Microsoft Adds AI Features to Dynamics 365 for Customer Support

The first Dynamics 365 AI solution is a customer care system that uses virtual assistants to solve issues before involving humans.

Dynamics 365 Power BI Connection

Soon, more Dynamics 365 customer service scenarios will involve interacting with a virtual agent powered by Microsoft's artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, the software giant announced during its Ignite conference in Orlando, Fla. Sept. 25-29.

Microsoft is layering AI capabilities onto Dynamics 365, a cloud-enabled suite of customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning business applications, beginning with a customer-care solution. The offering attempts to solve problems with helpful and convincing conversations that AI agents can then hand off to customer service personnel if required.

"Our goal is to increase satisfaction across areas where we engage the customer and within internal support teams who can work more effectively and efficiently," wrote Steve Guggenheimer, corporate vice president of Microsoft's AI unit, in a blog post. "This is accomplished by having virtual agents engage with customers to solve their issues, and seamlessly transfer to support agents only when necessary.

The agents receive real-time suggestions when a customer is handed off and can provide real-time feedback to train the virtual agents to become even more effective over time."

Microsoft is already employing an early version of the technology, according to Guggenheimer. Each week, virtual assistants help power more than 650,000 support sessions for the software giant. Other early users include the Australian Government's Department of Human Services, Macy's and Hewlett Packard. HP is using the solution to power self-service customer service experiences.

A peek at the AI technology powering the new Dynamics 365 customer care solution is available in Guggenheimer's blog.

Meanwhile, Microsoft will soon offer modular human resources apps for organizations that may not want to jettison their existing human capital management investments in favor of a full-fledged solution like Dynamics 365 for Talent.

Later this year, the company will ship Dynamics 365 for Talent: Attract and Dynamics 365 for Talent: Onboard, two new software as a service (SaaS) applications that are more targeted in scope and can be deployed quickly. As their names suggest, the applications enable organizations to find and engage with qualified candidates and streamline the onboarding process when they take the job.

Following the July release of Microsoft Relationship Sales, a product bundle that includes LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales, Microsoft announced new enhancements.

Soon, the company will embed insights from Sales Navigator throughout the Dynamics interface. Dynamics 365 for Sales will also gain the ability to send LinkedIn InMails and messages from the Dynamics 365 for Sales interface without having to switch tabs.

Business process automation is also a major priority for Microsoft. New integrations between Dynamics 365, Office 365, PowerApps and Flow will enable to create automated workflows across those platforms.

Reflecting the way cloud computing is transformed the way enterprises buy software, Microsoft also signaled changes in how customers purchase Dynamics 365 in the spring of 2018.

Rather than sell Business or Enterprise editions of the product, the company is gocusing "on enabling any organization to choose from different price points for each line of business application, based on the level of capabilities and capacity they need," said Alysa Taylor, general manager of Global Marketing for Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise Business Applications and Industry division, in a Sept. 22 announcement.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...