by Prabhat Gupta
by Dave Manion
The Microsoft Azure Partner Community is led by National Partner Technology Strategists from the Microsoft US Partner Team. Partner Community activities include blog posts, discussions on Yammer, newsletters, and community calls.
Azure + CRM Online: futures, vision, and customer stories
Microsoft Dynamics offers a full range of software focused on delivering business insights that matter to customers, and its capabilities help organizations manage their end-to-end business processes. As we’ve discussed throughout this series, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Microsoft Azure are a powerful combination, with possibilities that continue to expand. In this post, we’ll talk about the future of CRM and the role of Azure in that future.
Connected products and services
As the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes ubiquitous, an increasing number of organizations will integrate IoT technologies with CRM software to enhance the customer experience and achieve business growth.
A key benefit to consumers of IoT-enabled solutions is convenience and efficiency that rectifies complaints often associated with customer service like long wait times, inflexibility, and a lack of proactive measures. Other benefits to the consumer include immediate access to important maintenance information, faster repairs, and the availability of self-directed customer service.
The rapid proliferation of connected devices raises challenges due to the variety of platforms and protocols involved. Connecting these disparate data sources while handling the scale of the aggregate stream is a significant challenge. Azure Event Hubs provide easy provisioning of capacity to ingest events from millions of devices while preserving event order on a per device basis. Support for AMQP and HTTP allow many platforms to work with Event Hubs. Native client libraries also exist for popular platforms.
Azure Stream Analytics provides out-of-the-box integration with Event Hubs to ingest millions of events per second. Stream Analytics will process ingested events in real-time, comparing multiple real-time streams or comparing real-time streams together with historical values and models. This enables the detection of anomalies, transformation of incoming data, the ability to trigger an alert when a specific error or condition appears in the stream, and power real-time dashboards.
With Azure Notification Hubs, these connected devices can easily send cross-platform, personalized push notifications, abstracting the details of the different platform notification systems (PNS). With a single API call, you can target individual users or entire audience segments containing millions of users, across all their devices.
You can use Notification Hubs for both enterprise and consumer scenarios. For example:
- Send breaking news notifications to millions with low latency (Notification Hubs powers Bing applications pre-installed on all Windows and Windows Phone devices)
- Send location-based coupons to user segments
- Send event notifications to users or groups for sports/finance/games applications
- Notify users of enterprise events like new messages, emails, and sales leads
- Send one-time-passwords required for multi-factor authentication
In this regard, two customer examples showcased at Convergence this year included ThyssenKrupp Elevator and Rockwell Automation. They specifically highlighted how the use of sensors data had revolutionized their business allowing them to vastly improve their operations and even offer new services its competitors could not…predictive and preventative maintenance. Taking it a step further, these examples, as good as they are, could be further enhanced with the inclusion of a system of engagement such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online which provides capabilities to perform incident tracking, SLAs, and field service.
With connected devices streaming data to the cloud, Artificial Intelligence will create the future of CRM. Partners who have started to dig into Azure Machine Learning know the value that it can bring to their customers. Organizations across industries have the ability to gain a competitive advantage with the insights that can be gleaned from the data they are collecting.
In a previous post we mentioned Pier 1 Imports, but the benefits are not limited to retail scenarios. Financial services organizations such as banks and insurance companies are constantly striving to understand the behavior of their customers and if it can be used to predict future business. They are also striving to move towards customer centricity as opposed to an account centric view of their customers. A bank could use Azure Machine Learning to evaluate the current product mix of its customers, and deliver a near real-time recommendation through CRM to a banker on an additional product or service that should be offered while the customer is there in front of them.
This interaction, along with all other customer touch points, could be logged in Microsoft Dynamics CRM which provides the customer centric view banks are looking for. Azure partners who are investing their time with Azure Machine Learning and have subject matter expertise in an industry should strongly consider building industry specific models. When this type of information coming out of the models is fed into customer based applications like Microsoft Dynamics CRM it has the potential to be a game changer.
Deeper, broader CRM application ecosystem
The Azure Marketplace helps connect companies seeking innovative cloud-based solutions with partners that have developed ready-to-use solutions. CRM solutions in the Azure Marketplace cover areas like Reporting, Dashboards, Finance & Administration, IT, HR and Recruitment, and Sales. People in various roles across different service sectors—business analysts, developers, IT professionals, and finance professionals, to name a few—can use Azure Marketplace to their advantage.
Benefits of Azure Marketplace to customers
- For many companies and users, Azure Marketplace is a service that has provided them a platform to showcase their talent and take their application to market quickly
- It is a gateway to a lot of prospects and has made it possible for many companies to build a rapport with potential customers
- It provides the easiest and fastest access to over a thousand apps. Through the Azure Marketplace directory, you can locate the applications quickly and pick the one that suits your business needs best
- Azure Marketplace provides a lot of scope to build and develop innovative applications
Scenario examples for Microsoft Dynamics in the Azure Marketplace
Examples of scenarios that Microsoft Dynamics in the Azure Marketplace solutions address include the following:
- Initial implementations of financial, manufacturing, and/or retail operations
- Roll-out of a corporate defined template to subsidiaries
- Expanding IT support of new business processes such as human resources, procurement, etc.
- Delivering full application lifecycle management from design and development through deployment and operations
In the Microsoft Azure Partner Community blog series and call for May, we’ll help you learn more about CRM Online and understand why you should consider investing in adding it to your Azure practice.
Previous Azure Partner Community topics
Focus on Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online
- Part 1 – Introduction
- Part 2 – How CRM Online helps increase Azure adoption and usage
- Part 3 – How to start your CRM Online practice
- Part 4 – Dynamics CRM Online futures, vision, and customer studies with Azure
Focus on Data Platforms and Big Data
Focus on Azure benefits for partners
- Part 1 – Azure benefits overview
- Part 2 – Azure benefits for competency partners
- Part 3 – Signature Cloud Support for Azure
Focus on Top Partner Topics
- Part 1 – Introduction and RemoteApp
- Part 2 – Azure Site Recovery
- Part 3 – Azure API Management
- Community call recording
Focus on Office 365
- Part 1 – Introduction
- Part 2 – Identify Management
- Part 3 – SharePoint on Azure
- Part 4 – Apps on Azure
- Community call recording
Focus on Networking
Focus on Managing Virtual Machines
- Part 1 – Introduction
- Part 2 – Virtual Machine Management and developer tools
- Part 3 – Virtual Machine images and snapshots
Focus on Migration to Azure