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AI among new Dynamics 365 features, Microsoft Teams top news from Ignite

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Discussing the top news stories coming out of the newly combined Microsoft Ignite and Envision conferences on the latest Pipeline podcast episode.

New Dynamics 365 features include an influx of AI, with chatbot agents and virtual assistants, according to Microsoft, which announced the changes in Orlando late last month at its newly combined Envision and Ignite user conferences. In addition, Microsoft Teams will become a flagship product, as Microsoft plans for it to eventually overtake Skype for Business as the company's preferred communication platform.

Both of those pieces of news also tie into the attention Microsoft is putting on what it calls the front-line worker -- 2 billion employees worldwide who act as the first stop for customer and product interaction.

To better reach the needs of these users, Microsoft introduced licensing options that bundle specific products together for different industries. The standard Microsoft 365 package brings together Office 365, Windows 10, and Enterprise Mobility and Security, and while Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella claims the new offering isn't just a bundle offering, that's what it seems to be at this point.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at Microsoft Ignite 2017
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella addresses thousands during his opening keynote at Microsoft Ignite last month. PHOTO BY Jesse Scardina.

"[Microsoft 365] represents a fundamental shift in how we will design, build and go to market to address our customers' needs for a modern workplace," said Kirk Koenigsbauer, vice president for the Office team, in a blog post in July when the new bundling offering was initially announced. Nadella added to that announcement at Ignite, unveiling Office 365 for Education, which will help students and teachers be more productive.

The new Dynamics 365 features -- in addition to the AI functionality -- include a more thorough LinkedIn integration, as well as further integration with Adobe's Marketing Cloud, which enables Microsoft's enterprise customers to scale up their marketing capabilities.

"It's not about building individual tools, but creating that platform to drive digital transformation," Nadella said at the opening keynote. "When you create such a rich data asset, what you enable is AI-first workloads."

It's not about building individual tools, but creating that platform to drive digital transformation.
Satya NadellaCEO, Microsoft

And while many attendees were exuberant over the new capabilities in some of their business applications, perhaps the most compelling and attended keynote of the week was the informal chat with former First Lady Michelle Obama. Microsoft's president and chief legal officer Brad Smith moderated the conversation, where Obama looked back at her time in the White House, the uniqueness of raising children in that environment and what she looks forward to being able to do now that she lives a more normal life.

Listen to the latest Pipeline podcast to hear more about the new Dynamics 365 features, Microsoft 365, the Obama keynote and other highlights of Microsoft Ignite and Envision. Using Dynamics 365 to assist in a digital transformation -- and the importance of a digital transformation -- is also discussed during the podcast.

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