Microsoft Takes Aim at Salesforce With Dynamics AI

Microsoft adds two more Dynamics 365 AI apps to its roadmap

Microsoft this week announced that starting next month, it will make available previews of a range of customer relationship management (CRM) applications that embed artificial intelligence (AI) functionality directly within a suite of packaged applications that require no application development effort or training of AI models on the part of an internal IT organization. Rather, it is catching up to the industry trend of embedded AI within business applications. The Dynamics 365 business applications come integrated with Office 365 and natively built on Microsoft Azure.

If we can democratize the use of AI tools, any company can harness the power of AI.

The HoloLens announcements are hardly breaking new ground either, but again these applications are well thought through, and help demonstrate that HoloLens is not just a leisure device - it has a serious role in the industrial sphere.

Reuters said that "Microsoft also announced the launch of Dynamics 365 AI for sales, customer service and market insights", suggesting a push towards making the HoloLens and its programs more mainstream. Both the AI tools and HoloLens use cases can make Dynamics data more valuable; Microsoft can also make the pitch that its various offerings together provide benefits that are greater than the sum of the parts. The October 2018 releases will include more than 100 incremental updates to the core Dynamics Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Portals, Omni-channel Engagement Hub, Field Service, Project Service, Social Engagement, Finance and Operations, Talent, Retail, and Business Central products and services.

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Dynamics 365 AI for Market Insights. For sales teams, for example, Microsoft says it is leveraging AI to assist salespeople in using their time more effectively, provide answers for the most common questions on sales performance, and analyze the sales pipeline.

"Previously it was required to fly in an inspector to a facility in Singapore once a month to inspect equipment".

Citing oil company Chevron Corp's use of the applications, Microsoft said they help to remotely collaborate with and assist firstline workers and remote experts, reducing travel time.

Branded Dynamics 365 AI, the new features are a clear response to Salesforce, which launched its own AI features under the decidedly catchier brand Einstein back in 2016. Mixed reality, Gownder argues, has already proven its viability for businesses, but needs "this kind of continuous software innovation to truly succeed".

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