When Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 comes to market later this year, its customer service component will have the necessary scale to handle requests from an IoT platform.
Microsoft announced the feature set of its next iteration of Dynamics CRM earlier this year, but coyly refused to provided details about the components beyond the productivity enhancements.
Instead, it said, it would release the specs for various functions in the coming weeks and months.
Today the customer service module gets its turn in the spotlight. And when you get a closer look at this newly-built component it becomes clear why Microsoft wanted to parcel out its briefings. There is a lot to absorb.
In general, the 2016 release "is the largest we have done for Microsoft Dynamics," Bill Patterson, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics told CMSWire.
That includes the customer service experience that has been completely rebuilt to handle high-scale interactions.
"This is the platform we will be taking forward for high-scale interactions," Patterson said.
"It can handle the unification of content streams from channels like Web, chat, social media and email as well as any channels that might deliver messages in high volume."
Yes, that means the Internet of Things (IoT).
The platform can be used to handle support requests or service calls from a device, Patterson confirmed.
He said there are partners in the early access program that are developing IoT solutions using Microsoft Dynamics CRM as the service component. One developer, he said, "has built a voice-to-case interaction solution for the Apple Watch as the customer facing engagement experience on the device."
"This is the kind of innovation we expect our channel to start doing."
The service component wasn’t designed only for the Internet of Things, however. Microsoft designed it to be agent-oriented -- human agents, that is -- with support for the complicated workflows that agents have now in customer centers.
For example, Patterson pointed to the interactions between Tier 1 and Tier 2 reps and their own separate workflows. Sometimes they need to interact to solve a customer problem; other times they don't. There are multiple work flows for all of these scenarios, Patterson said. "One thing we have learned is that customer service is not a one-size-fits-all for service reps."
This release is also the first by Microsoft to have artificial intelligence in the customer service wheelhouse.
The Unified Service Desk now includes the built-in capabilities of Power BI among other attributes, including Office 365 and Excel, to help agents not only track progress but also forecast customer needs, Bob Stutz, corporate vice president of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, wrote in a blog post discussing these and other changes to the customer service component.
"Our new release brings enhanced intelligence and insights to the next level in analytics-driven intelligence and a native knowledge management system for CRM," he wrote. "This means that organizations can capture — and access — information that helps them systematically resolve issues faster."
Azure Machine Learning has been added as well, Stutz continued, with the goal of improving agents' ability to provide answers to customers on the spot.
This should also give companies greater insight into the customer issues they are facing.
Stutz also reported that Microsoft is releasing a Service Productivity add-on for Office 365 Plan E3, E5 and Business Premium licensees.