersecurity Risk Assessment.


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