Microsoft Fabric Enhances Customer Insight Future
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Microsoft Fabric
Dec 7, 2023 12:00 PM

Microsoft Fabric Enhances Customer Insight Future

by HubSite 365 about Marc Lelijveld (Data – Marc) [MVP]

Data Platform MVP | FastTrack Recognized Solution Architect | Microsoft Certified Trainer | Public Speaker | Data enthusiast | Solution Architect Data & Analytics

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Unveil 360-Degree Customer Insights with Microsoft Fabrics Integrations!

The future of customer understanding is a constantly evolving field and Microsoft Fabric is at the forefront, making it simpler to combine CRM and ERP data to obtain a holistic view of your customer. Understanding what motivates customers, what campaigns resonate with them, and the reasons behind order influxes are key aspects of modern business. Microsoft Fabric facilitates this by providing native integrations, streamlining the journey to comprehensive customer insight.

The importance of a 360-degree customer view can't be overstated. Reflecting on a Power BI project from years ago during an IT internship, the author explored creating a complete customer profile using various Microsoft technologies. Then, mining data from Dynamics 365 and other sources was a challenge to better understand customer interactions with the business.

Nowadays, personalized marketing has become more relevant but also more challenging with the influx of irrelevant marketing emails which are often promptly deleted or lead to unsubscriptions. The aim is to receive pertinent information, like reminders of items left in a shopping cart or discounts to spur purchases, offering a tailored and more engaging customer experience.

Marketing personalization can reach impressive levels, as evidenced by a past Forbes article, which highlighted Target's ability to tailor promotions to expectant parents before they were aware of the pregnancy. Personalization on this scale introduces ethical considerations, requiring sensitivity and integrity. The story underscores the power and responsibility inherent in leveraging customer data for targeted marketing.

Organizations strive to offer personalized campaigns but face difficulties integrating data sources. Analyzing order history and customer behavior demands the combining of ERP and CRM data, involving various complicated methods. Even with some standardized connectors to these systems, extensive customization and technical expertise are often necessary, which complicates the process for customers.

Microsoft Fabric introduces concepts like shortcuts and mirroring to simplify data integration. Shortcuts link to data without moving it, while mirroring replicates data changes to Microsoft Fabric's OneLake. Although mirroring only supports a limited number of data sources currently, it's expected that more will be included over time.

Dynamics 365 can now integrate natively with Microsoft Fabric, bypassing older methods such as Azure Synapse Link. While Dynamics F&O lacks a direct shortcut method at this moment, it's believed to be something that might be offered in the future. Choices between shortcuts and mirroring depend on the desired outcome and system impact, with a trend towards minimal disturbance to source systems.

Utilizing shortcuts and mirroring in Microsoft Fabric can significantly reduce the traditionally complex process of linking CRM or ERP systems to analytical platforms. Although currently, this is mainly for Microsoft-to-Microsoft connections, the vision to incorporate other services, like Amazon S3, SQL Server, Cosmos DB, and Snowflake into Microsoft Fabric, is promising. Creating a 360-degree customer view is becoming more practical and streamlined with these advancements.

Microsoft Fabric: A Catalyst for Customer Insight

Microsoft Fabric is revolutionizing how businesses integrate and analyze customer data. By offering native integrations and functionalities like shortcuts and mirroring, it simplifies the complex process of creating a holistic view of customer interactions. This enhances the ability to deliver personalized customer experiences which are crucial in today's competitive landscape. With Microsoft's vision to expand integrations beyond their ecosystem, Microsoft Fabric promises to grow as a powerful tool for customer data analysis and campaign personalization.

Read the full article The future of customer understanding through Microsoft Fabric

The Evolution of Customer Insight with Microsoft’s Analytics Tools

In recent years, a significant challenge has been to unify CRM and ERP data for comprehensive customer insights. The aim is to gain a complete view of what motivates customers. By analyzing successful campaigns and factors influencing order spikes, businesses can better target their audience.

Microsoft Fabric streamlines this process with native integrations. These tools allow for a seamless creation of a full-circle customer understanding. Such integrations are crucial for businesses looking to leverage data for customer relations.

