Tag Archives: press

Announcing new AI and mixed reality business applications for Microsoft Dynamics – The Official Microsoft Blog

Today, I had the opportunity to speak to press and analysts in San Francisco about our vision for business applications at Microsoft. In addition, I had the privilege to make two very important announcements: the upcoming availability of new Dynamics 365 AI applications, and our very first mixed reality business applications: Dynamics 365 Remote Assist and Dynamics 365 Layout.

Our vision for business applications at Microsoft

We live in a connected world where companies are challenged every day to innovate so they can stay ahead of emerging trends and repivot business models to take advantage of new opportunities to meet growing customer demands.

To innovate, organizations need to reimagine their processes. They need solutions that are modern, enabling new experiences for how they can engage their customers while making their people more productive. They need unified systems that break data silos, so they have a holistic view of their business, customers and employees. They need pervasive intelligence threaded throughout the platform, giving them the ability to reason over data, to predict trends and drive proactive intelligent action. And with adaptable applications, they can be nimble, allowing them to take advantage of the next opportunity that comes their way.

Two years ago, when we introduced Dynamics 365 we started a journey to tear down the traditional silos of customer relationship management (CRM) and enterprise resource planning (ERP). We set out to reimagine business applications as modern, unified, intelligent and adaptable solutions that are integrated with Office 365 and natively built on Microsoft Azure.

With the release of our new AI and mixed reality applications we are taking another step forward on our journey to help empower every organization on the planet to achieve more through the accelerant of business applications. Specifically, today we are making the following announcements:

Dynamics 365 + AI

First, I am happy to announce the coming availability of a new Dynamics 365 AI offering — a new class of AI applications that will deliver out-of-the-box insights by unifying data and infusing it with advanced intelligence to guide decisions and empower organizations to take informed actions. And because these insights are easily extensible through the power of Microsoft Power BI, Azure and the Common Data Service, organizations will be able to address even the most complex scenarios specific to their business.

Dynamics 365 AI for Sales: AI can help salespeople prioritize their time to focus on deals that matter most, provide answers to the most common questions regarding the performance of sales teams, offer a detailed analysis of the sales pipeline, and surface insights that enable smarter coaching of sales teams.

Dynamics 365 AI for Customer Service: With Microsoft’s AI and natural language understanding, customer service data can surface automated insights that help guide employees to take action and can even leverage virtual agents to help lower support costs and enable delightful customer experiences, all without needing in-house AI experts and without writing any code.

Dynamics 365 AI for Market Insights: Helps empower your marketing, social media and market research teams to make better decisions with market insights. Marketers can improve customer relationships with actionable web and social insights to engage in relevant conversations and respond faster to trends.

To help bring this to life, today we released a video with our CEO, Satya Nadella, and Navrina Singh, a member of our Dynamics 365 engineering team, showing examples of ways we’re bringing the power of AI to customer service organizations.

Dynamics 365 + Mixed Reality

Our second announcement of the day centers on the work we are doing to bring mixed reality and business applications together.

Since the release of Microsoft HoloLens over two years ago, the team has learned a lot from customers and partners. The momentum that HoloLens has received within the commercial space has been overwhelmingly positive. This has been supported by increased demand and deployment from some of the world’s most innovative companies.

We recognize that many employees need information in context to apply their knowledge and craft. Not only on a 2-D screen — but information and data in context, at the right place, and at the right time, so employees can produce even greater impact for their organizations. Mixed reality is a technology uniquely suited to do exactly that.

This is a whole new kind of business application. And that’s precisely what we’re introducing today, Dynamics 365 Remote Assist and Dynamics 365 Layout.

Today, we also showcased for the first time how Chevron is deploying HoloLens to take advantage of Dynamics 365 mixed reality business applications.

Chevron is already achieving real, measurable results with its global HoloLens deployment. Previously it was required to fly in an inspector from Houston to a facility in Singapore once a month to inspect equipment. Now it has in-time inspection using Dynamics 365 Remote Assist and can identify issues or provide approvals immediately.

In addition, remote collaboration and assistance have helped the company operate more safely in a better work environment, serving as a connection point between firstline workers and remote experts, as well as cutting down on travel and eliminating risks associated with employee travel.

Here is a peek into the work Chevron is doing with mixed reality:

Unlock what’s next with the Dynamics 365 October 2018 release

Next week at Microsoft Ignite and Microsoft Envision we’ll be in Orlando talking with thousands of customers, partners, developers, and IT and business leaders about our October 2018 release for Dynamics 365 and the Power platform that will be generally available Oct. 1. The wave of innovation this represents across the entire product family is significant, with hundreds of new capabilities and features.

