Announcing general availability of Dynamics CRM Spring 2016 Wave and new Connected Field Service solution: Customer engagement at the core of digital transformation

Business today is customer driven to a degree it has never been before. Thanks to the Internet, social media, and the proliferation of mobile devices, it is easier than ever for customers to research products and services, as well as seek opinions from friends and peers. It is also much easier for customers to switch from one brand to another.

Customers are no longer just looking for products, but for an experience — and by 2020 that experience is going to be more important to them than price or the product itself.1 Companies that are able to evolve from simply selling products to creating and delivering value-add services and experiences that build long-term relationships with customers will be better positioned for success.

Evolving customer engagement through digital transformation

At Microsoft, we help companies adapt to this new world by providing solutions that enable digital transformation of customer-facing organizations through intelligent customer engagement. We help companies empower their sales, service and marketing employees, while harnessing the power of big data, advanced analytics and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to create differentiated experiences for their customers. Microsoft empowers businesses to achieve true digital transformation in four key ways:

  • Engage your customers.  We help companies create personalized, proactive and predictive experiences for their customers, enabling them to differentiate their brand. By leveraging deep data insights, companies can better understand customer behaviors, needs and desires. What do customers like to buy? When and where do they like to buy it? What helps them make decisions, and what can send them running to the competition? Truly knowing the customer helps companies anticipate and meet customer needs so that they can engage customers on any channel in ways that help create those differentiated experiences.
  • Empower your employees. Employees are at the heart of the customer’s experience with a company, and empowering customer-facing employees is a cornerstone for effective customer engagement. We put comprehensive customer, product and operational data at the fingertips of sales, service and marketing employees so they can deliver the best experiences possible for customers.
  • Optimize your operations. Ensuring that customer-facing organizations are streamlined, productive and following best practices is vital to a successful customer engagement strategy. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is designed to assist with each of these by providing in-app guidance and tips and surfacing relevant information at the time employees need it.
  • Transform your product. By combining Microsoft Dynamics CRM with Azure IoT and Azure Machine Learning, we help companies take digital transformation to the next level. For example, by collecting sensor data through Azure IoT and connecting it with Dynamics CRM and our field service and project service automation capabilities, companies can enable entirely new, outcome-oriented business models in the service economy. Further, by capturing customer data — including purchase patterns, reviews and complaints, and seasonal variations — businesses can identify ways to improve existing products and create new ones. Proactively identifying and meeting customers’ needs and wants makes it possible to build value-added service that transforms one-off transactions into long-term customer loyalty.

Companies that embrace intelligent customer engagement as a strategy, and that view emerging technology as a vehicle to transform their business, discover that customer service, in particular, presents new opportunities to grow their bottom line. As organizations seek ways to engage their customers with positive service experiences throughout the customer journey, service is transforming into a revenue stream as the service economy matures.

Rolls-Royce is one company transforming its service offerings with Microsoft technologies that help customers gain improved performance and operational efficiency.

Rolls-Royce has more than 13,000 engines for commercial aircraft in service around the world, and for the past 20 years, it has offered customers comprehensive engine maintenance services that help keep aircraft available and efficient.

The company’s TotalCare Services employ a “power by the hour” model in which customers pay based on engine flying hours. The responsibility for engine reliability and maintenance rests with Rolls-Royce, which analyzes engine data to manage customers’ engine maintenance and maximize aircraft availability. This model has been very successful for Rolls-Royce and has created relationships in which airline customers increasingly rely on the company to provide information that optimizes the costs and scheduling related to engine maintenance.

General availability of Spring 2016 Wave of Microsoft Dynamics CRM

We continue to evolve our solutions to help companies drive their intelligent customer engagement strategy forward, and we are very excited to announce the general availability of the Spring 2016 Wave of Microsoft Dynamics CRM begins today. This release brings a host of new features and capabilities that empower companies to realize opportunities like the Rolls Royce example. With this release, we have a truly unique offering with customer service, field service and project all on one platform.  As such, we’re poised to help companies:

  • Capitalize on the new service economy with field service and project service automation
  • Engage end consumers, partners and external communities with portal capabilities
  • Empower employees via intelligent, adaptive processes with ground-breaking capabilities such as auto intent analysis

It is more important than ever for businesses to develop and maintain in-depth understanding of their customers in order to provide them with predictive, proactive and personalized experiences. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Spring 2016 Wave offers powerful capabilities that help businesses connect more closely with customers, empower employees, create new business models, and ultimately transform their business and their industry.

Param Kahlon provides more detail on the Spring 2016 Wave in the Microsoft Dynamics Blog.

Revolutionary new Connected Field Service solution for end-to-end IoT to field service

Today Microsoft is also introducing a ground-breaking Connected Field Service solution that will be available in preview on June 7.  With out-of-the-box IoT to field service capabilities, Microsoft is helping companies transform the way they do business in the service economy.

In a Connected Field Service scenario, IoT-enabled devices are continuously monitored and anomalies are detected, generating alerts that trigger automated actions or service tickets and workflow according to service level agreements. Availability and proximity of service technicians with the right skills and tools are then matched against the service requirement and routed to customer locations to take preventive action.

“We’re enthusiastic about Microsoft’s vision for Connected Field Service because it has the promise of helping us to continue to bring the service we can offer our customers to even to even higher levels,” said Paul Spruiell, VP of Operations at NAVCO, a leader in physical security systems. “Working toward future scenarios that include predictive maintenance on our systems opens up new opportunities to automate our processes, and in turn provide an unprecedented level of comfort for our customers.”

With Connected Field Service, we are able to help field service customers realize the potential of predictive maintenance with IoT.

Register and attend our June 7 event to learn how leading companies today are delivering incredible experiences and creating the new business models of tomorrow

I would also like to take this opportunity to invite you to attend Customer Driven on June 7. This is an online event that will highlight the Spring 2016 Wave and drill into how we power the service economy. I’ll be hosting along with Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of the Cloud and Enterprise Group at Microsoft, and industry thought leader Paul Greenberg, president of the 56 Group and author of “CRM at the Speed of Light,” as we showcase our standout service capabilities. Microsoft Dynamics CRM customers including Blendtec and NAVCO will be on hand to share their insights about how Microsoft is helping them transform their businesses with the next generation of service. Event details can be found here:

This is a tremendously exciting time in the world of customer engagement, and we look forward to being an instrumental part of helping companies transform the ways in which they engage their customers, empower their employees, optimize their operations, and deliver new products and services!

1. According to the Customer 2020 Report, by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator (Source: Customers 2020 Report).

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