Microsoft mixes AI and cloud to drive business transformation


Microsoft is using its annual Ignite event this week to show how technology can be used to help customers innovate and transform their business processes.

Announcements have covered Office 365, Windows 10, Microsoft Azure, Dynamics 365 and Microsoft AI as well as a look at how quantum computing may help solve some major challenges.

“Digital technology is impacting all aspects of our society and economies, creating unprecedented opportunity for organizations of all sizes,” says Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “I’m optimistic and inspired by the ingenuity of customers, partners and developers everywhere that are pushing the frontiers of what’s possible with mixed reality and artificial intelligence infused across Microsoft 365, Dynamics 365 and Azure, to transform and have impact in the world.”

Among the highlight announcements are Microsoft Dynamics 365 AI solutions, designed to tackle high-value, complex enterprise scenarios and tailored to existing processes, systems and data. The first solutions released include an intelligent virtual agent for customer care, an intelligent assistant for customer service staff and conversation management tools, all powered by AI.

There’s also improved integration with existing systems and the ability to augment them with workflow and insights from Dynamics 365, LinkedIn and Office 365. Two modular apps, Attract and Onboard, will help companies recruit the best qualified candidates for job roles and ensure their success with personalized onboarding. Both will be available as part of Dynamics 365 for Talent later this year.

Deeper integration between PowerApps, Microsoft Flow and Office 365 and Dynamics 365 will be offered too. Any business user familiar with InfoPath forms, Access databases or SharePoint will be able to build apps that extend and automate their business processes with PowerApps and Microsoft Flow. You can find out more on the Dynamics 365 site.

There are improvements to the Azure cloud platform including the availability of SQL Server in Windows, Linux and Docker containers. A fully integrated database migration service will also be available along with an SQL data warehouse optimized for performance.

Updates to Azure Machine Learning will provide AI developers and data scientists with a new set of tools to develop and manage their machine learning and AI models anywhere — in the cloud, on-premises or on the edge.

More information about these announcements is available on the Azure blog.

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