Today’s workers are hungry for better digital tools, according to Four Ways Leaders Can Empower People for How Work Gets Done, a 2023 report from Microsoft thinktank WorkLab. Almost nine of 10 workers surveyed believe pursuing digital transformation is more important now than ever before. And they say teams would benefit most from solutions that make them more agile, make information more accessible, and allow them to automate tasks.
Microsoft Dynamics 365 has the potential to help organisations reap these benefits.
Businesses can custom-create a solution that works for them no matter their goals. The Total Economic Impact of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales, a study conducted by Forrester Consulting in 2022, reported that users see a 215 per cent return on investment over three years.
By unifying customer and business data, workflows, relationships and more in a single place, organisations can remove the complexity of digital transformation while improving engagement and reducing costs.
Food company Nestlé recently implemented Dynamics 365 solutions to improve its business operations. With assistance from partner KPMG, the organisation created a framework that utilises Dynamics 365 Finance, Supply Chain Management and Commerce to support its merger and acquisition projects. This has already helped it with the buyback of Nespresso distribution rights in Saudi Arabia.
“Thanks to built-in automations and functionalities in Dynamics 365, productivity increased in boutiques, call centre and after-sales activities, drastically removing paperwork and allowing employees to spend more time on value-added tasks, which improved both customer service and profitability,” says Manuel Sancho, global acquisitions and business development manager at Nespresso.
Dynamics 365 is also helping organisations drive change in their local communities. For example, NC Fusion, a non-profit organisation that provides sports programmes to youth and adults in North Carolina, USA, used Dynamics to reduce the number of girls quitting youth football leagues in the state. Chris Barnhart, leader of IT services at NC Fusion, uploaded player registration data to Power BI and found that 40 per cent of girls had quit their team by the age of 15.
Barnhart created a media campaign to convince girls to stay in the sport which included a television advert that aired in stadiums in the local area during the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. He then used Copilot in Dynamics 365 Customer Insights to write an accompanying email that was sent to thousands of families that use NC Fusion’s services.
“We’re inspired by NC Fusion’s campaign,” says Emily He, corporate vice president of business applications at Microsoft in a blog post on the Microsoft website. “It underscores the critical role generative AI capabilities like Copilot can play in enabling a local organisation to create content that connects with audiences in new ways.”
Convenience with Copilot
More than 63,000 organisations tried out the Copilot features of Dynamics 365 within the first six months of its introduction earlier this year.
Copilot offers a range of potential benefits, from enhancing customer experience to improving employee productivity.
For instance, the addition of Copilot in Sales and Viva Sales allows users to write AI-assisted email responses to clients, meaning they can save time and focus on other tasks. Meanwhile, in Business Central, Copilot is helping streamline the creation of product listings that are tailored to the desired tone of voice, format and length.
“Copilot brings the power of next-generation AI capabilities and natural language processing to Dynamics 365, working alongside business professionals to help them create ideas and content faster, complete time-consuming tasks, and get insights and next best actions just by describing what’s needed,” says He.
Indeed, saving time is the ‘most valued’ change that workers would like to see, according to a survey completed for Microsoft’s 2023 Work Trend Index: Annual Report. But in addition to the time-saving benefits, Copilot in Dynamics 365 has the potential to support organisations when unexpected problems arise in areas such as their supply chains and warehouse operations.
According to He: “In recent years, many businesses discovered that their current supply chain technologies are ill-equipped for an environment characterised by ongoing disruptions, constraints, and shortages. AI-enabled supply chain management can provide unprecedented visibility and insights, helping to solve disruptions before they happen.”
For example, in Supply Chain Center, Copilot uses intelligence from the news module to flag potential issues such as weather, financials and geography that may affect warehouse operations. Predictive insights can then show the orders impacted by these variables.
Innovation across the partner ecosystem
The Microsoft partner ecosystem is driving innovation in Dynamics 365 and providing ways for users to further enhance their business environments.
For example, Accenture, Avanade and Microsoft recently worked with Duke Energy, a utility firm based in the USA, to develop and build a solution on Microsoft Azure and Dynamics 365 that would help the firm find new ways to detect, monitor and remediate methane emissions. The platform ingests data from satellite monitoring and ground-level sensing technology and applies analytics and AI to assess the data and provide real-time insights that appear in graphic dashboards that are easily consumable.
Partner solutions can enhance existing processes, too. Examples include the configure, price, quote solutions from Experlogix and accounts payable automation from SignUp Software. Organisations such as Adobe and Shopify also have integrations designed for Dynamics 365 that introduce an extra level of flexibility and customisation within the platform.
“Our partners are transforming to address evolving customer needs, responding to their increased demand for the cloud, and delivering intellectual property and services that enable innovation, productivity, and customer success,” says Nicole Dezen, chief partner officer and corporate vice president of global partner solutions at Microsoft. “Along the way, we have seen partners adapt to the opportunities presented by new technology, from innovative uses of AI in every industry, to solutions enabling industries to operate more sustainably, to drive global impact.”
Microsoft continues to enhance Dynamics 365, with improved workflows and new potential uses for AI. Some of the new features users can expect soon include integration with Microsoft Fabric, integrated analytics with shared views of pipelines, new templates for customer journeys, and Copilot text editing and writing.
With a large and thriving partner ecosystem, there will be much more too.
We asked Microsoft partners about their latest developments for Dynamics 365
“Accelerynt is providing a comprehensive software suite of applications to empower Dynamics 365 users,” says Steven Chinsky, vice president of Dynamics practice at Accelerynt. “This suite enhances business operations by leveraging the platform’s capabilities and streamlining customer communications.”
“We customise Dynamics 365 CRM tools including Sales and Customer Service, to empower businesses to build stronger customer relationships, enhance operational efficiency and drive growth by providing a unified platform for customer data management,” says Brandon Gorton, customer relationship management team director at JourneyTEAM.
“In today’s dynamic business landscape, where customer interactions are at the heart of success, Upland InGenius is a leading computer telephony integration solution that harnesses the power of Dynamics 365 and phone systems to unlock full potential,” says Samantha Middlebrook, senior director of product marketing and management at Upland Software. “We empower contact centres to elevate their performance by enhancing productivity, measuring agent excellence and pinpointing areas of improvement.”
Read more from these partners as well as Avalara, Avaya, Cavallo, ClickLearn, Innovia Consulting, LBMC Technology Solutions and Mazars Microsoft Practice in the Autumn 2023 issue of Technology Record.