A Microsoft exec explains how its new supply chain management and customer service tools will help businesses become more resilient
- Microsoft wants to help businesses keep up with all of the changes wrought by the pandemic, including shifts in customer demand and supply chain, while also helping them address client concerns via all communication methods.
- The company announced new features for its supply chain management and customer service tools at its Ignite developers' conference this week.
- The new features are meant to drive the larger mission of the Dynamics 365 tools, which help organizations use data to make decisions, Alysa Taylor, corporate VP of Microsoft's Business Applications told Business Insider.
- "Capabilities like online commerce, curbside delivery, supply chain automation, remote work all are the type of capabilities that organizations need to build that resiliency and make sure that they can adapt for the future," Taylor said.
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Microsoft wants to help businesses digitize and adapt as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spur digital transformation across industries. An important part of that is making sure companies can keep up with changes in customer demand, maintain the supply chain, and address customer concerns via all communication methods.
"Capabilities like online commerce, curbside delivery, supply chain automation, remote work all are the type of capabilities that organizations need to build that resiliency and make sure that they can adapt for the future," Alysa Taylor, corporate VP of Microsoft's Business Applications told Business Insider.
Taylor's remarks came around Microsoft Ignite this week, where the company announced updates to many of its products, most prominently to its Dynamics 365 tools for businesses. Specifically, Microsoft announced a new voice feature for its customer service tools, and new features for its supply chain management and inventory tools.
The new features are meant to drive the larger mission of the Dynamics 365 tools, which help organizations digitize and use data to make decisions and analyze things like customer behavior, Taylor said, adding that organizations often have data in different, disconnected places, which can slow down progress.
New customer service and supply chain tools to help companies go digital
For example, when people reach out for customer service help, they may do it via phone, text, email, social media or other methods. The new voice feature in Dynamics 365 customer service tools will help make sure that phone calls are logged and recorded in a customer's record. That's especially important now when all customer service is being done remotely and agents themselves may be working remotely, Taylor said.
"To be able to have a holistic customer service offering that allows organizations to rapidly adapt and do things like remote customer service quickly — and have it be across all channels — we needed to add voice into the offering," she said.
The voice service is powered by the same technology that powers Microsoft Teams and is built directly into Microsoft's services (as opposed to being an outside tool connecting in). That allows users to do things like automatically transcribe a service call, analyze it, and send it to other agents.
The other updates around supply chain management are also meant to help improve the overall customer experience by improving a company's back-office operations. In order to enable things like online shopping and curbside pickup, companies need to be able to track and manage inventory and supply chains quickly.
The first feature lets companies run their warehousing work on Microsoft Azure, to make sure it is up and running 24/7. The second new feature allows companies to track inventory, including where products are in the supply chain.
It's to prevent things "like being out of inventory or stock outs or over stocking at one facility when the demand is at a different," Taylor said.
Overall, as the pandemic has forced businesses to change, Microsoft's tools for sales, service, supply chain, and commerce have helped companies adapt, Taylor said.
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