Well, it’s a piece of good news for all Dynamics 365 users as Microsoft is expanding its Dynamics 365 services now and that too with new online commerce and retail store management capabilities, among other features.
Yes, it's the news that the Commerce and Connected Store applications will extend the reach of Microsoft’s ERP and CRM suite, and offer a helping hand to retailers selling through multiple channels.
Moreover, Dynamics 365 got some new IoT analytics tools, including IoT Intelligence for SCM to help adapt production to changes in the supply chain and Product Insights to provide additional services to customers with connected devices.
Also, there are some latest tools for creating customer service chatbots and to monitor their performance, as well as enhancements to Microsoft’s customer data platform, Customer Insights, to help B2B sales staff identify “buying committees” within customer companies, and analyzing the purchasing process in more depth than the existing tools targeted at B2C sales teams permit.
Let’s have a brief knowledge of Dynamics 365 first to understand well.
What is Dynamics 365?
A product line of customer relationship management (CRM) applications and enterprise resource planning (ERP) is known as Dynamics 365, announced by Microsoft in July 2016, like Microsoft Dynamics product lines’ part.
In other words, when Microsoft combined Dynamics AX, its ERP application with its Dynamics CRM application, Dynamics 365 was created. Well, as it combines the capabilities of ERP and CRM natively, Microsoft was one of the first major vendors to do this.
Moreover, the Dynamics 365 suite is available in two editions, Enterprise or Business, each with different levels of features and applications.
Well, by combining Dynamics 365 CRM and ERP with Microsoft's productivity applications, the big benefit that users get is a connected view of data intelligence on customer records, behaviors, transactions, and preferences, along with information about orders, shipping, and inventory in addition to predictive insight tools for decision-makers.
Apart from that, Dynamics 365’s tight integration with other Microsoft business applications is its biggest benefit. Dynamics 365 provides more beneficial integration with sister products than most CRM systems that rely on third-party plug-ins, especially for companies that rely heavily on Office 365 and Outlook or that run operation on Azure.
And, besides all, as Dynamics 365 benefits, it enables easier training and improved efficiency and also includes a common UI throughout Microsoft's suite of business applications.
Know about Commerce Tools for Cricks & Clicks
At the presentation of this new software, Lorraine Bardeen, General Manager for Dynamics 365 Mixed Reality at Work, said,
“CEOs who participate in the retail industry are telling us it’s time to reinvent bricks-and-mortar.”
“They’re also saying commerce has to be available anywhere, anytime, any platform.”
Well, this has urged the organization to propose two new modules for Dynamics 365: Connected Store and Commerce.
To include e-commerce functions, the evolution of Dynamics 365 Retail is done which is what we call the Commerce module. It enables vendors to manage and create online stores, connecting it with existing retail outlets to provide in-store pick-up and suggest staff opportunities to upsell to clients in person.
Whereas, the other new module, Connected Store, is now available in private preview and uses cameras in stores to monitor customer behavior and stock levels. It will be a much bigger integration challenge for CIOs because of the additional hardware requirements.
To develop the module, Microsoft has worked with U.K. retailer Marks & Spencer.
Head of Technology for Retail at Marks & Spencer, Paul Airey, said,
“Customers are shopping differently: They’re shopping mobile, they’re shopping cross-channel, whether that’s browsing online and collecting in-store, or trying on in-store and going online to purchase it.”
“It’s a critical part of our transformation that we become a digital-first retailer.”
In a small store near the retailer’s headquarters in London, they have the system up and running, where monitoring the systems has enabled it to adjust staffing levels fully to match customer numbers.
He said that to alert staff through Microsoft Teams of any problems with the equipment, the next step is to add connected sensors to refrigerators.
So, now the store managers do not need to make decisions based on historical data as now they can do so by using real-time data from the Dynamics 365 dashboard.
As an addition to the existing Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management module, IoT Intelligence offers a new way to collect and analyze data from sensors in manufacturing and logistics facilities. Well, food manufacturer Majans is one of the first users, which is not only using it to prevent production problems but also to increase operational efficiency, said Microsoft’s Director of Dynamics Product Marketing Dina Apostolou.
She said that Product Insights, a new module, offers business analytics tools for dissecting telemetry from internet-connected products they have sold and also compares it with other data held about customers in Dynamics 365. Moreover, to flag unusual situations and help determine possible causes, it uses machine learning.
Manufacturer of industrial dishwashing equipment, Ecolab, is one of the first users of the module. Apostolou said that the company used the software to recommend water-saving configuration changes to other customers and to trace a drop in water consumption in some of its machines back to a particular firmware version.
Smarter Virtual Agents
Besides all, Microsoft revealed its plans for the Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service earlier this year. Well, including capabilities not previously announced, the tools to build these chatbots will now be released on 1st December. The tool drag and drop is built on Azure’s AI bot service and will enable organizations to test out their bots internally even before making them live on their external websites.
Apart from that Apostolou said that Microsoft would also offer dashboards to monitor the effect of bot interactions on overall customer satisfaction measured by Dynamics 365 and to evaluate time saved by having bots, instead of employees, respond to simple queries.That was all about how Microsoft is expanding its Dynamics 365 services!