• February 19, 2020
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmartCustomerService.com

Microsoft Adds More AI to Dynamics 365

Microsoft has enhanced its Dynamics 365 business applications portfolio with artificial intelligence and its own customer data platform (CDP), with a focus on bridging the gap between CRM and enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.

"Joining more than 400 new and updated features in the 2020 wave 1 release, these new capabilities expand a fast-growing set of applications powered by AI-driven insights and further propel our vision to empower every organization to unify data across the business and use it to power personalized customer experiences and processes," James Phillips, president of Microsoft Business Applications, wrote in a blog post earlier today.

As part of the new release, Microsoft added first- and third-party data connections to Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, Microsoft's customer data platform, to further enrich customer profiles that can be updated and activated in real time.  Profiles will now include a combination of proprietary audience intelligence and third-party data, such as demographics and interests, firmographics, market trends, and product and service usage.

Microsoft is also enabling deeper insights between Customer Insights and Azure Synapse Analytics, which combines customer data with enterprise and streaming data to improve data completeness, run high-speed analytical processing, and build custom machine learning models.

"This allows organizations to predict customer needs with insights and get guidance on the next-best action to reduce churn and capitalize on revenue opportunities for the lifetime of a customer relationship," Phillips wrote. "Organizations can act upon these insights in real time across multiple destinations through prebuilt APIs to enable onsite clienteling, website personalization, dynamic marketing campaigns, and effective ad targeting."

Microsoft also integrated Customer Insights with the Microsoft Forms Pro enterprise survey solution and made Customer Insights available to government cloud computing (GCC) environments.

Microsoft also added manual and predictive forecasting capabilities to Dynamics 365 Sales and Dynamics 365 Sales Insights to help sales organizations better understand their pipelines, predict results, and gain visibility into future performance.

The predictive forecasting capabilities can extract patterns from CRM data, current and historical leads, won or lost opportunities, contacts, accounts, customer interactions, and more data sources, and then project these patterns into the future.

Additionally, a new engagement center is designed to accelerate sales, helping salespeople triage, research, and engage new leads or opportunities.

"This provides them with their own prioritized work queue to take action on the highest-priority leads and tasks based on built-in predictive scoring from Dynamics 365 Sales Insights and new, configurable sales cadences," Phillips said. "The experience helps sellers stay in the context of Dynamics 365 and quickly move from one lead or opportunity to the next in an AI-prioritized work queue, without needing to switch views to take the next-best action."

Other changes to Dynamics 365 include Dynamics 365 Finance Insights, a new product coming to preview in May, bringing AI into finance processes, and Dynamics 365 Project Operations, a new product that connects cross-functional project teams.

"Our continued investment in expanding AI capabilities across Dynamics 365 helps your organization accelerate digital transformation initiatives while empowering employees with insights to drive better business outcomes every day," Phillips wrote.

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