You are most likely familiar with descriptive terms for software like CRM and ERP. These terms have been used for years to describe software that businesses run to manage their customer information, accounts, inventory, etc.
It's time to learn a new term; Intelligent Business Applications. Microsoft is leading this charge with the release of their Dynamics 365 platform which combines traditional CRM and ERP functionality as well as some new tools to help bind functionality together in end-to-end workflows.
Microsoft's CEO Satya Nadella spent time as the VP of the Business Division of Microsoft so he is no stranger to the Dynamics family of products. He is creating his legacy as Microsoft's leader and his vision is one platform that covers what was previously several (Office 365, Dynamics CRM and Dynamics ERP solutions).
What's the big deal? Is bundling these areas of functionality under one product/platform really going to be transformative for their customers? You bet it is! Being in the CRM space for 15+ years I am always trying to spot what's next. When I first encountered machine learning and more specifically how it could be applied to business applications I knew this is "what's next".
There is a statistic that says we only use about 20% of the data in any database...but why? There is only so much information we humans can digest so we typically focus on high-level summary data. Computers that perform machine learning and artificial intelligence can consume virtually unlimited amounts of data and help us humans decide what to act on. If you doubt these technologies head on over to YouTube and watch how IBM's Watson super computer handily beat humans at Jeopardy. This shows not only how computers can digest and analyze data but how they can also make decisions.
These technologies are also being utilized to build chat-bots. Chat-bots were designed to interact with humans in real-time, in a conversational manner. Chat-bots will be used as virtual sales and customer service resources. As a result they could significantly reduce expenses for businesses that adopt this technology. Will chat-bot technology be widely adopted? Think about the generation that is entering the workforce, do you think they would rather make a phone call or chat online to get a question answered, help with a problem, etc? If you have millennials in your life you know the answer to that question.
The next wave of business transformation will come from intelligent business applications like Dynamics 365 driven by machine learning and artificial intelligence. These tools will help people be more efficient and effective by driving behavior based on data. Dynamics 365 sets Microsoft up very well to lead this era as they will have a single platform and database that will provide end-to-end functionality & workflow from marketing to communication/collaboration to sales to back-office functions.
Beringer Associates is always here to provide expert knowledge in topics like these. Please contact us with any questions you may have.