Microsoft today announced that in the second quarter of this year it will release the “spring wave” update of its Dynamics CRM 2016 software for online customers. Some of the biggest additions to the customer-relationship management software are coming by way of Microsoft’s acquisition last year of Adxstudio, a company that made web portals for Dynamics CRM.
The update will build on the original Dynamics CRM 2016 released back in November. At that time, Microsoft pointed to the addition of field service management features, thanks to its FieldOne acquisition. It’s this that Microsoft will be building on for the “spring wave” update.
“With the new capabilities we’re introducing in our Spring wave to support field and project service, organizations will have the ability to schedule, manage and deliver onsite service, whether it be their field technician who is supporting multiple customers on a single day, or complex, multi-day projects,” Microsoft Dynamics general manager Jujhar Singh wrote in a blog post. “Field service matches the requirements for service calls with the available resources and end-to-end processes span from case management through to work order completion. Project service enables complex, multi-day engagements and optimizes resourcing with intelligent, skills-based assignments.”
The update is timely, given that one of Microsoft’s biggest competitors in the CRM business, Salesforce, recently announced its Field Service Lightning service, which will ship in the second quarter.
Drawing on what Microsoft picked up from the Adxstudio acquisition, the forthcoming Dynamics CRM Online 2016 update will also provide portals that companies can put in place for end users (say, the people who sign up for the mailing list of a clothing retailer), as well as for their employees and their partners.
“Organizations can easily configure the amount of information accessed by their communities, enabling more coordinated communications among different teams and facilitating a single, consistent voice,” Singh wrote.
Microsoft will also use machine learning to help companies do a better job of understanding their end users.
“Adaptive learning, powered by Azure Machine Learning, enables users to customize sentiment scoring models and the system will learn from it to reach higher sentiment precision,” Singh wrote. “For example, a ski or snowboard manufacturer receiving posts with slang expressions such as ‘crazy’ or ‘sweet’ can adjust the model to reflect language commonly used by their communities. Going forward, sentiment analysis will understand these expressions reflect a positive comment. With automated triage, Microsoft Social Engagement will automatically detect intention in social posts and, using machine learning, route them as cases or leads into CRM — boosting sales performance and organizational efficiency.”
To give people a sense of the plans of Dynamics CRM Online and to demonstrate the portal features of Dynamics, Microsoft is rolling out a new roadmap page for the software. Check it out here.