Microsoft Inspire 2019: Key Updates and Highlights

Microsoft Inspire 2019 stayed true to its motto ‘Together, we achieve more!’. The recently concluded event celebrated innovation and partnership. This year, the event was bigger and better with 450+ sessions. In this article, we share some of the key updates and highlights from Microsoft Inspire 2019.

 

Azure Lighthouse is Available for All

Azure Lighthouse enables service providers to deliver managed services across customers at scale with higher automation, governance and efficiency. Lighthouse is powered by Azure Delegated Resource Management that helps partners manage customer engagement and life-cycle operations easily. With the Azure Resource Manager Template, you can automate workflows such as customer onboarding reducing the need for manual operational tasks.

For customers, Azure Lighthouse offers a single control plane through which they can manage partners with precise and granular access. Lighthouse offers get greater visibility into the operations of a partner building transparency and auditability.

Learn more about Lighthouse

Azure Lighthouse

Image Source: Microsoft

Azure Cloud Adoption Framework and Azure Migration Program

Moving your business to the cloud requires both cultural readiness and systems readiness. The cloud adoption framework for Azure provides proven guidance that will help organizations develop and implement strategies to migrate to the cloud successfully. The framework comes with best practices guides, documentation and other resources that will help organizations to meet its cloud objectives.

Azure Cloud Adoption Framework

Image Source: Microsoft

 

The Azure Migration Program will help customers to get in touch with Microsoft experts and cloud migration partners to start their cloud journey. Customers will get step-by-step guidance from partners, access to foundational and role-specific courses to develop in-house skills and capabilities, access to free tools like Azure Migrate, Azure Cost Management and exclusive offers to reduce cloud migration costs.

Learn more about Azure Cloud Migration Program

 

Microsoft Teams Reaches 13 Million Daily Active Users

Last year was a breakout year for Microsoft Teams. Just 2 years after its launch, Teams now boasts 13 million Daily Active Users (DAU) and 19 million Weekly Active Users (WAU). A hub for teamwork, Teams is now empowering a global workforce. Microsoft Teams is now available in 52 languages and 181 markets.

Microsoft Teams

Image Source: Microsoft

New Features:

  • Announcements: enables channel members to bring attention to important updates.
  • Cross-channel posting: post messages in multiple channels simultaneously across the same or different teams.
  • Channel moderation: empowers team owners to designate moderators for channels to manage communication.
  • Priority notifications: alerts recipients of time-sensitive messages by alerting them every 2 minutes until a response is received.
  • Read receipts: indicates when a message has been read in chat displays.
  • Time clock: allows workers to clock-in and clock-out of their shifts and breaks using their Teams mobile app. The feature also allows managers to create and share shift schedules with his team.
  • Targeted communication: @mentioning the role name in a post will help people to reach everyone in that role.

Dynamics 365 Industry Accelerators

Industry solution accelerators are base components that enable Independent Software Vendors (ISV) to build and deploy industry vertical solutions easily. Accelerators ensure ISV’s adhere to industry standards supported by Microsoft.

At Inspire 2019, Microsoft expanded Dynamics 365 industry accelerators to include automotive and financial services. Update to Dynamics 365 non-profit accelerator was also announced. The portfolio of industry accelerators supported by Microsoft now includes:

  1. Healthcare
  2. Education, including higher education and K-12
  3. Non-profit
  4. Media
  5. Automotive
  6. Banking

The customer journey in the automotive industry involves several touchpoints which inevitably results in data silos. With the rise of ride-sharing apps and shared mobility, customer experience in the automotive industry is a necessity more than a need. The automotive accelerator will help ISV partners to develop and develop customer experience management solutions easily.

 

Dynamics 365 Banking Industry Accelerator

Image Source: Microsoft

Expectations from customer services continue to increase in the banking sector. To provide the best possible experience, banking and financial institutions require solutions that will help them get an end-to-end view of a customer’s profile. With the financial service accelerator, ISVs can build solutions that cater to these needs easily.

 

HoloLens 2

Julia White’s keynote on HoloLens 2 was a standout session for us.. and it was in Japanese! Watch the video below to find out why.


To relive the action and watch the sessions on-demand, visit: https://partner.microsoft.com/en-us/inspire

How Retailers Can Drive Productivity with Microsoft Power Platform

The modern retailer is challenged with sustaining business growth and accelerating new product innovation without losing one’s eye on the customer. Here are the challenges faced by retailers:

  • How to transform a potential customer into a loyal customer.
  • Move from disparate, siloed reporting to a single source of truth.
  • Create a foundation for advanced operational analytics.
  • Improve customer experience and innovate by leveraging data.

The risk of losing customers to competitors is a common fear of the retailer. It can only be overcome when retailers adapt a strategy that allows them to create a meaningful and useful experience for the customer. What is needed is an architecture that helps in identifying the customer’s changing tastes and how to make better decisions with changing behaviours. The way forward is in adopting flexible and adaptive systems. AI Builder, PowerApps portals, Power BI, Microsoft flow – helps to create automated workflows between your favourite apps and services to get notifications, synchronize files, collect data, and more.

