Microsoft Digital Contact Center Platform is the company’s latest foray into the contact center space. Since being announced at Microsoft Inspire 2022, it has been praised as the first true native Microsoft Teams contact center solution. But what is it? And how do you know if it’s right for your company? In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know so you can make an informed decision.
Know what you’re looking for? Skip ahead:
- What is this?
- What are the pros and cons?
- What we like
- What we don’t like
- Is it right for your organization?
- Microsoft Digital Contact Center Platform is not a SaaS solution you buy ‘off the shelf.’ Instead, it brings together several existing applications into a unified, integrated architecture.
- Thanks to the recent acquisition of Nuance, Microsoft is now able to provide powerful built-in automation and AI.
- While this is a great opportunity for organizations already in the Microsoft ecosystem, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee it’s right for you.
- Because agents don’t communicate and respond directly within Teams, we don’t consider this a Microsoft Teams contact center.
- By understanding your needs and the ideal environment to achieve your customer experience goals first, you can decide with confidence if this platform is right for you.
- ZIRO makes it easy to create and implement your ideal cloud migration plan.
What is Microsoft Digital Contact Center Platform?
Microsoft recently launched the Microsoft Digital Contact Center Platform, an amalgamation of several different apps that, together, form a cloud contact center solution. This is important because Microsoft Digital Contact Center Platform is not a SaaS solution you buy ‘off the shelf.’
Instead, the platform brings together Dynamics 365, Microsoft Teams, Power Virtual Agents, Azure, and the recently acquired Nuance into an open, extensible solution. It also integrates well with other customer relationship management software to create and deliver seamless customer journeys.
Each product plays its own part:
- Dynamics 365 – Customer Engagement Center/Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS), providing Omnichannel Engagement including live chat, SMS, voice, video (via Azure Communication Services), and virtual agents.
- Nuance – Contact Center AI, providing services including IVR, Voice biometrics, Authentication, and Fraud Prevention.
- Power Platform – Low-Code/No-Code Application Development, for automation and reporting (Power BI).
- Teams – Collaboration, providing integration options, and swarming between the contact center and the rest of the organization
- Azure – Global Cloud Infrastructure, providing the infrastructure for all these services and Azure Communication Services for SMS, PSTN, and video.
What we like about it
The Teams integration with Dynamics 365
Microsoft Digital Contact Center Platform allows for communication between Dynamics and Microsoft Teams. There are a few benefits of this:
- With embedded Teams Chat, a Dynamics agent can reach out to people in their organization using Microsoft Teams to get additional support with a question or issue.
- Microsoft Teams users can also interact directly with Dynamics 365 records.
It’s customizable and open
The platform is really a set of building block services. You don’t have to use all of them or have it as a complete end-to-end Microsoft stack. Avaya, Genesys, and NICE already use Nuance alongside their own contact centers. Microsoft has stressed heavily in the launch that being open and interoperable is a priority for them.
Built-In automation and AI
AI can recommend people to collaborate within the organization to help answer the question based on the existing agent/customer conversation. The AI can then summarise the ask and send it out as a Teams message in the right pane of Dynamics.
Things to watch out for
It might be complicated and confusing to purchase & license
As mentioned above, Microsoft Digital Contact Center is a combination of several different services, some per-user licensed, and others as consumption services. Your combination of components and the way you use them is likely to be different from other organizations. The only real way to project a cost is to design it and make projections as to service use.
It’s not exactly a Microsoft Teams Contact Center
With Microsoft Digital Contact Center Platform, agents are not using Microsoft Teams or responding directly within Teams. They’ll need to go into Dynamics 365 (yet another application) to reply to customer communications.
Is the Microsoft Digital Contact Center Platform right for you?
As always, every business is different, so there’s no single answer to this question. However, there are some questions that should help you uncover the best path for your organization.
Do you need a cloud contact center?
While the switch from on-premises to a cloud contact center is compelling, you need to know if it’s a good fit for your organization. While a cloud environment can be much more financially feasible, your company will relinquish a great deal of control. Once you determine what environment will meet your needs, you’ll know if this offering will meet those needs. This is important as there’s currently no way to run an on-premises contact center solution with Microsoft Digital Contact Center Platform.
Do you already have Dynamics 365?
If so, Microsoft Digital Contact Center Platform might be a good fit. After all, if you’re already in the Microsoft ecosystem – you can simply build on top of what you already have in place.
Is AI important to you?
The Digital Contact Center Platform is especially interesting because it is the first major Microsoft platform to build on Nuance’s voice recognition tooling. If using AI to power intelligent self-service is something you’re interested in, this platform is worth considering.
There’s a lot to love about this new cloud contact center architecture from Microsoft. But that doesn’t guarantee it will be a good fit for your company. Start by understanding your organization’s needs and what environment will help you achieve your customer experience goals. This will give you the confidence to know if it’s the right solution for you.
Ready to move to the cloud but feeling overwhelmed and unsure of where to start? ZIRO makes it easy to create your ideal cloud migration plan so you can move your operations over to a CCaaS solution that fits best. Learn more here or contact us to get started.
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