Relevance Search in Microsoft Dynamics 365 - An Overview

Relevance Search brings a more Bing-like, global search experience to your mission critical business applications powered by Azure Search! You'll get comprehensive search results quickly in a single list, sorted by relevance. System Customizers and Administrators have full control over the data that is searchable and syncing to the search index.

Relevance Search is a great feature that helps you perform a global search in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Online, similar to Google search. Relevance Search is hosted on the Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform and infrastructure that uses Azure Search, which provides the search results. Changes made in Dynamics 365 may take up to 15 minutes to appear in the search service. It may take up to up to an hour or more to complete a full sync for average to large size organizations. The search can be performed on multiple entities without building any search queries. The following diagram shows the high level Relevance Search architecture:

The search data is sorted by relevance in a single list upon its return. It can also search for text in documents attached to a Note, Email or an Appointment in Dynamics 365. The search data can further be filtered down by using the facets and the filters as shown in the screenshot below.

Relevance Search is turned off by default in Dynamics 365 online. It can be enabled by the System Administrators and they are empowered to control the data that can be searchable. Upon enabling this feature, the data associated with the enabled entities is synced to the Azure search index. The complete sync process can take up to an hour depending on the volume of the data. The System Administrators can also select the entities that are required for search by clicking on the Entities and "Configure Relevance Search" option from the solution window as per the below image. It is important to note that Relevance Search doesn’t replace the Global search and hence can be turned off from the System Settings.

Relevance Search utilizes the power of Azure search technology by indexing the data externally to deliver the results faster. Searching for the keywords is executed against the Azure Search index. Since, the data is synced to an external search index, you’ll need to be mindful in selecting the data that will leave your system and the sensitive data that should require to remain in your online environment.

How to setup Relevance Search in Microsoft Dynamics 365:

  1. Login as a Administrator or a System Customizer
  2. In Dynamics 365 go to Settings -> Administration
  3. Click on the System Settings and select the General tab
  4. Scroll down to the Set up Search section and tick the 'Enable Relevance search' option (screenshot below). A dialog box will appear to get your consent on sharing your data with Microsoft Azure. Relevance Search will be turned on after you have accepted its terms in the dialog box.

  1. You can then specify your entities to be enabled for the search by clicking on the ‘Configure Relevance Search’ button. The below window will pop up which will let you add/remove the entities you wish to be included or excluded in the search. After making the changes, you’ll need to Save and Publish for the changes to take place in Dynamics 365.

  1. For custom entities, Relevance Search can be enabled by selecting the Entity you wish to include in the search from the customizations area. Then click on the ‘Managed Properties’ button from the top menu and set “Can enable sync to external search index” to True as per the screenshot below.

Conclusion: The above article provided info on one of the search designs of Dynamics 365. I hope you have learned about Dynamics 365's Relevance Search - architecture, features and necessary steps to its setup.

Please do leave feedback/comments below including any experience on the same topic that you would like to share. Thanks. is an ultimate source of all the key references on MS Dynamics 365 + Office 365 + MS Azure etc.- please use the CONTACT US form to connect with Urish Arora.

Posted: Jan 22, 2018,
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Author: Urish Arora
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