 

What are AI Builder and PowerApps and How They are Beneficial for Different Industries

In order to leverage AI and machine learning to make apps and automation more intelligent, AI builder provides solutions for app makers to solve everyday tasks like – forms processing, object detection, and text and binary classification.

Where PowerApps enable the employees to create apps for business, AI builder enables in adding AI capabilities to those apps. Banking, hospitality, manufacturing and many more industries are potential users for AI builders. In the retail industry, forms processing can be used for invoices or tax forms to extract information from these documents. Object detection – In the retail industry, it can be used to simplify inventory management, allowing retail leaders to focus on on-site customer relationship building. For instance, a retailer can improve customer service by using AI to analyze customer feedback responses, map them into categories, and generate an AI model to classify and respond to customer feedback as it is received.

The manufacturer, distributor, marketer of the full line of Pepsi-Cola products giant G&J Pepsi has more than 1600 employees. The G&J Pepsi IT team uses AI Builder and PowerApps to create the next generation of their Store Audit App, enabling better mobility and efficiency for field personnel whose job is to assess product needs on the shelves in stores.

“With AI Builder, we were able to easily build an AI model to help automatically identify and track our products using the object detection model. For our field worker, it’s now as simple as taking a photo and letting AI builder do the rest.” – Eric McKinney, Enterprise Business Systems Manager at G&J Pepsi.

AI Builder makes it easier for users and organizations to optimize processes and intelligence without having advanced knowledge of how AI works. The no-code AI builder capability is also coming to Microsoft Flow. Flow provides a visual experience for a range of users.

 

How Microsoft Flow Extracts Meaningful Data from Images and Text

Today, many processes involve paper forms such as a rental or job application. Historically, the first step in processing these forms would be to have someone look at the paper and manually type in each of the fields on their PC.

Now with AI Builder and Microsoft Flow, flows can automatically pick up scanned documents from an incoming email or a file server and recognize all the content. Based on the values in the form, different steps can run—from sending out simple notifications to performing a credit check.

For instance, the field teams at G&J Pepsi have always embraced technology on behalf of their customers. When the IT department was tasked with delivering more on-the-go services for the company, they embraced the opportunities and challenges. By using Microsoft PowerApps, Power BI, and Microsoft Flow, the seven-person team created custom applications to automate the company’s store audit and merchandising process. They were able to build, deploy, and manage this scalable end-to-end solution without previous app development experience.

Power BI dashboards visualize the data for quick overviews and deep dives into the numbers, and Microsoft Flow—another cloud-based service—triggers alerts to the relevant teams.

Microsoft Flow for Retail
Image source: Microsoft

Microsoft Flow enables users to automatically process and route analog forms. The retailer doesn’t have to remember everything. The AI builder learns and improves itself. For example, it can predict the risk of an application and, depending on how high that risk is, add additional approval actions to a business process. All of this is possible for Flow makers without having any expertise or experience with AI.

 

What is Blockchain and How it is Used in PowerApps and Microsoft Flow

Blockchain can bring trust and transparency to business processes that span multiple business partners.

Applications built on blockchain using PowerApps and Microsoft?Flow?can easily create attestable workflows that bring together data from every point in the business process across the value chain. For mobile clients, PowerApps can effortlessly capture all of the information from the phone’s sensors (barcodes, photos, GPS coordinates, etc.) and send it to a smart contract on a blockchain.

Some industry examples that leverage the power of blockchain and the Power Platform include:

  • Multi-party supply chain: manage shrinkage risk between point-of-manufacturing and point-of-sales by building applications and workflows that provide irrefutable proof of delivery of shipments.
  • Food safety: retailers can get real-time insights when goods that can be impacted by temperature and humidity are in transit. Blockchain can provide real-time insight with trustworthy data that can help avoid costly public health issues, streamline return processes, and dispute resolution.
  • Attest genuine media: Build applications that can attest and/or validate that media is genuine with PowerApps and Flow.

What is Power BI and How it Helps Retailers

Power BI has been a pioneer in applying AI to business intelligence and making AI accessible to everyone. New AI capabilities enable retailers to detect objects in images, analyze free-form text, build new machine learning models, and automatically understand what drives outcomes, all with point-and-click simplicity.

Kinepolis is a cinema group operating 53 complexes throughout Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Spain, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and Poland, as well as 44 cinemas in Canada. The company uses Power BI AI capabilities to understand how they can improve their visitor experience by analyzing the sentiment of customer reviews and tweets.

“Kinepolis serves visitors in and from many countries, who vocalize their opinion through various channels. With text analytics in Power BI, we are able to structure and analyze all this feedback. It allows us to score the sentiment of our visitor reviews without investing in the data science behind it.” – Carlo Wambeke, technical lead BI at Kinepolis.

