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Microsoft will incorporate a mobile-friendly “relationship assistant” into its Dynamics CRM customer relationship management (CRM) software. This assistant is designed to recommend actions for salespeople to take. The feature will ship in November, Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said today during a keynote presentation at the Microsoft Ignite conference in Atlanta.

“There’s one real problem, which is [that] most sales activity happens outside of a CRM system, and so the goal of intelligence is to be able to reason about your sales data model not just inside your CRM system but outside,” Nadella said.

Data can come from a variety of places — LinkedIn, the web in general, or work email — and this feature reduces the need for copying and pasting. The assistant will also notify salespeople about things happening in Dynamics that they need to know about and take action on.

The news is notable because it comes just one week after Salesforce, the biggest player in the CRM business, announced that it was bringing artificial intelligence capability — called Einstein — into its Sales Cloud. Einstein recommendations in Sales Cloud are similar to the cards that appear in Dynamics CRM’s “relationship assistant.”


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When it comes to customer service, Microsoft has developed new assistive technology for its own live agents. On in U.S. English (and eventually coming to all other countries), Microsoft has a virtual assistant that site visitors can communicate with. And Microsoft’s support agents, who can jump into conversations in place of the automated chatbot, now receive scripted suggestions, which can be easily copied to the clipboard and pasted into the chat window’s text box on the same screen.

This can make customer service more efficient and improve customer satisfaction, Nadella said.

Nadella did not say anything about whether Microsoft would expose this sort of technology in Dynamics CRM for other companies to use.

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