In July 2023, Microsoft announced the merger of Dynamics 365 Customer Insights and Dynamics 365 Marketing into a new unified offering called Dynamics 365 Customer Insights. The new app will be available from 1 September 2023
In this article, we’ll outline what’s changing, what stays the same, and how you can prepare for the transition.
So what is changing?
New names for the apps
As part of this change, the apps will be renamed but retain the same core functions:
- Dynamics 365 Customer Insights will be called Dynamics 365 Customer Insights – Data
- Dynamics 365 Marketing is now called Dynamics 365 Customer Insights – Journeys
Outbound marketing deprecated
For those currently using Dynamics 365 Marketing, Microsoft is now focusing enhancements and new features exclusively on the real-time journeys capabilities rather than the traditional outbound marketing capabilities which many early adopters to Dynamics Marketing used.
Most features that people have used in Outbound Marketing can be replicated in Real-Time Marketing, but the transfer may involve some manual work. Here’s why Microsoft think you should move to Real-Time marketing
New customers who install Customer Insights – Journeys will not see the Outbound Marketing module
Existing customers who upgrade to Customer Insights – Journeys are ‘strongly recommended’ to transition to Real-Time marketing. However there is still an option to continue to use Outbound Marketing if you contact Microsoft support.
Microsoft have useful guidance about these scenarios here
Social posting removed
The new integrated app doesn’t include the functionality to post social messages.
What options do I have?
If you already have D365 Marketing nothing will change immediately
At your licence renewal date you can either:
- Stay with your existing Marketing app, by renewing for another period. You have until 1 September 2024 to renew. You can only renew for one more cycle. Details haven’t been released yet about what will happen when your renewal cycle ends
- Buy a new Customer Insights licence
- £1397.30 tenant / month
- £821.90 tenant / month as an attach licence.
Attach licences for Dynamics Customer Insights are available for organisations with a minimum of 10 users of Dynamics 365 Customer Service Professional, Dynamics 365 Customer Service Enterprise, Dynamics 365 Sales Professional, Dynamics 365 Sales Enterprise, Dynamics 365 Sales Premium, Dynamics 365 Field Service, Dynamics 365 Finance, Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management, or Dynamics 365 Commerce.
Why should I move to Dynamics 365 Customer Insights from Marketing?
Dynamics Marketing users will have access to all the features of the new Customer Insights – data app (formerly Customer Insights). This means you’ll gain a holistic view of your customers, anticipate needs, and discover growth opportunities.
You’ll have much more useful data about each customer
- The unified data from CI provides complete view of each customer
- You can begin hyper-personalising marketing based on full insights
Using both the Data and Journeys apps together enables more personalised, optimised marketing based on a complete understanding of each customer.
Irrespective of which app you use, you should certainly begin to plan your move from Outbound Marketing to Real-Time Marketing. Microsoft will clearly be focussing all its efforts on Real-Time marketing and sometime in the future Outbound Marketing will disappear. The benefits of Real-Time marketing are well documented by Microsoft.
If I move to Customer Insights, will there be a big change in functionality?
With this transition to the new Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, it’s important to note that the core functionality of the existing apps does not change.
For current Customer Insights and Marketing users, you’ll still have access to the same features and capabilities as before.
Specifically for existing Marketing users, you can continue operating in “mixed mode” where both the legacy outbound and newer real-time journeys features are available. This means you can keep using the existing outbound workflows and components like email, forms, segments etc. without disruption.
The underlying data models also remain consistent, so any customisations or integrations you’ve made using entities in Customer Insights or Marketing will not be impacted.
And on the licensing side, if you have existing entitlements for Customer Insights or Marketing, those will remain valid and convert over to the new Customer Insights SKUs. You won’t need to suddenly purchase additional licenses
Over time, you’ll want to take advantage of the new capabilities only available through real-time journeys and the unified insights-based marketing the new Customer Insights enables. But for now, you can continue operating as usual while you prepare to upgrade at your own pace.
Preparing for moving to Dynamics 365 Customer Insights
While the underlying functionality remains unchanged, there are some key things to keep in mind to ensure you’re prepared for the transition to Dynamics 365 Customer Insights.