360-Degree Customer View

A 360-degree customer view has been a personal interest topic for many, recalling the time when Power BI was first introduced. The focus then, as now, was on how to leverage Microsoft tools like Dynamics 365 and SharePoint to achieve this full-spectrum understanding.

A project which includes analyzing the compatibility of Power BI with existing Microsoft services, sought to utilize data from these services to create a complete customer profile. This exercise highlighted the long-standing importance of creating detailed customer views using Microsoft platforms.


Current marketing approaches often lead to irrelevant offers, which clutter our inboxes and get promptly deleted. Tailored content like a gentle reminder of an item in an online shopping cart or a timely discount can be far more effective. These personal touches are what make smart marketing stand out.

The goal of 360-degree customer understanding owes its roots to companies like Target, which managed to tailor marketing strategies to anticipate customer needs. However, such personalization raises ethical considerations concerning customer privacy.

The Challenge

Firms today want personalized campaigns and branding, yet struggle with integrating different data sources. Traditional systems like ERP and CRM contain data that needs to be analyzed to understand customer behaviors, preferences, and tendencies.

Combining these data sources into a single analytics platform has always been a herculean task. The complexity lies in the multitude of connectivity options and the customized nature of many systems, requiring extensive engineering to maintain and develop.


Fabric Shortcuts and Mirroring

Microsoft Fabric offers solutions through shortcuts and mirroring to simplify data integration. Shortcuts act as pointers to the original data, whereas mirroring functions like a change-data-capture system, replicating every data record to the analytics platform.

Native integrations with Dynamics 365 bring efficiency, allowing data to flow directly into Fabric through Dataverse shortcuts. While native shortcuts for Dynamics F&O aren't available yet, mirroring can be a practical option for direct data importation.


The choice between shortcuts and mirroring depends on the use case. Shortcuts may affect the performance of the core system but can be managed with thoughtful architecture planning. Incremental loading and change detection reduce the impact on source systems.

In essence, Fabric's capabilities like shortcuts and mirroring reduce the complexity of connecting CRM or ERP systems with analytics platforms. It's noted that these capabilities are currently for Microsoft-to-Microsoft services, but there is potential for expanding to non-Microsoft services.

Wrap Up

Fabric's tools like shortcuts and mirroring simplify the intricate connections required between CRM or ERP systems and analytics platforms. Although primarily for Microsoft services, Fabric's vision to encompass other clouds could revolutionize the ease of crafting a 360-degree customer perspective.

  • Microsoft-to-Microsoft connectivity simplifies building a 360-degree customer view.
  • Native integrations like Dataverse shortcuts and mirroring allow for quicker and easier data analysis.
  • The future of Fabric includes potential for broader cloud services integrations.

People also ask

What are the benefits of Microsoft fabric?

Microsoft fabric, likely referring to Microsoft's Fluent UI Fabric, is a collection of UX frameworks for creating web and mobile applications that align with Microsoft's design language. The benefits of using Microsoft Fluent UI Fabric include a consistent user interface that can align with Microsoft Office and other Microsoft applications. It also promotes accessibility, ease of integration, and a cohesive look and feel across various platforms and devices. This standardization can increase productivity for developers and a seamless experience for users.

Is Microsoft fabric a competitor to Snowflake?

It's not accurate to compare Microsoft fabric directly with Snowflake, as they serve different purposes. Microsoft Fluent UI Fabric is more focused on user interface design, while Snowflake is a cloud-based data warehousing platform. If "Microsoft fabric" refers to a different technology related to data or analytics, additional context would be necessary to determine if it serves a similar function as Snowflake and can be considered a competitor.

What problems does Microsoft fabric solve?

Microsoft fabric addresses issues related to inconsistent user interfaces across various applications and platforms by providing a streamlined, standardized UI toolkit. It alleviates the complexity of design work for developers by offering reusable components that adhere to Microsoft's design principles. This reduces development time and helps ensure accessibility and usability in the applications that utilize it.

Is Microsoft fabric in production?

As of the knowledge cutoff in 2023, Microsoft Fluent UI Fabric is indeed in production and is widely used within Microsoft's own products, as well as by external developers in their web and mobile applications. It is actively maintained and features regular updates to ensure compatibility and introduce new UI components and design features.


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