Microsoft Business Application Summit

Last month I was in Atlanta, attending the Microsoft Business Applications Summit. One of the key themes for the summit was Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI was a topic of discussion everywhere irrespective of the session I went to listen, a workshop I attended to try things out, or conversations I was having with Microsoft or other attendees of the summit. Microsoft had AI as a focal point across the board for Business Applications.

AI is making its presence felt across other offerings such as Virtual Agents, Omni Channel Hub, Power Platform, etc. within the Microsoft Technology stack.

A lot of times I get asked, “why AI”, when Sales and Service as functions are highly focused on human interactions, creating a more personal and intimate experience compared to AI. The answer is to understand that it is not a replacement to human interaction and relationship sales or service, but rather a complementary offering making the customer experience more rich, effective, and efficient.

AI is gaining traction and popularity, and now there is less skepticism and more readiness to embrace AI to aid human decision making. Any help available in a complex sales or service environment is welcome and is appreciated by today’s savvy sales and service organisations.

Sales Insights

AI for Sales aka Sales Insights is to make sure that sales teams are not bogged down with administrative tasks which could be done by AI or help sales teams with insights that make the human interaction more meaningful. AI is meant to help improve the scoring of leads and opportunities, help forecast better, and connect the dots between activities and tasks for an account, contact, or an opportunity. From a sales context, it is all about making the sales cycle more Personal, Proactive and Productive. It is to drive Sales Agility and make CRM a system of intelligence and not a system of data entry.

Customer Service Insights

AI for Customer Service aka Customer Service Insights is to help deliver exceptional customer service across the channels of engagement. Get real-time insight on customer sentiment, agent performances, team utilisation, and emerging trends across channels of engagement, etc. With the latest offering of Omni Channel Hub, things like intelligent routing of workload, real-time view of KPIs, pre-defined responses helping faster resolutions is going to be real. It is all about making customer service convenient, intuitive, and efficient.

To compete in today’s complex and challenging business environment and not be caught off guard by disruptive industry events, AI needs to be part of business strategy and execution.

Stay tuned for a more detailed view on each of the AI capabilities from Microsoft across the Business Applications.

Meanwhile, you can assess the AI readiness for your organisation using this link.

Ketan Chowhan

Practice Lead, Customer Engagement