We continue our blog series by breaking down the improvements new Dynamics 365 AI features and capabilities offer.
In our last blog from our Dynamics CRM Never Stops Evolving series, we explored some of the most common, often overlooked high-value capabilities you can implement as quick wins to level up your system and ensure you get the most benefit from your tool. As you advance in your Dynamics 365 journey and continue to mature, implementing more advanced functionality and using AI can allow you to manage your business processes and gain insights, automate repetitive tasks, and get suggestions to optimize your activities and make intelligent decisions.
With new application features released almost daily, it’s hard to keep systems updated with the latest and greatest functionality.
To keep up, first, we must understand it’s about the (Dynamics 365) journey, not the destination.
Headlines about generative AI have recently popped up in every nook and cranny of published content across the internet. But if you recall from your early English courses, writing aims to achieve one of these four things – inform, persuade, explain and entertain.
I’ll venture to say some of the content produced about AI has informed and explained. However, the majority has heavily leaned toward the persuasion objective to convince you to implement these tools yesterday. Technology organizations opened Pandora’s box and are racing to be the first to dominate in this new product offering, encouraging businesses to adopt AI now.
In fairness, you should consider adopting AI tools and capabilities within your business applications as part of your roadmap. But before you get drawn to this new and shiny thing, we need to make sure your systems can support all the capabilities AI promises.
In this article, we’ll explore the latest Dynamics 365 AI features, including Copilot. We will also review how to adopt new capabilities effectively, and the importance of focus on enhancing your system’s maturity in specific areas to support these implementations. Here are the modules we’ll cover:
Unleashing the Power of Microsoft Dynamics 365 AI Features
Dynamics 365 is a suite of intelligent cloud business applications with products available to support various business processes across your organization, from customer-facing activities (CRM) to back-end operations (ERP).
Dynamics 365, among many other Microsoft products, is built on top of the Dataverse. Thanks to this common foundation, integration across other tools comes standard, allowing you to build an end-to-end business application ecosystem where all systems speak to each other and share data seamlessly.
For the sake of this article, we won’t dive into the core capabilities of each application. Instead, we will break down the latest AI features that infuse within these products to bring your platform to the next level and enable you to fully unleash the power of your Dynamics solution.
In recent releases, Microsoft emphasized its focus on AI capabilities and investments. Here is a list of some of the latest AI features organized by Dynamics product.
Dynamics 365 Sales
Analyzes data from email, calendar and historical customer interactions to provide relationship insights.
Who Knows Whom
Suggests the names of colleagues who can facilitate introductions to potential leads by calculating relationships based on email interactions and meetings.
Predictive Lead Scoring
Increases conversions by finding and prioritizing prospects who are more likely to convert.
Cross-Sell/Up-Sell and Product Recommendations
Suggests related products to increase sales.
Knowledge-based insights reflected in assistance cards on customer records, auto-capture of emails and meetings, email engagement to track read receipts and provide follow-up reminders. Includes sales accelerator, which summarizes and prioritizes the next best action and to-do items.
Improves forecasting accuracy using AI-driven models to review historical data and the sales pipeline to predict future revenue outcomes.
Supports intent and sentiment analysis, real-time conversation intelligence, conversation summary tagged to customer records, allowing you to easily schedule an action item after conversations.
Dynamics 365 Sales Copilot (formerly Viva Sales)
AI helps write email responses to customers and can even create an email summary of a Teams meeting in Outlook. Copilot can also automatically generate action items and provide information and real-time tips during sales calls based on brand and competitor mentions. Copilot can also auto-create email responses with customizable content, such as proposing a meeting date and time based on your Outlook availability.
Dynamics 365 Field Service
Resource Scheduling Optimization
Automatically schedules jobs to the people, equipment and facilities best equipped to complete them.
Predictive Work Duration
The predictive work duration feature learns from historical booking information and completion times. This feature can compute a more realistic duration based on factors such as past resource performance, the customer, and the type of work.
Predictive and Preventative Maintenance
Uses IoT sensors and AI to predict equipment failure and schedule maintenance before it occurs.
Dynamics 365 Customer Service
Conversational Analytics to Identify Trends and Issues in Cases
Detects emerging trends and identifies opportunities for improvement across support topics, agent-customer interactions, and knowledge management.
Uses conversational analytics to identify issues based on patterns and trends recognized across various interactions and cases.
D365 Customer Service Copilot
Saves agents’ time by using generative AI to search for relevant and accurate information on trusted websites and internal documents, including previously resolved issues and knowledge articles.
Uses the power of generative AI with Copilot to quickly resolve cases by efficiently searching and obtaining information from trusted websites, internal documents and past cases.
Uses Copilot to quickly create chat responses, draft emails and summarize conversations for agents to quickly get caught up with a task.
With Power Virtual Agents, you can enable self-service for your customers and enhance the experience with intelligent chatbots that include generative AI capabilities embedded into the chat experience as they resolve their issues.
Helps agents be more efficient with real-time insights, visibility into active conversations, and proactive recommendations.
Gets real-time insights while agents work within the platform with insights and recommendations generated during interactions and while working on cases such as customer sentiment, recommended knowledge articles to resolve a case, and more.
Routes cases to the best agent for the job based on availability, skills, workload, urgency, customer sentiment and more.
Seamlessly verifies your customer’s identity, offering a smooth customer service experience using voice and behavioral recognition.
Dynamics 365 Customer Insights (Formerly D365 Marketing, which will combine with Customer Insights into a single solution)
AI-Powered Customer Journey Orchestration
Uses the automated scheduler feature to automatically schedule message deliveries to each contact based on the best time to email – calculated by the AI for that contact to improve open rates.
AI-Powered Customer Segmentation With D365 Customer Insights Copilot
Leveraging the query assist capability, this feature allows users to enhance or generate customer segments by describing a target audience with natural language.
