My previous post about Relevance Search pointed out some of the benefits you get from using this great new feature in Dynamics 365. However, using Relevance Search is going to take a bit of configuration.

The first thing you should know is a bit of a caveat of using Relevance Search. This feature is not enabled by default in Dynamics 365 Online (and it’s not available at all in the On Premise version of CRM). The reason it’s not enabled by default is that, when turned on, it immediately starts syncing your data to an external Azure search index. This means you want to make sure that you have things correctly configured, and completely understand and are comfortable with the data that is leaving your system – i.e. make sure your sensitive data is not leaving your Dynamics Online environment.

You can configure the Entities that are available from Relevance Search from the Default Solution (Settings…Customizations…Customize the System)

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If you click on the Entities component list, you will be presented with the Configure Relevance Search button, which opens the dialog for adding and removing entities from the Relevance Search.

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This dialog easily allows you to add and remove entities that are included in the Relevance Search index. It shows which entities in the system are included, and which are excluded but available. It also shows in parentheses how many columns are included in the search with that entity. By default, there are quite a few system entities included in the Relevance Search, and none of the custom entities that you create are included. Custom entities will need to be added manually.

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Notice at the bottom that the out of the box maximum number of fields Microsoft allows for an organization is 1000. Therefore, it makes sense to only include those system tables that you anticipate using and want indexed for searching.

So, how does Dynamics decide which and how many fields are included on each entity in the Relevance Search? Dynamics does this using the Quick Find View for each entity. Once an entity is included in Relevance Search, all the fields included in the “Find Columns” of the Quick Find view are included as searchable.

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So with Relevance Search, you’ve got the fine grained control you need to ensure that your sensitive data is not leaving the system, while still including your important data as search terms. Once you’ve got Relevance Search configured the way you need it, the last thing to do is to turn it on. This is done by an administrator in Settings…Administration…System Settings. Here you will find a checkbox to “Enable Relevance Search”. Once you check it and click ok, your data will immediately start syncing to the external search index. After an initial sync of all searchable data, your data syncs to the Azure search index continuously.

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Because the indexing is done externally, enabling Relevance Search does not increase the cost of storage in your database. Relevance Search is an easy to configure, easy to use, very intuitive search feature. Check out my other post on Using Relevance Search for more details.

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