Customer journey, industry clouds in focus at Dynamics 365, Power Platform 2021 release wave 1 launch

April 6 2021

Example of Dynamics 365 Marketing's new engagement journeys | Source

Microsoft officially introduces a new wave of product updates in its business applications lineup today with a virtual launch event. The event will offer details on new features, most of which have been revealed to some degree either at Ignite 2021 in March or in the planning documents for both Dynamics 365 and Power Platform from January.

While not a big reveal, the event does provide greater clarity on where Microsoft has focused its business applications priorities for the next release wave or two. James Phillips, in his new role as president of the Digital Transformation Platform Group, reviewed some of the headline updates and marquee customer stories planned for the virtual event and the release wave overall in a new blog post.

New customer journey orchestration is coming to Dynamics 365 Marketing in release wave 1 in preview. The more advanced features use new and improved integration with Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, Microsoft's customer data platform (CDP) solution, and Customer Voice. Using Dynamics 365 Marketing with other apps, Phillips writes, "brings together the worlds of customer experience and marketing automation."

Microsoft claims the new Dynamics 365 Marketing capabilities can be deployed to offer "real-time" orchestration and represent a "landmark innovation", with more to be shared at the launch event. Even for those not all that interested in D365 Marketing, this part of the event ought to help illuminate the story Microsoft is building around the orchestration of customer experiences among its CRM-related apps and services.

Another a key area of focus at the event will be Microsoft's industry clouds, according to a new blog post by James Phillips. Industry clouds have expanded rapidly under the new "Microsoft Cloud for…" branding in recent months. These offerings are progressing on different schedules through preview and toward general availability, and they represent more complex collected offerings that combine Microsoft's own business applications, partner IP, and a range of services, both from Power Platform and Azure. The company now markets industry clouds for healthcare, retail, financial services, manufacturing, and nonprofit, and Phillips will have responsibility over all of them. 

And expect to see industry-focused customer stories from some marquee brands in the customer base including Patagonia (retail), Coca Cola (Power Platform), Rockwell Automation (reporting and AI), and BNY Mellon (customer engagement).

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Prior to co-founding MSDynamicsWorld.com, Jason was a Principal Software Consultant at Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC), where he implemented solutions, trained customers, managed software development, and spent some time in the pre-sales engineering organization. He has also held consulting positions at CSC Consulting and Monitor Group.

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