The Gist

  • Start your AI engines. Microsoft launched Dynamics 365 Copilot, an AI-powered assistant for customer relationship management, sales, enterprise resource planning, customer service, marketing, ecommerce and supply chain.
  • CRM marketshare implications? Microsoft is trying to challenge Salesforce, which has 22.9% of the CRM market compared to Microsoft's 5.8%, according to IDC.
  • Write me some emails, please. The updates include email and summary writing for sales reps, AI-driven responses for contact center agents, marketing workflow and campaign improvements, ecommerce capabilities and supply chain management.

Microsoft made big waves this year with its ChatGPT investments and generative artificial intelligence enhancements to Bing search and its Edge browser — for better or for worse.

Today, it went down the customer experience and marketing path among others. Microsoft launched a new Microsoft Dynamics 365 Copilot, featuring AI-powered assistance across business functions in the arena of customer relationship management (CRM), sales, enterprise resource planning (ERP), customer service, marketing, ecommerce and supply chain. 

Microsoft is constantly playing catch-up to Salesforce in the world of CRM, with Salesforce claiming a dominant 22.9% of marketshare over No. 2 Microsoft (5.8%), according to last fall's IDC CRM tracker report. And now, it's trying to stay ahead of fierce competition in AI innovation circles, particularly Google, which made some generative AI developments and also had its share of setbacks.

Customer Experience and Marketing Meets AI in Dynamics 365

So what's up with these AI enhancements across Microsoft Dynamics 365?

Microsoft's aim is to arm workers in sales, service, marketing, operations and supply chain roles with AI capabilities. It drives home the long-talked-about themes of efficiency gains with AI in messaging about the AI updates to CRM and ERP systems: "They frequently require burdensome tasks like manual data entry, content generation and notetaking," noted Charles Lamanna, corporate vice president, Business Applications and Platform for Microsoft, in his March 6 blog post. "Dynamics 365 Copilot takes advantage of recent advancements in generative AI to automate these tedious tasks and unlock the full creativity of the workforce," he added.

Specifically, Microsoft updates include:

Learning Opportunities

  • Email/Teams summaries for sales reps. Copilot in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales and Viva Sales will help sales reps write email responses to customers and create an email summary of a Teams meeting in Outlook. The meeting summary pulls in details from the seller’s CRM.
  • Customer service answers for contact center agents. Copilot in Dynamics 365 Customer Service drafts contextual answers to queries in both chat and email; it also enables a chat experience over knowledge bases and case history. Includes the use of Azure OpenAI Service and Bing to provide answers from company websites and internal knowledge bases.
  • Marketing workflows, campaigns. Copilot in Dynamics 365 Customer Insights and Dynamics 365 Marketing is designed to allow marketers to:
    • Simplify their workflow in data exploration, audience segmentation and content creation.
    • Curate personalized and targeted customer segments by having a dialogue with their customer data platform using natural language.
    • Describe their customer segment in their own words to create a target segment with the query assist feature.
    • Create email campaign content with Copilot suggesting content based on key topics entered by the marketer, the organization’s existing marketing emails and from a range of internet sources.
  • Where commerce meets content. Copilot in Dynamics 365 Business Central helps ecommerce activities. Product attributes such as color, material and size for product descriptions can be improved for online storefronts.
  • Supply chain matters. Microsoft Supply Chain Center, which Microsoft Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management customers can access, will proactively flag external issues such as weather, financials and geography then surface impacted orders across materials, inventory, carrier, distribution network and more.

Related Article: Generative AI: Opportunities and Challenges for Marketing

Riding the Generative AI Train for Customer Experience Outcomes

Everyone's experimenting with generative AI today after the explosion of OpenAI's ChatGPT in November. That means vendors, too. LevelAI shared its news on improving the agent experience with CMSWire. Many others, such as Snapchat, have joined the software development party for AI.

Microsoft? It's trying to own each end of the experience spectrum — customer and employee — as the $1.93 trillion company continues to try to be the all-in-one business platform.

"The next era of business applications is being transformed by generative AI. Users will increasingly expect their CRM and ERP applications to include AI-powered expertise," Lamanna wrote. "Dynamics 365 Copilot brings the latest AI breakthroughs to every line of business, improving customer experience, employee experience and operational efficiency. Essential to our approach as we bring these latest advancements to customers is our commitment to responsible AI by design — our framework for the safe deployment of AI technologies."

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