Microsoft Corp. released a wide swath of updates and releases for its Dynamics 365 suite this week, largely focussed on AI-powered insight tools and new applications for the world of retail.

AI-powered insight tools

The AI tools that have been released or updated are Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, Dynamics 365 Product Insights, Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent for Customer Service, IoT Intelligence for Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management.

Customer Insights: Released earlier this year, Customer Insights is a pre-built Customer Data Platform that was largely focused on B2C transactions. The update focuses more on B2B transactions, adding the ability to add an organization as a first-class entity, and map leads and contacts to buying groups, accounts, and account hierarchies; thus enabling users to build segments and measure relationships between accounts and contacts.

Product Insights: A new tool entirely, Product Insights is a tool designed to facilitate the communication of experiential data from a physical connected device (like a smart fridge, for example), thus allowing organizations to analyze the customer interactions with the product to help them make improvements to products and customer experiences in the future.

Virtual Agent: As part of the update to the existing Virtual Agent solution, Microsoft has released new authoring and web publishing capabilities that will allow users to deploy their virtual agent on a mock website for testing and feedback before moving it onto a live website for true deployment. Post-deployment users will also now have access to a new dashboard of AI-powered insights which will include overall satisfaction scores, main topics that tend to drive conversation, and even a brand-new “hours saved” metric.

IoT Intelligence: Through new IoT capabilities, the brand-new IoT Intelligence feature will allow users to have a new sense of sight into their production operations. By combining this data with the stock data of their distribution arm, users can keep an eye on demand and prepare to stock up on products proactively. Additionally, by monitoring data coming from production tools, organizations will be able to predict when devices need maintenance.

Retail tools

The new retail tools from Dynamics 365 – this applies to both Dynamics 365 Commerce and Dynamics 365 Connected Store – are designed with the concept of bringing digital channels like mobile and web together with the physical store for a more seamless shopping experience.

Dynamics 365 Commerce: A brand new application, the omnichannel commerce tool is said to unify the back-office, in-store, call center, and digital experiences. The app also brings with it insights focused on assisting with decision-making and customization of the shopping experience.

Dynamics 365 Connected Store: The Connected Store attempts to bring the type of insights you can attain in a digital store into the reality of the physical stores. By leveraging data from video cameras and IoT sensors throughout the store, the flow of efficiency in the store can be optimized. For example, notifications could be sent to the phones of employees to alert them that more cashiers are required, based off of data from the video cameras that show a crowded cashier area.

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