In light of recent announcement from Salesforce
about its new Einstein
AI capability and to a lesser extent Oracle’s AI announcements, the AI angle has been the focal point of the enterprise technology nexus. But Microsoft claimed a better mantle at its annual Ignite conference
this week, with the official launch of Dynamics 365
, a previously announced suite of business applications for handling back-office processes.
Just last month, the software behemoth announced the formation of the Microsoft AI and Research Group, that brought together Microsoft’s research organization with more than 5,000 computer scientists and engineers focused on the company’s AI product efforts. And now, to boost the corporate related software sales, Microsoft has beefed up Office 365 and Dynamics 365 with AI technology. With this latest leap, the corporate will be able to operate Office 365 with voice and gestures.
“Microsoft has been working in artificial intelligence since the beginning of Microsoft Research, and yet we’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what’s possible,” said Harry Shum, Executive Vice President of the Microsoft AI and Research Group.
“Today’s move signifies Microsoft’s commitment to deploying intelligent technology and democratizing AI in a way that changes our lives and the world around us for the better. We will significantly expand our efforts to empower people and organizations to achieve more with our tools, our software and services, and our powerful, global-scale cloud computing capabilities.”
Breaking a new ground!
Showing off the next incarnation, Office 365 will now come with a quick starter feature that is aimed at making presentations easily, and no one has to start from the scratch as earlier.
Other smart features making their way to Office 365 include Tap in Word and Outlook, which aims to help workers reuse content already to be found in corporate documents for new documents and emails.
Additionally, Dynamics 365 gets a Customer Insights analytics app that connects and analyzes data from Microsoft and other widely used CRM, ERM, web, social and IoT sources which can provide users with a 360 degree view of the customer, as well as automatic suggestions as to how to improve engagement.
And the list doesn’t end here.
Another feature called Relationship Insights is introduced to feed sales people with real-time information on the status of their customer relationships. It uses tools like sentiment analysis to check on the likelihood of the deal closing and the next best action to take.
“Relationships Assistant in Dynamics 365 for Sales makes use of the AI capabilities of the Cortana Intelligence Suite to bring together multiple pieces of customer data from across the network, providing an at-a-glance portfolio of relevant information that helps inform future engagements. It will help you transform business processes and customer relationships,” read the official release.
The call center inside the company is already equipped with AI to answer the customer calls and resolve after-sale issues. Microsoft is now upgrading its internal systems by installing AI software in call centers across the United States to help representatives better respond to customer inquiries.
“We live in a time when digital technology is transforming our lives, businesses and the world, but also generating an exponential growth in data and information,” said Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft.
“At Microsoft, we are focused on empowering both people and organizations, by democratizing access to intelligence to help solve our most pressing challenges. To do this, we are infusing AI into everything we deliver across our computing platforms and experiences.”
As companies are becoming data-heavy, Microsoft stands stern in integrating machine-learning and AI-powered tools in Dynamics 365, a component that guides the sales services of the company. This means pooling relevant data and bringing better analytics to the workplace with the help of MyAnalytics
to help individual employees become more productive. Also, users will be able to compare their own productivity with that of other team members without falling under their managers’ radar. Smooth!
A take on SalesForce?
Salesforce and Microsoft have been fair-weather friends so far, keeping their rivalry very implicit and deducible. The Wall Street Journal revealed
that Microsoft reportedly outbid Salesforce during its LinkedIn acquisition. And with Salesforce now trying to work its way up to acquire Twitter, it is evident that it is aiming to be be first among equals.
Furthermore, its Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered platform Einstein, stands as an immediate rival to Microsoft’s Cortana
. And Salesforce’s acquisition of Quip
, an online word processing service, in its bid to improve the AI platform further tingled Microsoft. And now we have AI-powered assistant across Dynamics 365 CRM and Office 365.
The software as a service is reportedly said to be available on November 1 in more than 135 markets and over 40 languages. It can be bought in individual modules, such as sales, customer service or operations, with additional, integrated modules available to add as desired. Pricing is yet to be revealed, though the software company has announced that the modules will be bundled into an enterprise edition and a business edition. That calls for a ripple of excitement!