A retailer can make better and informed decisions, improve operations with Microsoft Flow – with built-in AI builder, PowerApps portals and Power BI – without having any expertise or experience with AI.


Sysfore, A Microsoft Cloud solution provider and a Gold Partner, uses a leading network, technology, and service expertise to deliver our service anytime, virtually anywhere, quickly and efficiently. We have helped over 80 small enterprises and 30 mid-sized enterprises across the globe for successful cloud migration in the past 8 years. Contact our experts today and we will help you find the perfect solution for your business. Write to us at info@sysfore.com or give us a call at +91 (80) 4110 5555


 

Top 5 Trends Revolutionizing Customer Service in the Manufacturing Industry

The digital revolution in manufacturing has given rise to Industry 4.0. The advances in automation, robotics, big data analytics, human-machine interaction, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT) has made current industries smarter. The modern manufacturing plant is now able to capture and harness large volumes of data generated from various operations. Big data analytics and AI, especially, has helped unlock enormous value from the data captured which has changed the nature in which the industries work.

Industry 4.0 has also created a connected ecosystem between manufacturers and customers. Customers and business buyers are now more empowered than ever before and can exercise informed choice in choosing manufacturers.

Customer experience in the manufacturing industry

Source: The state of service in manufacturing

 

Need for Customer Centricity in the Manufacturing Industry

The connected ecosystem has created a global marketplace where manufacturers cannot solely rely on price or quality of their products as the primary differentiators. Customers now demand more from manufacturers than just on-time production and delivery. A recent research by Salesforce states that over half (52%) of manufacturing executives with service oversight say their company has an increasingly difficult time competing based on product differentiation. Among that same group, 86% believe customer experience is a key competitive differentiator. Customer centricity in the manufacturing industry is no longer a value-add but a necessity. Adopting a customer-centric approach and delivering personalized services is helping manufacturing companies to win customer loyalty and grow their businesses.

Here are the top 5 trends revolutionizing customer service in the manufacturing industry:

  1. Increased investment in customer service
    Apart from investing in R&D to optimize operations and improve product quality, manufacturers are now investing more in improving customer service. Over two-thirds (68%) of manufacturing service teams have increased budgets over the past two years and 69% forecast budget increases over the next two years.
  2. Building deep customer relationships
    Customer service teams are focused on building deep relationships with their customers. Service teams have built comprehensive customer views to help them understand a customer’s full history with the company. This has helped the service teams to provide personalized support and a consistent experience across all channels to their customers.
  3. Proactive servicing and predictive maintenance
    The Industrial Internet of Things is enabling manufacturers to provide predictive maintenance services to their customers. With the help of connected sensors and devices, manufacturers are able to anticipate and offer proactive customer service before a need arises.
  4. Omnichannel services to meet the needs of connected customers
    Manufacturing service teams have moved beyond call centres and routine visits by field service teams to providing streamlined consistent experiences across multiple channels. Customers now have access to self-service portals like knowledge bases, online forums and on-demand support through channels such as live chat support (voice & video), mobile apps, support through social media channels and dedicated customer portals.
  5. Artificial Intelligence for customer service
    Forward-thinking manufacturers are already researching on how they can use AI to improve customer service. One such research is on the use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to run self-diagnosis to offer predictive maintenance. 73% of business buyers expect that, by 2020, companies will provide products that can self-diagnose issues and automatically order replacement parts or service.

Connected customers have high expectations from manufacturers. The digital revolution has now enabled dissatisfied customers to easily take their business elsewhere. Customer service teams, which earlier used to be cost centers are proving to be the key differentiator for manufacturing companies. The top manufacturers of the world have already increased their investment on customer service teams, modernizing services and streamlining communication to provide a consistent experience across channels, it is now up to the others to join the bandwagon to stay afloat in this competitive market.

Smartify 365 – a comprehensive customer engagement solution designed for the distribution and manufacturing industry

Smartify 365 delivers operational excellence alongside intelligent sales and customer experience to businesses in the manufacturing and distribution industry to quickly manage multiple vital operations effectively from the central application. Built on top of the robust Microsoft Dynamics 365 customer engagement platform, Smartify 365 supports businesses to harness cross-sell opportunities and unearth other streams of revenue. By clearly defining various users and roles, it is designed to seamlessly enable collaboration between different departments in an organization and achieve higher productivity.

Some of the key modules and features of Smartify 365 are as below:

  1. Sales engagement
  2. Warranty management
  3. Service management
  4. Work Order Management
  5. Country-specific accounting localization

Read more about Smartify 365 here

 


Get your business smartified now

Contact our experts today to learn how you can implement Smartify 365 in your organization and find the perfect solution for your business. Write to us at info@sysfore.com or give us a call at +91 (80) 4110 5555 for a free consultation.