Content Generation With D365 Customer Insights Copilot
Uses AI to assist with inspiration and generate content for emails you can then refine as needed to expedite the content generation process.
Analyzes the content of each marketing email message and generates a score that predicts how likely it is to be flagged by content-based spam filters.
Enables customer journeys to schedule message deliveries to individual contacts automatically, based on the AI’s calculation of the best time to email that contact.
Dynamics 365 Customer Insights (to be combined with D365 Marketing as a single offering in September 2023)
Generate Suggested Segments
Provides suggestions for new customer segments based on customer attributes and defined measures.
Get Insights on Segments With D365 Customer Insights Copilot
Discovers additional information and insights around your existing segments. Finds what differentiates two segments or what they have in common. Uses natural language to ask Copilot questions about your data in Customer Insights.
Find Similar Customers
Finds similar customers in your customer base.
Predict Customer Lifetime Value
Predicts potential value (revenue) that individual, active customers will bring into your business through a defined future time.
Predict Product Recommendations
Predicts product recommendations based on previous purchase behavior and customers with similar purchase patterns.
Predict Subscription Churn
Predicts whether a customer is at risk for no longer using your company’s subscription products or services.
Predict Transactions Churn
Transactional churn prediction helps predict if a customer will no longer purchase your products or services in a given time window.
Audience Segmentation With Copilot
Uses natural language to describe and create customer segments.
Dynamics 365 Finance
Leverages AI to identify and prevent fraud by analyzing transaction data and detecting patterns and anomalies.
Business Performance Analytics
Uses AI to analyze financial data and provide insights into cash flow, revenue and expenses.
Collections Management With D365 Finance Copilot
Uses D365 Finance Copilot (preview) to stay on top of collections to ensure timely payments and reminders and streamlines the data gathering activities to retrieve historical information like the last payment date and amount owed.
Dynamics 365 Project Operations
Project Plan Creation With D365 Project Operations Copilot
Uses natural language to prompt Copilot to generate a project plan based on project requirements.
Project Status Report Creation With D365 Project Operations Copilot
Uses natural language to automatically generate a project status report and leverage Copilot to identify risks and suggestions for mitigation plans.
Use OCR for Receipt Capture
Allows you to enter expense report receipts easily, using OCR to capture necessary details to expedite expense submissions.
Dynamics 365 Supply Chain Management
Uses AI to analyze demand forecasts and inventory levels to optimize and reduce waste.
Sensor Data Intelligence
Enables predictive and preventative maintenance by analyzing data collected from machines and equipment.
Dynamics 365 Business Central
Brand Descriptions With D365 Business Central Copilot
Creates marketing copy tailored to your brand.
Sales and Inventory Forecasting (Extension)
Predicts future demand using historical data and uses this insight to accurately forecast necessary inventory to avoid stockouts and create replenishment requests to your vendors.
Late Payment Predictions (Extension)
Uses AI to predict if sales invoices will be paid on time, enabling you to optimize your collections process and minimize outstanding receivables.
Cash Flow Analysis
Provides predictions for your future cash flow based on historical data with Azure AI.
Now that we’ve looked at the new features AI will enable let’s take a closer look at Copilot, specifically.
The shift to the Dataverse not only enabled tight integration across business applications due to their common infrastructure foundation but also opened up the ability to harness the powerful AI features available in the Power Platform. Dynamics users can take advantage of AI capabilities with Power Virtual Agents, AI Builder, Viva Sales and Microsoft Copilot.
Microsoft Copilot is the recently released AI assistant embedded across Microsoft business applications that can suggest optional actions and content recommendations within the context of the task at hand, harnessing the power of your data combined with search (using Bing and Microsoft Azure Cognitive Search) and Microsoft Graph.
Microsoft Copilot can provide AI assistance across several Microsoft 365 and Dynamics 365 products within your enterprise. Together, these tools provide game-changing results, leading to efficiency and productivity for your team.
Note: At the time of writing this article, Microsoft announced that, along with Microsoft 365 Copilot, Dynamics 365 Copilot will be a more role-based experience with Copilots that can work on domain-specific tasks with application context and leverage data across your Dataverse. In the above features described, those associated with Copilot are explicitly called out within the feature name.
If you have questions about data security and compliance, you can rest assured that Copilot accesses your data in a secure and compliant way and does not use customer data to train models. Microsoft also prioritizes information accuracy. Copilot cites public sources to see the origin of the content generated and what it has referenced to enable factual accuracy.
For Details on Copilot capabilities with Microsoft 365, check out this Microsoft article.
Preparing for Change
To ensure you get the most out of your applications and unleash the full power of Dynamics, it starts with a solid foundation built on people, process and data quality.
Technology tools are meant to empower us to do great work. Still, without the process to standardize this work and use new tools, it results in poor data quality and adoption of new technologies, which will result in less efficiency!
How You’ll Get There
All AI capabilities we mentioned serve the purpose of making your business processes and tasks more efficient by prompting you with relevant information and context at the right time and place when interacting with your tools. Your system must mature in the following areas to ensure the information provided is accurate and helpful.
- All features and capabilities are cloud solutions – as such, cloud deployments are a prerequisite to getting started.
- Data Collection Maturity
- Standardization in data collection and the related business processes is key to ensuring the proper information is available to allow for seamless data sharing across your products and accuracy in AI features.
- Integration Maturity
- Ensuring proper integration and data centralization is key to ensuring all automation and workflow functionality, as well as AI features, work as expected.
We are excited about the future of Dynamics and AI. Stay tuned for the final article of this series, where we provide an overview of steps to take and tips to keep in mind for maintaining your CRM system and ensuring you continue to evolve and scale your system to continue driving value.