Technology Record - Issue 22: Autumn 2021

58 www. t e c h n o l o g y r e c o r d . c om F E ATUR E A mong the biggest news to come out of Microsoft’s Redmond campus this past year was the launch of its new Industry Clouds. Muhammad Alam, corporate vice president of Dynamics 365, says these new platforms have been created to give businesses an end-to-end service that encompasses transformation at the infrastruc- ture, data and artificial intelligence layer, through to productivity and business process software-as- a-service (SaaS) applications, all tailored to the specific needs of each industry. And Dynamics 365 integrates directly with this offering. “Along with Azure, Power Platform, Microsoft 365 and Teams, Dynamics 365 plays a critical part in the transformation of these industries by providing a base of front- and back-office capa- bilities that are uniquely enhanced for each verti- cal,” he says. “In Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare and Microsoft Cloud for Financial Services, our Dynamics 365 customer engagement applications – along with components built on top of Power Apps – create a set of complete, relevant experi- ences for our customers in those industries. “Going forward you can expect Microsoft to continue to bring more industry solutions to the market. Dynamics 365 will be an integral ingre- dient in powering the SaaS business application layer of those solutions, helping our customers get started quickly in the transformation.” In many cases, digital transformation initia- tives have been accelerated by the pandemic. “We have seen customers drive their dig- ital commerce plans in a big way across all industries,” says Alam. “Retail customers have adopted new models such as curb-side pick-up, businesses have invested in technology to ena- ble more engagement and real-time connections with their own clients and prospects, and we have seen a lot of organisations accelerate their adoption of mixed reality applications such as Dynamics 365 Remote Assist and Dynamics 365 Guides to help operate in a virtual and socially distanced environment. This rapid adoption of Microsoft technologies powering business trans- formation took place within a matter of months in some cases, where the original plans were multi-year adoption.” Many regions are now seeing an easing of pandemic-related restrictions and organisations are looking to the adoption of new technologies to restructure their businesses and rebuild trad- ing positions. According to Alam, the accelerated adoption of technology is showing no signs of slow- ing down. He highlights two specific areas where change is prevalent: customer experience and cre- ating resilient and responsible supply chains. “Most businesses are looking to fundamentally transform how they think of their customer BY E L LY YAT E S - ROB E R T S Businesses are using Dynamics 365 alongside Microsoft’s new Industry Clouds to transform customer experiences, create resilient supply chains and pursue sustainable operations. Corporate vice president of Dynamics 365 Muhammad Alam tells us more Accelerating transformation