Digital sales and service journey with Microsoft Power Platform
- Posted on April 30, 2019
- Estimated reading time 4 minutes
This article was originally written by Avanade alumn Jandost Khoso.
We are living in an exciting and challenging era where dynamics and maturity of businesses is being revitalized in a speed never seen in past decades. Digitalization has played a vital role in the way businesses operate today and shape transformation journey however, its influence is not confined to employing digital technologies to transform business operations. It would be fair to argue digitalization is the cradle of digital transformation and that is what businesses aim today at.
Digital transformation is core of almost all my customer discussions. Not far ago, solution providers were competing to implement CRM and ERP solutions for their customers but today CRM and ERP products have become a commodity and the same customers are more sophisticated who are aware of innovations in their industry as well. As result, they demand innovative and modern CRM and ERP products and they want to be part of implementation experience, too. Competitors are using new approaches to use technology to bring their cost down and scale more. Employees demand modern workplace to keep them engaged. Social trends, internet and innovative business models gives more options to end customers.All these factors push for redefined and state-of-the-art CRM solutions to support customer business strategies. These CRM solutions are part of the bigger digital footprint of customers, connected with cloud solutions, making use of artificial intelligent, providing actionable insights and not standalone, on-premises solutions being used by one department anymore. Now the focus is to provide a wonderful experience to customers and employees to be part of CRM solutions and this requires a new approach to look at CRM solutions and their implementations.
We at Avanade live this transformation every day and enjoy learning new things and sharing it with our customers to see them transform and grow. What makes this journey more interesting is seeing the platform based on which we build amazing experience is getting more mature every year and empower us to do more for our customers.
The latest innovation and investment in the Microsoft Business Application group has emerged in the form of Power Platform. Power Platform consists of suite of apps, services, connectors and data platform that provides a rapid application development environment to build custom apps for business needs. Using Power Platform, you can quickly build custom business apps that connect to your business data stored either in the underlying data platform (Common Data Service) or in various online and on-premises data sources (SharePoint, Excel, Office 365, Dynamics 365, SQL Server, and so on). As James Philips, Corporate Vice President, Business Applications Group at Microsoft mentions in his post: “It is a system that enables users to do three key actions on data that help them drive business: Analyze, Act, and Automate.”
The flexibility and power of the Microsoft Power Platform allows to co-create experience with our customers. The power platform is easy to provision and setup which gives us more agility to showcase platform feature to our customers. Since the Power Platform provides a no-code/low-code approach, our customers can be engaged more with us in the implementation journey. The platform provides end-users with the power to implement their own data model, forms, views and business rules. Using common data model and underlaying platform, customers can integrate IT systems together and create a unique solution to meet their requirements. The platform licensing model is transformed drastically since past and it allows customers to choose what they want and pay for what they use. However, this agility does not cost on scalability and availability to customers.
The power platform has broken many technological barriers and offers common data model which includes a set of standardized and extensible data model that Microsoft and its partners have published. It provides consistency across applications and simplified integration between processes and applications so application developers and power users can focus on meeting requirements and gaining insights. The ultimate benefit of this common data model is fading silos in organizations which is one of the goals of implementing CRM and ERP solutions using Dynamics 365.
Power Platform brings data from different sources, channels and application models, makes use of connectors to unify services and empower us to architect solutions focusing on customers and not transactions. The contextual insight generated by Power Platform helps employees to understand their customer needs better and take appropriate actions to meet their needs. Using Power Platform and AI, the best insight and next best actions can be generated to help employees proactively address service issues and learn from customer interactions.
Working on a state-of-art and powerful umbrella of services under Power Platform is only one side of the coin. The other side of the coin in a successful partnership is the implementation partners who know products and what I can offer and having a solid implementation and support arms. This experience-based approach also enables advanced outcomes such as:
- Instrument products use IoT and machine learning to predict failure and perform proactive service
- Perform cohort analysis to learn when to call customers based on region, time of day, and even weather
- Intelligently route calls to enable more experienced agents to handle more challenging accounts or those with higher lifetime customer value, improving retention of both employees and customers
- Analyze customer queries with natural language processing and provide answers automatically from the knowledgebase
- Link digital and retail experiences into one seamless whole, so a customer shopping on your website can walk into your store and pick up right where they left off
At Avanade, our Business Applications teams focus on customer experience rather than tools. We understand that implementing Dynamics 365 solutions in not a transactional act where we engage for a short period and leave our engagements. We adopt new updates in our implementation methodology to ensure we are aligned with the products we implement and ensure we form long-term partnership with our customers and support them in their digital transformation journeys. The outcome our partnership to implement successful projects emerges in form of empowered employees who co-create winning experiences with their customers and that we would want our customers do.