Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Thoughts on Convergence 2014 Day 1 - Part I

This post is Part I of a series where I will be discussing the Keynote speeches and my thoughts/ opinions around the presentations. The posts will have a decidedly Dynamics CRM bent to it (which by the way has 40,000 customers and 4 million users worldwide).

Convergence 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia is the largest Dynamics party of the year for customers and partners associated with Microsoft's Business product suite. The first 3 days are all about keynotes and breakout sessions, with the last day focused on getting all your questions answered by Microsoft's team members or Dynamics user group communities. The are about 12,000 attendees for Convergence this year.

The keynote speeches are a great way to get a high level overview of the product and the direction (evolution) going forward. It is also nice to hear the customer success stories where Dynamics has helped the business as well as the IT team.

Day 1 of Convergence kicked off with Wayne Morris, CVP of MSFT Business Solutions Marketing taking the stage along with Kirill Tatarinov, EVP of MSFT Business Solutions. One of the first things that Wayne talked about was how Microsoft was betting on the product and continued innovation, not just with the Dynamics suite but also with others like Windows 8.1 , XBOX, Surface 2 and Azure.

A couple of customers (Chobani and Weight Watchers) who attended Convergence 2013 were invited back to Convergence 2014. The goal was to see how they had used the tools at their disposal to further enhance and expand their customer service or inventory management capabilities

Weight Watchers- Weight Watchers moved from just using the marketing aspects of Dynamics to expand to providing on time and personalized customer service. The application is now used by agents in the call center which according to Weight Watchers has resulted in increased customer and agent satisfaction. Going forward, the Weight Watchers plans to increase customer service interaction to multiple channels.

Chobani - One of the reasons Chobani  was impressed with Dynamics was the ease of packaging solutions and deployment. For example, they were able to deploy and integrate with a 3rd part warehouse within 40 days in order to provide better tracking of supply chain process and inventory. They also provided some great advice on customization's and how to lower the risk by keeping the application simple. In addition, it is always good to know the roadmap to see if any features you are planning to custom build will become part of the base application (one example being bing maps integration)

Now that we are talking about roadmaps, let us see what is coming up for Dynamics CRM in the Spring and Autumn updates. Based on what I heard, here were the main areas that were the focus Dynamics CRM 2013 roadmap - more personal experience and improving productivity of sales, marketing and customer care professionals.

Dynamics CRM Spring update:
Unified service desk - Interact with customers in a more personalized way, with any device any where
Marketing - Generate demand and opportunity and understand impact of marketing investment
Social listening - deeper insights into social world , understand brand sentiment

Dynamics CRM Autumn update:
Cross channel customer interaction
Enhanced mobile experience

If you noticed one theme from the screenshots, the goal of the product team is to provide innovation that is seamless and non disruptive. Also there was frequent mentions of Cloud and Mobility

The goal of the product itself was to focus on delivering an amazing customer experience by engaging, nurturing and delighting the user. In other words, it is the Era of the customer, where the culture is key to being a customer centric company.

In the next part of this series, I will discuss the marketing aspects of the customer engagement model and details of Dynamics CRM with Marketing Pilot integration.

Thanks for reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment