Microsoft Inspire Partner Event Begins with Digital Contact Center Launch

Microsoft describes its new Digital Contact Center as an omnichannel customer service platform with AI and voice recognition technology.

Jeffrey Schwartz

July 19, 2022

4 Min Read
Interactive Voice Response - Microsoft Digital Contact Center Platform

MICROSOFT INSPIRE — Microsoft is making its long-planned push into the customer service market with the launch of its Microsoft Digital Contact Center. The omnichannel customer service platform is among a wide range of new solutions and programs the company unveiled on Tuesday at the annual Microsoft Inspire partner conference.

For the third consecutive year, Microsoft is holding its global partner conference as a digital event. An array of offerings that the company is unveiling include added Azure cloud services and new migration enablement for partners. Microsoft is expanding its Azure Migration and Modernization program, launching Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty and expanding its Azure Space ecosystem.

Microsoft is also releasing additional Teams features, notably the availability of Teams Connect Shared Channels, enabling collaboration outside an organization. New Teams features Microsoft is previewing to partners include Excel Live, Video Clip and support for annotations. Microsoft showcased these features at its Build Developer conference in March. Excel Live enables real-time collaboration within Excel workbooks. Video clip, an addition to Teams chat, lets users record, send and view brief videos.

Microsoft Digital Contact Center

Teams, central to the Microsoft 365 portfolio, is also a core component of the new Microsoft Digital Contact Center. The platform builds on Dynamics 365 for Customer Service, integrated with Teams, Power Platform and Nuance AI. The latter is the outgrowth of Microsoft’s $19.7 billion acquisition of Nuance Communications. Microsoft last year announced the deal, one of its largest acquisitions, and closed the transaction in March.


When the deal closed, Microsoft emphasized it would bring Nuance’s AI and voice recognition technology to Dynamics 365 Customer Service. Microsoft first signaled its plans to add a voice channel to its Dynamics 365 Customer Service solutions in September 2020. Despite a crowded market of contact center solutions, Microsoft believes its offering will stand out.


Microsoft’s Charles Lamanna

“The addition of Nuance brings a new level of conversational AI, security, and automation to the contact center,” Microsoft corporate VP of business applications Charles Lamanna, wrote in a Tuesday blog announcing the new contact center. The Microsoft Digital Contact Center will help customers and agents resolve inquiries faster and with more personalized service, he added. According to Lamanna, Microsoft’s new customer service platform will also accelerate resolution times and allow agents to offer targeted incentives.

Lamanna said the platform lets organizations deliver customer service through both live and virtual agents, using AI to provide recommendations. The company designed it  to deliver personalized omnichannel customer service through various digital channels using Teams-based video communications in Dynamics 365 Customer Service. It also supports key social messaging platforms, he noted.

Furthermore, Microsoft is emphasizing the security capabilities offered in the new customer service platform. It uses biometrics to authenticate customers for all interactions to prevent unauthorized interactions and fraudulent activity.

Understanding Customer Intent

The customer service platform also uses analytics to display a customer’s interaction with a brand. According to Microsoft, it can understand the reason a customer is reaching out using “AI intent prediction.”

Biometric-Authentication-to-Verify-Customer-Microsoft-Digital-Contact-Center-Platform-1024x576.jpgMicrosoft is also including Context IQ, a set of features that the company introduced last fall. Context IQ integrates collaboration into all work functions, allowing individuals to find information in real time within a task’s context. Now in preview for Dynamics 365 Sales, Field Service and Customer Service, Context IQ makes suggestions to resolving specific cases.

Microsoft also designed the platform to help agents resolve inquiries using AI to provide relevant knowledgebase articles. Further, Microsoft claims it can automate the resolution of cases through intelligent case swarming. Customer agents can just click to collaborate with an expert that has specific skills, according to Microsoft.

Contact Center Launch Partners

Microsoft said Accenture and its Avanade practice will offer its own customer engagement offerings that are based on the new Digital Contact Center platform. Among other launch partners are systems integration giants, EY, HCL, Hitachi, KPMG, PwC, TCS and TTEC.

Two leading contact center providers, Genesys and NICE, are also enabling integration with their respective platforms, according to Microsoft. The two companies, along with Accenture and Avanade, HCL and TTEC, plan to provide compatibility with their respective offerings.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Jeffrey Schwartz or connect with him on LinkedIn.


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About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

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