Over the past two days, Microsoft’s Business Application Summit (MBAS), held in Atlanta (GA), has seen a not just a wave but a tsunami of announcements and enhancements for the 2019 release wave 2 plan. Lead by James Philips, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President, Business Application Group, opening keynote which set the stage for a raft of announcements that will change how business gets done (Watch his keynote, or read his article).
The summit included announcements on more than 400 enhancements to Microsoft Dynamics 365, updated Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities across many Microsoft solutions, a refreshed look for Power BI, the launch of AI Builder and PowerApps Portals, and new and improved intelligent automation in Microsoft Flow.
The 2019 release wave 2 enhances artificial intelligence capabilities to help organisations accelerate their transformation of customer service, sales, and marketing functions:
Sales Insights empowers teams with more foresight, to enhance productivity and better anticipate outcomes across the sales life-cycle.
Customer Service Insights provides an actionable view into critical performance metrics, operational data, and emerging trends using industry-leading artificial intelligence.
Virtual Agent for Customer Service enables organisations to create AI-powered bots that chat with customers and provides new opportunities for organisations to improve customer service through digital transformation.
Customer Insights enables every organisation to unify and understand their customer data to harness it for intelligent insights and actions.
Market Insights enables business users to gather actionable insights based on what consumers say, seek, and feel about their brands and products.
Fraud Protection enables the e-commerce merchants to drive down fraud loss, increase bank acceptance rates to yield higher revenue, and improve the online shopping experience.
Integration was also a priority, with Microsoft focused on improving companies’ visibility into their businesses. Customer Insights is one of the latest additions to Dynamics 365 AI offerings, bringing a company’s disparate transactional, observational and behavioral data together. It will create a richer, more complete view of customers to drive personalized engagement and will help companies spot trends and patterns for a more proactive approach.
The 2019 release wave 2 continues to add a whole new set of experiences to enhance employee productivity using mixed reality:
Remote Assist empowers technicians to solve problems faster the first time.
Layout provides a new way for space planners to bring designs from concept to completion with confidence and speed.
Product Visualise empowers salespeople to convey the true potential of their products to their customers by harnessing the power of augmented reality on their mobile devices.
Guides is a mixed-reality application for Microsoft HoloLens that enables employees to learn in the flow of work by providing holographic instructions when and where they need them.
Note: The plan describes functionality that may not have been released yet.
Power Platform advancements
In line with the Power Platform vision, more tools are being made available so the user community can take full advantage of what the Power Platform has to offer. These include:
New AI capabilities in Power BI – several new AI capabilities that enable users to detect objects in images, analyse free-form text, build new machine learning models, and automatically understand what drives outcomes, all with point-and-click simplicity.
Accelerating intelligent automation in Microsoft Flow with built-in AI – flow provides a powerful visual experience for a range of users to build everything from personal automation to business-critical enterprise-wide processes. With AI Builder, Microsoft are now making it easier for users and organisations to optimise these processes with intelligence without having advanced knowledge of how AI works.
Exciting new look for Power BI – a new look for Power BI, so it’s more closely aligned to the experiences in Office 365 already familiar to users around the world. The new user interface makes it easier than ever to create reports, explore data, get answers, and make decisions without having to learn specialised skills.