Microsoft Releases Its New CCaaS Platform, Aims to Connect the CX Ecosystem

To connect the ecosystem, Microsoft has also introduced a Dynamics 365 Customer Service Premium offering

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Microsoft Releases Its New CCaaS Platform, Aims to Connect the CX Ecosystem
Contact CentreLatest News

Published: July 1, 2024

Charlie Mitchell

The Microsoft Dynamics 365 Contact Center is now generally available.

First announced on June 4, the CCaaS solution is “copilot-first” and designed to wrap around an organization’s CRM system.

That doesn’t have to be a Dynamics product. Indeed, the offering is CRM-agnostic.

To the CRM, the CCaaS platform adds voice and digital channels, IVR technology from Nuance, unified routing, real-time reporting, and more.

Additionally, sentiment and intent analysis, transcription, and translation tools will help funnel more insight into the CRM, allowing businesses to build a “360-degree view of customers.”

Celebrating the release in a Microsoft blog post, Jeff Comstock, Corporate Vice President of Dynamics 365, wrote:

Organizations will benefit from new native capabilities… built from the ground-up to power mission-critical service operations with extensive scale and reliability on the hyperscale cloud platform of Azure.

Azure will also offer GenAI “from the source”, which may accelerate Microsoft’s CCaaS innovation cycle and allow the tech giant to manage the costs associated with the platform.

Regarding customer costs, the Dynamics 365 Contact Center comes with a price tag of $110 per user per month.

Also, alongside the aforementioned features, the solution will provide pre-integrated copilots for digital channels. The virtual assistant will assist agents in summarizing customer conversations, crafting emails, suggesting responses, and spotting relevant knowledge articles.

On the latter, Microsoft promises that “there’s much more detail to share” about its native knowledge management features, in addition to its workforce management capabilities.

Lastly, the solution integrates closely with Microsoft Teams for collaboration and Power for automation and analytics.

Seb Reeve, Global Strategy Lead for Contact Center at Microsoft, shared all this and more during an introductory webinar last month.

In doing so, he highlighted three core reasons why organizations should consider Microsoft for CCaaS. These are:

  1. Comprehension of Vision for Service – Microsoft offers comprehensive, composable solutions for the contact center from a single vendor. That includes CCaaS, CRM, GenAI, and more. With this portfolio, the vendor aims to meet customers where they are and present a path for consolidation and growth.
  2. Infused with Copilot from End-to-End – Microsoft has infused GenAI throughout the service workflow, from self-service to routing, agent-assisted service, post-call wrap-up, and analytics – all connected to the data contact centers rely on.
  3. Built for Scalability and Reliability – Microsoft’s solution was built from the ground up for modern cloud infrastructure. That provides scalability, reliability, and security for critical contact center workloads.

That first point is particularly critical for customer experience analysts. Indeed, while Microsoft might not yet have the CCaaS depth of AWS, Genesys, or NICE, its vision for service may set it up for success in the longer run, as explored below.

The Hot Take: Microsoft Aims to Create a Broader CX Ecosystem

During the latest episode of Big CX News, Liz Miller, VP and Principal Analyst at Constellation Research, noted the announcement’s broader significance beyond the contact center alone.

“If you’re already using Microsoft’s ecosystem – Azure, Dynamics 365, and especially Office 365 – then yes, integrating CCaaS makes sense,” she said. “The CIO, who is already managing everything on Azure, might find this very appealing.

But, this isn’t just about the contact center. It’s about integrating the contact center with where the rest of the organization works.

Other vendors have made a point of closing this gap between CCaaS and adjacent technologies, especially CRM. However, beyond that, it’s critical to solve the problems of CIOs and CTOs who manage numerous applications. These applications need to work as part of an orchestra.

Microsoft’s focus on composability—as does its “Copilot-first” concept—showcases that it understands this. Consider the image below, taken from the aforementioned webinar. It showcases how Microsoft thinks about the broader CX ecosystem and plans to leverage Copilot to pull it all together.

An image if how Microsoft Copilot works within customer service

“The copilot-first concept across the contact center marks the end of the old factory-floor-style contact center that was separated from the rest of the business,” added Simon Harrison, Founder & CEO of Actionary.

“Now, the distinction between front and back office is dissolving, and employees are becoming part of the entire digital workplace. This integration amplifies their effectiveness with customers.

The essence of the copilot feature is about natural language interfaces (NLI) expanding the ability to utilize more data, making it more usable. It’s the right path, and this theme is very important.

As Microsoft integrates this data within the broader CX ecosystem, it’s introducing Dynamics 365 Customer Service Premium.

The offering combines Dynamics 365 Customer Service Enterprise with Dynamics 365 Contact Center for customers to leverage a connected Microsoft ecosystem for CCaaS and CRM.

Existing Dynamics 365 Customer Service Enterprise license holders will have the opportunity to move across to the offering, which is available for $195 per user per month.

 

 

CCaaSCRMCustomer Engagement CenterEnterpriseMicrosoft Teams

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