Our vision for the Microsoft customer data platform

August 6, 2020

Empowering organizations everywhere to gain insight from all their data sources and deliver personalized customer engagement

There is a fundamental change occurring across industries and organizations: Data now comes from everywhere and everything. As customers have access to more content, purchasing channels, and brand options than before, the touchpoints become exponential — every website visit, use of a product, and interaction with a customer service representative creates an observation or generates data. But this data is often siloed across multiple systems and organizational departments, making it difficult to gain a single source of truth.

With such an overload of information and choices available, organizations must demonstrate they both understand and value their customers. To this end, we’ve been working to bring customer experiences to the forefront of the business conversation with a new set of intelligent applications with our modern, unified, intelligent, and adaptable business applications. Today, I’d like to dig into our vision and strategy for Microsoft’s customer data platform — a critically important investment from Microsoft. Specifically, how it is helping organizations overcome data silos and leverage artificial intelligence to guide decisions and empower organizations to take meaningful actions for their business.

Dynamics 365 Customer Insights: Microsoft’s customer data platform

Historically, the customer interaction with a brand ended the moment they completed the purchase and walked out the door — limiting an organization’s understanding of why or how its customers are using its products and services. Dynamics 365 Customer Insights enables organizations to gain the most comprehensive view of their customers by unifying data across diverse sources — be it transactional, behavioral, or observational data — as well as uniquely enriching profiles with market insights and real-time product usage.

From data analysts to marketing, sales, and service professionals, every employee in an organization can leverage AI-driven insights. These include churn risk, customer LTV, and recommended next best action, to power business processes across the customer journey that help boost personalization and build richer relationships.

The Microsoft CDP enables breakthrough experiences for customers while maintaining the strictest compliance and security standards so that all customer data is securely managed and adheres to GDPR regulations. Built on a hyper-scale Microsoft Azure platform, the application allows organizations to run powerful analytical capabilities using Microsoft AI and Azure-based machine learning models. Customer Insights can easily extend and customize with the Microsoft Power Platform for even richer data processing and customizations. Customers can benefit from the Microsoft partner ecosystem for development of custom applications and solutions to fit specific industry or business needs.

Let’s look at a few organizations using our CDP to deliver business outcomes and rich customer experiences:

Empowering organizations worldwide

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) works tirelessly in over 190 countries and territories to save the lives of millions of children. As private donors and volunteers are increasingly hard to find and retain, UNICEF Netherlands found that personally engaging supporters increased their overall commitment to the organization. Key details on donors, such as their contact information, philanthropic interests, and donation history, were housed in disparate data silos, making it difficult to gain a unified view of the donor base and personalize interactions at scale. To solve this problem, the team adopted Dynamics 365 Customer Insights to quickly and easily combine data from multiple sources, analyze the data to derive insights, and activate the insights via marketing and communication channels. Customer Insights’ out-of-the-box interoperability with Dynamics 365 Marketing helps the team create and optimize marketing campaigns on-the-fly, enabling UNICEF to better develop a customer lifetime value model, which will help it identify and optimize engagement with high-impact donors.

American Electric Power Energy (AEP Energy) — a competitive retail energy solutions company serving more than 400,000 residential, small-business, and commercial customers nationwide — is using Dynamics 365 Customer Insights to deliver efficient and sustainable energy solutions to customers. Previously, AEP Energy faced cumbersome manual processes that required lots of analysis and input to piece together various customer information for a holistic view of its customer, which was both timely and costly. With a cloud-first approach, using Dynamics 365 Customer Insights, AEP Energy can now easily migrate large data sets across various systems of record into a single, unified customer profile. As a result, AEP Energy can better understand its customer needs, identify gaps in product offerings, and ensure both front and back-end operations are focused and efficient to deliver quality, tailored experiences to its customers.

What’s next?

Thus far, we’ve seen great momentum and impact resulting from the customer data platform and how businesses are evolving customer engagement and experiences. Looking ahead, we will continue to innovate on the platform and plan to deliver more opportunities and features in the coming months.