Microsoft Sets the Stage for IoT-Enabled CRM

With the Connected Field Service offering and the Dynamics CRM Spring 2016 Wave, Microsoft aims to usher in an era of intelligent, IoT-powered customer service.

Microsoft IoT enabled CRM

Microsoft is betting that the Internet of things (IoT) will not only transform how enterprises manage connected devices, but also how they provide customer service and support. The Redmond, Wash., software maker today released the Spring 2016 Wave update for its Dynamics CRM customer relationship management platform and announced its Connected Field Service solution for organizations seeking to provide maintenance services in the IoT era.

Connected Field Service can be used by support and maintenance organizations to more precisely manage their roaming workforces based on the information gleaned from their customer's IoT data.

"In a Connected Field Service scenario, IoT-enabled devices are continuously monitored and anomalies are detected, generating alerts that trigger automated actions or service tickets and workflow according to service-level agreements," explained Jujhar Singh, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, in a May 23 announcement. "Availability and proximity of service technicians with the right skills and tools are then matched against the service requirement and routed to customer locations to take preventive action."

Coinciding with Microsoft's upcoming Customer Driven virtual event, the software giant plans to kick off the Connected Field Service beta on June 7.

Microsoft today also announced the general availability of the Spring 2016 Wave update for Dynamics CRM. Included in the update are new machine-learning scenarios for Microsoft Social Engagement that enables businesses to take stock of how their brands are regarded on social media and act quickly when dissatisfied customers vent their frustrations on Twitter and Facebook.

Dynamics CRM's new adaptive-learning capability uses sentiment-scoring models to show organizations how their brands are being perceived on social media. By analyzing the content of social media posts, the machine-learning technology offers marketers and product managers insights into customer behavior, enabling them to spot trends.

An automated social triage capability analyzes tweets and other social posts and automatically routes them into CRM as cases and leads. "By more accurately distinguishing an eager potential buyer from a customer with a complaint that requires quick resolution, automated social triage helps businesses deliver the right response more quickly, which improves sales and service performance and increases customer satisfaction," Param Kahlon, partner group program manager at Microsoft Dynamics CRM, wrote in a blog posting.

In addition, the Spring Wave update includes a set of preconfigured, mobile-friendly Web portals. They include a Customer Portal with self-service capabilities, a Community Portal, Employee Portal and Partner Portal, all aimed at helping organizations engage with external communities and resolve problems faster.

Another new feature is Learning Path, a set of guided navigation capabilities that come together to help Dynamics CRM users complete tasks and become more proficient with the software. Learning Path generates a personalized, context-sensitive user experience based on the task at hand, guiding users through the steps required to successfully complete a customer sales or support task.

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 network of...