Microsoft's brand-new CRM boss takes the wraps off Dynamics CRM 2016

The new software puts machine learning to work for customer service

When Microsoft offered a peek at the next Dynamics CRM earlier this month, Bob Stutz, the software's longtime leader, was still at the helm. That changed soon afterward, so on Monday, it was a brand-new CRM boss who released the new software to the public.

"As the new leader of Microsoft’s CRM Business Applications group, it is my great honor and privilege to announce that Dynamics CRM 2016 is now available," wrote Jujhar Singh in a blog post.

Most recently, Singh has served as a general manager in the Dynamics business unit. Stutz reportedly has moved on to competitor Salesforce.com.

Microsoft's strategy for the new version of its customer relationship management software has been to enable organizations to better predict trends, be more proactive and deliver personalized customer experiences, Singh explained.

Toward those ends, the software taps advanced analytics and machine learning technologies from the Cortana Analytics Suite to deliver a raft of new capabilities.

For example, sales reps can predict which products and services a customer will need during the sales cycle, Singh said. Machine learning capabilities offer sentiment analysis and the ability to detect social posts that are most likely to represent customer service cases or new leads.

Intelligence is the "meme du jour," so Microsoft's emphasis on that area makes sense, said Denis Pombriant, managing principal at Beagle Research Group.

"In the industry, I think there's more work to do on applying intelligence to customer interactions" in a way that identifies general situations and forecasts solutions rather than "treating each random event as unique and important," Pombriant said. "Perhaps finding short cuts is the next step."

Dynamics CRM 2016 is available both as CRM Online and on-premises in 130 markets and 44 languages.

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Katherine Noyes

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