Microsoft Business Applications Launch 2021 Wave 1

“This is my favourite time of the year” said James Phillips President of Digital Tranformtion Group at Microsoft and I couldn’t agree more with his opening statement more.

The 2021 wave 1 Microsoft Business Applications Launch has been one of the most exciting launches to date with tones of new features. Today’s event that was broadcasted live at 4am in NZ focused on the latest releases Dynamics 365 and Power Platform releases in coming this quarter and how they helped us reinvent ourselves during those though pendemic times.


James Phillips started by highlighting how more companies then ever are currently using the Power Platform and how the platform is growing at an unprecedented way driven by the pendemic.

Phillips continued by echoing his message on how business are fundementally changing nowadays from using forms over data to more telemetry driven data capturing from devices and the usage of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to analyse that data and support employees make decisions and better engage with customers. His message was cenmented by the rest of the presenters.

Given our new landscape very business process is ready to be reinvented with this new technology provided by Microsoft Azure and the Microsoft Power Platform.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing with Lori Lamkin

In the second section Lori Lamkin walked us through how to create tailored modern customer experience using unfied data and insight trhough Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing. She used Bank of New York Mellon as a case study.

Lamkin demonstrated how Audience Insight can be used to enrich data from difference sources including customer’s web browing history to cross check similar bahviour is a matching segment to detect interest using AI.

By applying intelligence you can provide better product recommendation. You can further more engage with customers using their own channel preference with the wide range of connectors available out of the box.

The demo that really got me hooked is the revamped customer Journey designer that can trigger automatically as the customer is browsing and engage with them to provide the right information at the right time. Furthermore, the enhanced customer journey analytics can demonstrate the path customer follow in that journey for better visibility, and better finetuning if necessary.

Tom Yang with Sales and Customer Service

Tom Yang discussed what I consider as my bread and butter. Dynamics 365 Sales and Customer Service. The two foundational modules that I’ve been using for the last 15 years.

Yang demonstrated how Dynamics 365 Marketing Journeys can detect if users are not responsive to a specific channels and redirect them to a difference channel such as a self service scheduling capabilit to book a consultation.

Before starting the call Yang demonstrated how Power Virtual Agent can now be extended to use the voicebot channel rather to capture preliminiary information before handing over to the agent to prime them with essential customer information. Advanced routing algorythms can then forward the call to the most qualified agent.

Then Yang showed Teams native integration with Dynamics 365 can provide real time transcription of a conversation.

Satish Thomas and Lydia Williams Dynamics 365 Commerce

Satish Thomas and Lydia Williams played tag to demonstrate the latest commerce capabilites with taylored journeys, better customer engagement, and profit maximisation.

Using customer journey and insight they can now better understand their customers, their purchase history, and their preferences (product, shopping style, etc.).

Williams even demonstrated how she could replay a customer’s web browsing session to analyse their needs but also to get insight on how to improve the online experience.

Arun Ulagaratchagan Power BI

Arun Ulagaratchagan talked about how easy it is to enrich data form different sources in Power BI and how this AI powered analytics platform can analysi “anomalies” to understand what is happening in your business. Ulag showcased the smart narrative control that dynamics interacts with the rest of the dashboard filtering and provides data analytics in plain English.

Ulag demonstrated the new Azure Synapse and how it can use AI to improve query performance by analysing query plans.

Charles Lamanna and the Power Platform

Charles Lamanna with his focus on the low code platform highlited the importance of the newly open sourced Power FX and how it will eventually make its way to Dataverse and the Power Automate.

Lamanna dmonstrated how internal business processed can be improved by analysing the process heat maps

He also focused on how the Data Policies have been enhanced to allow more granual control such allowing/deny specific endpoints (in SQL) or actions (e.g. re-tweet in twitter).

Phillips then conclued with how they are just scratching the surface and we can expect more in the Wave 2 October release.

Until then, enjoy the latest and great wtih Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform.

Feel free to comment on your favourite feature.

Rami Mounla