Microsoft is adding new applications and features to its Dynamics 365 CRM and ERP portfolio, officials announced today, Sept. 23. Many of the new additions to the line-up are "AI-driven," which in this case, means they are built on various Microsoft AI technologies that are now part of a new "Azure AI" brand.
Microsoft currently sells several AI-centric "Insights" applications as part of its Dynamics 365 family of products. These include Customer Insights; Customer Service Insights; Market Insights; and Sales Insights. The company announced earlier this year that it would offer between Oct. 1 and March 2020 many incremental new features for these apps and others in the Dynamics 365 and PowerApps family as part of its Wave 2 release. Today, Sept. 23, Microsoft revealed yet more new features and products coming to the Dynamics 365 stable.
Microsoft is adding to its Customer Insights application support for business-to-business (B2B) transactions, in addition to the current business-to-consumer (B2C) support in the app. Microsoft originally made Customer Insights available in the spring of 2019, with the goal of using AI to improve the analysis of customer data. The B2B feature addition will be generally available as of Oct. 1.
Microsoft also is adding a brand-new app called Product Insights to its "Insights" family. Product Insights, available in public preview as of Oct. 1, will use AI to help customers better understand product use; to proactively design products and to resolve product issues.
Microsoft is adding new functionality to its Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service bot. Microsoft is improving the service so that customers can test their virtual gents internally before launching them publicly. The new-and-improved offering should be generally available December 1, officials said.
Microsoft also is releasing a new feature to its Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management product. This feature, IoT Intelligence, is meant to help customers see a real-time view of inventory; proactively manage operations to improve uptime, throughput, and product quality; and to predict and proactively resolve issues. This new IoT feature will be available in public preview starting Oct. 1.
The "AI" bits in these new features and apps come from several existing Azure AI services that Microsoft currently offers. Going forward, Microsoft is going to start referring to these various AI technologies as "Azure AI."
Azure AI includes machine learning (Azure Machine Learning, Azure Databricks, and ONNX); knowledge mining (Azure Search and Form Recognizer) and AI app/agent services (Azure Cognitive Services and Azure Bot Service). Microsoft is not planning to sell Azure AI as a packaged offering; the use of the term is more of a branding thing.
In other Dynamics 365 news, Microsoft is going to be replacing its Dynamics 365 Retail application with a new Dynamics 365 Commerce offering. Commerce will be available in private preview starting today, September 23. Microsoft describes the new Commerce app as "an evolution of Dynamics 365 Retail," which will now include end-to-end commerce capabilities. The new app is meant to unify the back office, in-store, call center, and digital experiences, officials said.
In addition, Microsoft is introducing a new Dynamics 365 Connected Store app, meant to provide a holistic view and more insights into what's happening inside a physical store location, which will allow customers to take proactive action.
Microsoft is starting its rollout of "Wave 2" of its Dynamics 365 suite on Oct. 1. The company is holding a virtual launch webcast about its Wave 2 plans on Oct. 10.