At a recent event in San Francisco, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President for Business Applications and Industry, Alysa Taylor, announced two key additions coming to the company’s Dynamics 365 enterprise management platform. The popular enterprise platform is to receive enhancements through implementations of Microsoft’s leading research into artificial intelligence (AI) and mixed reality.
When first released in 2016, Dynamics 365 was Microsoft’s own take on a new form of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Relationship Management (ERP) software, the market for which was quickly becoming dominated by companies such as Salesforce. Microsoft, however, has had the benefit of being able to integrate its offering with its own Office 365 productivity suite, the SharePoint enterprise social network collaboration platform and Azure cloud computing services.
The new announcements from Microsoft could be seen as upping the competition with Salesforce, which has been offering its own ‘Einstein’ AI technology for almost as long as Dynamics 365 has been on the market. The company may now have an edge with some enterprises, with the additional enhancements for Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed reality hardware.
Among the key AI features being added to Dynamics 365 are smart algorithms to help business decision-making by giving visibility to automatically unified datasets. Following the San Francisco event, via a blog post Taylor stated she hopes the move will help organisations address complex, business-specific scenario.
Further AI enhancements specifically for salespeople aim to streamline personal time management, highlight any coaching needs and give detailed performance data from across the sales spectrum. Post-sales optimisations will highlight where support staff need to take action before an issue can come to a head, thereby reducing costs and improving the customer experience. Furthermore, marketing teams should be able to spot social media trends quicker and with a deeper understanding of the conversation.
In a video Microsoft released on the sales and service improvements for Dynamics 365, CEO Satya Nadella and software engineer Navrina Singh demonstrated the potential impact of its new capabilities. They spoke strongly of the company’s aim to ‘democratise’ artificial intelligence so organisations could leverage developments in the field to reduce support costs without the need for specially trained IT personnel.
For employees closer to the supply chain, Microsoft unveiled new mixed reality tools designed for its HoloLens hardware. Firstly, Dynamics 365 Remote Assist will allow workers anywhere on the globe to partner in real time. Issues that would normally require detailed written or verbal descriptions to be analysed before a resolution could even be suggested can now be dealt with just by having the person in the field look at and highlight the problem.
Dynamics 365 Layout provides a virtual and transformable environment for putting together optimal workspaces before furniture or heavy machinery arrives on site, saving time and effort for office and factory planners.
The new AI and mixed reality features will be previewed later in the year. The company says it will have more to show at its Ignite event in late September.
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