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The 'Edge' of Dynamics 365

Craig Salisbury, |

Edge Computing and Edge Technologies

‘Edge Computing’ is a common phrase in the Cloud computing lexicon. Put simply, a distributed IT architecture to reduce the movement of data. The ‘edge’ has profound implications for business applications, both in its purest definition but also as we appropriate the term to define the ‘Edge Technologies’ transforming the traditional ERP and CRM market. This is best illustrated when we get into a conversation about what’s new in Microsoft Dynamics. The answer is invariably: “it is all the things that aren’t Dynamics!”

PowerApps and what they can do

We’re talking about things like PowerApps. For those who are new to PowerApps, “PowerApps is an enterprise service for innovators everywhere to connect, create and share business apps with your team on any device in minutes. And PowerApps helps anyone in your organisation unlock new business agility.”

Source: Microsoft PowerApps Blog by Bill Staples – Corporate Vice President, Application Platform

This in itself hasn’t changed since its first release but what was really interesting is when we examine the Roadmap for Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations and find that, in a coming release, PowerApps can be used to extend functionality for Finance & Operations. “Your users can build PowerApps without having to be expert developers to extend ERP functionality. PowerApps developed by yourself, your organisation, or the broader ecosystem can now be used to augment ERP functionality by including them within the Finance and Operations client. Your users will be able to pin PowerApps to pages in Finance and Operations. After they’ve been added, these changes can be shared with peers in your organisation as personalisations”.

Source: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Roadmap

We see a huge benefit to our customers whereby they can build and connect their own apps to extend the Dynamics 365 footprint, leveraging either the data in Dynamics 365 or the Common Data Service. Previously this would require knowledge of the programming language of Dynamics 365 applications or costly integrations to tap into this data.

Cortana Intelligence Suite

One of the other crucial ‘edge technologies’ we talk about is the Cortana Intelligence Suite. Azure Machine Learning, Cognitive Services and the Bot Framework. We are seeing practical application of this technology in the Customer Service arena, where we are able to detect sentiment, key phrases, topics and language from the text found in Dynamics 365 data. Service representatives are quickly presented with relevant information and can quickly resolve cases with high customer satisfaction. By using the Microsoft Cognitive Services Text Analytics service with Microsoft Dynamics 365, businesses can set up service case analysis to automatically provide support staff with more relevant solutions from knowledge articles. They’ll spend less time searching for answers and more time providing the correct response. This feature includes support for both out-of-box entities and custom entities. Additional information on this functionality can be found here:

Source: Preview feature: Microsoft Cognitive Services integration

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