The Record - Issue 18: Autumn 2020

36 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om Accelerating the pace of Corporate vice president of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Muhammad Alam tells us about how the solution is a core component of today’s technological evolution, and how organisations are using it to modernise operations and address the challenges created by Covid-19 BY E L LY YAT E S - ROB E R T S I n recent years, the Dynamics offering has taken its users on a journey which has seen them leave behind a world of highly siloed data to gain a more panoramic view of the business landscape. How significant do you think that shift in approach has been in driv- ing an evolution in customer-centric services, empowered workforces and agile operations? We believe the shift has been massive. Business applications have historically been forms-over- data i.e. forms designed for end users to capture data through manual entry. That’s changing, and it’s changing because data is now coming from everywhere. In some cases it’s even com- ing before humans are engaged, via internet of things (IoT) sensors, cameras, social sites, devices, etc. This creates the need for organisations to not only have a strategy to deconstruct data silos that exist within an enterprise, but also be able to augment it with this new class of data that’s coming in real time. This leads to the need to reason over these large data sets in an efficient, intelligent and real-time manner to generate tar- geted, specific, contextual insights and actions for the end user. We call these data-first, artificial intelligence-infused applications. Dynamics 365 Customer Insights is a great example of a data-first app in our portfolio. It allows an organisation to bring customer data from any number of sources and create a pan- oramic view of the customers to be able to then improve and personalise the experience for them. For example, Unicef Netherlands is changing how they adapt to the new digital world to help fundraise from businesses and private house- holds. That is important because more and more supporters are using digital channels. With the help of Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, Unicef can now unify all donor-related data from a variety of different sources – such as actual donations, social data and direct marketing – to create dynamic segments for targeting donors. To take it one step further, Unicef acts upon these insights to personalise campaigns and donor messaging using Dynamics 365 Marketing. Thinkingabout that evolvedbusiness landscape, have you seen any variation in the cross-indus- try uptake of Dynamics and, if so, which par- ticular sectors are leveraging Dynamics most to deliver a competitive advantage? Evolving customer expectations and new technol- ogy is disrupting all industries – from retail, with change P RODUC T FOCU S : DYNAM I C S 3 6 5