Firstly, get familiar with the timeline. The new packaging and licensing took effect on 1 September 2023. So any new purchases after that date will be for the combined Customer Insights SKUs. For existing customers, you can renew your current individual licenses for one more cycle before 1 September 2024
Next, review the available transition resources Microsoft provides, including guides, templates, and tools. These will help you understand the process for migrating your workflows from legacy outbound marketing to real-time journeys. While not overly complex, some rebuilding of journeys, segments, forms etc. will be required.
When recreating items in real-time journeys, take the opportunity to re-evaluate your approach and use new capabilities like AI-assisted content generation or customer data-driven personalisation. Don’t just replicate your existing workflows.
Start small by running some test journeys in real-time alongside your current outbound campaigns. Slowly increase your use of real-time journeys and phase out legacy workflows. This gives you time to train users on the newer interface and build confidence.
Real-Time journeys benefits
Transitioning to use the real-time journeys capabilities of Dynamics 365 Customer Insights gives significant benefits compared to traditional outbound marketing approaches.
- Real-time journeys allow you to respond to customer actions and triggers instantly to drive engagement when it matters most. This could be signing up for an event, making a purchase, or any activity across sales, service, or your website.
- You can deliver hyper-personalised messages tailored to customers’ unique interests and needs based on insights from Customer Insights – Data. AI-powered copywriting and content suggestions also help optimise the relevance of content.
- Instead of blasting emails to broad segments, real-time orchestration combines the right channel – email, SMS, push notification – for each customer at the right time to improve results.
- Ongoing innovation investments by Microsoft are focused exclusively on expanding real-time capabilities versus legacy features. This includes new Copilot-enabled automation and productivity enhancers.
- Compared to typical outbound marketing costs, the consumption-based pricing model of the new Customer Insights can provide better alignment to the ROI based on number of profiles and interactions.
In summary, real-time customer journey orchestration represents the future of Dynamics marketing engagement. By transitioning now, you can gain significant competitive advantage through more meaningful, measurable customer experiences.
What is Dynamics 365 Customer Insights?
Dynamics 365 Customer Insights is a new unified product from Microsoft that brings together the capabilities of Dynamics 365 Customer Insights and Dynamics 365 Marketing. It provides insights-driven marketing powered by unified customer data.
Why did Microsoft combine these products?
By consolidating into one offering, Microsoft aims to make it easier for businesses to connect customer data and journey orchestration to drive more personalised, optimised engagements. The new licensing model also adds flexibility.
Do I need to purchase new licenses immediately?
No, existing customers can continue renewing individual licenses until they are up for renewal. At that point you can switch to the new combined Customer Insights license.
What marketing features does Dynamics 365 Customer Insights include?
It contains both traditional outbound marketing features as well as newer real-time customer journey orchestration capabilities powered by AI. Microsoft is focusing innovation on expanding the real-time journeys functionality.
How much does the new Dynamics 365 Customer Insights cost?
The current base price in the UK (October 2023) is £1397.30 per tenant / month
This licence includes
- 100,000 Unified People
- 10,000 Interacted People
Unified People are uniquely identified individuals created by collecting defined data source sets from multiple systems, and they are represented by a profile.
Interacted People encompass any Dataverse entity (like a contact, lead, account, or an Insights profile) that someone has interacted with. Microsoft consider a person as ‘interacted with’ when they engage in interactions, either outbound or inbound, such as filling out a form on a marketing website. These interactions can be transmitted through various channels, including those available in Customer Insights (like emails, text messages, or push notifications), other Microsoft channels (such as Azure Communication Services), or external systems (like other text-messaging providers).
How many environments can I use the licence in?
The standard Customer Insights licence allows you to use the app in 4 environments.
What changes should existing Marketing users expect?
For current Marketing users, the core functionality and UI remains the same so far. You can operate in mixed mode to use legacy and real-time features. Marketing is now called Customer Insights – Journeys.
How can I learn more about the transition?
See Microsoft’s transition resources including guides, tools, and templates to help migrate from legacy Marketing to real-time journeys capabilities.