We will have a lot more to talk about in the weeks and months ahead. We look forward to sharing more!

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CompTIA: How to tap into the benefits of diversity

Much press has recently been devoted to the diversity problem in Silicon Valley, but how does the problem pertain specifically to the IT channel?

Channel firms could do better. At CompTIA’s ChannelCon event, held last week in Austin, Texas, the nonprofit trade association attempted to expose the tech industry’s diversity gap head on and explain the benefits of diversity in the workplace. If channel executives can address this issue honestly today, it will positively impact the future of the industry, fostering more productive workplaces while closing the perceived IT skills gap.

According to Todd Thibodeaux, president and CEO of CompTIA, the IT industry could create an additional $400 billion in annual revenue if it embraced the scope of the nation’s diverse workforce.

During his ChannelCon 2017 keynote, Thibodeaux highlighted various statistics that spoke to the tech industry’s exclusion of women and minorities. For example, he said if women and people of color were represented in the tech sector as they are in the labor force, the tech sector would see one million more women and 500,000 more Hispanics, African-Americans and Native Americans in the workforce today. “Put that into context of seven million people working in the U.S. tech workforce; that [whole equals] to 20% of the entire tech workforce,” he added.

The benefits of diversity are far-reaching, he said. For example, data has revealed that workplaces that have a broad set of perspectives, opinions and an inclusive culture can result in faster innovation and better customer insight. Other benefits of diversity he cited are more productive teams, better use of available talent, greater financial returns and market share, and lower turnover. Additionally, diverse workplaces can make it easier to raise capital, he said. “Private equity firms and other people are more likely to provide capital today to companies that have good diversity numbers.”

More and more research is being done demonstrating the benefits of diversity. And they aren’t just soft benefits, either. Increasingly, these are benefits that really hit the bottom line for companies.
Todd Thibodeauxpresident and CEO, CompTIA

“More and more research is being done demonstrating the benefits of diversity. And they aren’t just soft benefits, either. Increasingly, these are benefits that really hit the bottom line for companies,” he added.

Thibodeaux outlined five steps that channel executives can take to diversify the makeup of their workforces.

  1. Focus on unconscious bias. He encouraged attendees to try “making the unconscious conscious” and recognize stereotypes about women and minority groups that might influence their hiring decisions. A common line of thinking that can prevent companies from hiring candidates with identities and backgrounds different from their own is that those candidates won’t fit into the organization’s existing culture, he said. “‘That’s a big way to exclude people: ‘Well, they’re not really a cultural fit.'” Channel companies need to start with a diverse slate of candidates and standardize hiring practices across departments, he added.
  2. Prioritize diversity and inclusion. Channel executives should approach diversity and inclusion as “a market issue” and invest in outreach efforts. “You have to go out and seek diversity. … You can’t just post the job and expect that [a] diverse slate [of candidates] is going to come to you,” he said.
  3. Build your pipeline. It’s imperative for channel executives to start searching early for new job candidates. The earlier organizations start, the more proactive they can be in finding a diverse slate. “You might be missing lots of diamonds in the rough here by not doing that, by just posting a job and letting people come to you. You’re probably going to get the same pipeline that you always got, instead of going out and finding a new pipeline,” he said. He also said channel firms should make diversity a part of their company brand and to partner with local diversity groups such as nonprofits and educational groups that can help in their outreach efforts.
  4. Examine your workforce culture. To do this, channel firms must ensure they offer diversity training, nurture and mentor a diverse staff, and are aiming for an inclusive culture, he said. He noted that some new hires will require more help than others to get started in a workplace and shouldn’t be expected to simply assimilate and adopt the company culture.
  5. Mentor and connect. He pointed to diversifying connections on social media platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn as means for channel executives to develop broader world perspectives. “You can experience things that you wouldn’t experience in your day-to-day life,” he said. Mentorship is a “really important part of connecting,” he added. When someone with a different background from your own enters the organization, it represents an opportunity to learn and mentor.

ChannelCon 2017 featured several discussions on the theme of diversity and inclusivity during the event, including a panel discussion where business executives shared their views on why diversity is important to businesses.

“[Diversity] does make companies more profitable. It does give a diverse opinion if we hear from different socioeconomic backgrounds, if we hear from different cultural backgrounds,” said Michelle Ragusa-McBain, segment operations manager at Cisco. “Those ideas, the different experiences that we bring, make companies better.”

“We know that change is good, change is constant, but change is not readily accepted,” added Nathan Archer, director of business development at service provider A&H Technology Group. “In my perspective, what I think we need to do is to educate that culture … and we need to break that open … and rebuild a new culture that is dynamic and … [diverse] to make the bottom line richer.