How AI, IoT and Blockchain Technology Can Empower Your Organization in 2021 and Beyond

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How AI, IoT and Blockchain Technology Can Empower Your OrganizationWe are almost halfway through 2021 and it is time to look beyond to see which innovative technologies will help us thrive in the future. Following the launch of CRM Software Blog's white paper Next-Gen Tech for the Rest of Us, here is our experts' take on the subject. 

Let’s focus on three use cases: 

  1. Improve Sales with AI in Dynamics 365 
  2. Use Blockchain Seals on your Dynamics Documents 
  3. Run your Supply Chain on the Azure IoT and Blockchain Cloud 

Improve Sales with AI in Dynamics 365 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a key element of Microsoft’s strategy. Notably, you can see evidence of how deeply invested they are when you look into the Dynamics 365 suite and specifically into Dynamics 365 for Sales. 

Dynamics 365 Sales Insights 

In today’s buying environment, change is the only constant! Customers expect lower prices, better services, personalized communication, and a tailored experience. Sales teams must live up to these expectations. The key to staying ahead is AI. With it, you can put customers' data at work, identify patterns in buying behaviors and predict needs that humans do not easily detect. Dynamics 365 Sales Insights is all this, a product that continuously analyzes the vast collection of customer interactions stored in Dynamics 365 Sales to choose the path forward in the best way. 

Predictive Lead and Opportunity Scoring 

Can you analyze the demand for a specific product and predict how it would sell, or whether a lead would turn into an actual sale? The Lead Score feature in Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides an indication of how many requests a product would have under certain conditions, making it possible for retail and online stores to adjust availability and thus reduce the risk of having too much or too little stock. 

The classification service implemented in Azure Machine Learning would go back to analyze historical both sales and lead data to identify patterns. When a new lead is generated, the Machine Learning service is invoked to check whether it matches any of the identified patterns. With this, a score would be returned to Dynamics 365 and assigned to that lead record. This score corresponds to the probability that that lead would turn into an actual sale. Furthermore, the leads could then be prioritized based on their score.  

These built-in features prioritize leads and opportunities using a machine learning scoring model. Predictive scoring helps determine the likelihood of a lead transitioning into an opportunity or an opportunity into an order. This allows users to focus their efforts on the leads and opportunities they are most likely to win. Once the system applies the scoring model, you will be able to identify and filter by extra lead information: 

  • Score: The closer this value is to 100 the better the chance the lead will convert. 
  • Score Trend: Identifies how well the lead is doing, specifically if it is declining, steady, or improving. 
  • Grade: This is the same as the lead score, but now the information is represented by a letter. 

Use Blockchain Seals on your Dynamics Documents 

Internal and external audits usually increase the anxiety level in an organization. They cost a lot of money, and require a lot of effort, usually interrupting the normal workflows. 

If you didn’t have to rely on a paper trail and could handle it solely through digital files, it would be easier. The problem is that auditors normally are suspicious of digital files as they feel it is easier to tamper. 

If you are storing your Dynamics documents in SharePoint, you can have this easily solved with the latest version of CB Blockchain Seals for SharePoint. You seal documents using Blockchain technology by clicking a button. Even simpler, you can seal all documents in specific folders automatically. When, at any time later, you want to check if the document stayed intact, you simply do another click of a button. All in all, the technology is straightforward to use and seamlessly integrated into SharePoint. Moreover, it is much cheaper than any other sealing solution.  

If you have not set up the SharePoint integration in Dynamics 365 and your documents are in Dynamics itself, the solution is similar, but it involves slightly more effort in terms of setting up the solution, CB Blockchain Seal. 

Run your Supply Chain with IoT and Blockchain 

You have heard of IoT, the Internet of Things, a network of devices of any type all connected to the network, for personal, domestic, and industrial use. And you have heard of Blockchain in the context of cryptocurrency. But how is Blockchain relevant to supply chains? 

The combination of IoT and Blockchain actually has the potential to disrupt the traditional supply chain management structure. It makes all the difference if you are using a transparent, decentralized smart contract ecosystem. You can use IoT devices to collect telemetry data at each stage of a supply chain and transfer this information to an IoT hub. Of course, this hub should aggregate this data for storage and further analysis. Blockchain smart contracts can use rule-based intelligence to perform validation on this same data. From the validation, you can update the state of each supply chain stage. This all available for all parties involved, in a trustful and transparent manner. Terms, conditions, and any other logic can be coded into a smart contract. This way you can verify the correct execution of a transaction of goods between two stages of the supply chain. 

Supply Chain Example

Let's consider a specific example of a distribution supply chain. Farmers produce milk and transfer it to a food processing company for packaging and shipping. Milk is sealed at a set temperature and humidity level. Additionally, these conditions, with an error margin. must also be maintained during transportation to the warehouse and retail store. 

It makes sense to use proper IoT devices with sensors for measuring temperature and humidity. You can install them in containers and in carriers shipping the product. With this, all parties involved in the supply chain can monitor delivery times, quality status, and costs in (near) real-time. Moreover, they can create, negotiate, and complete transactions automatically. With this use of Industry 4.0 smart devices, you can maximize the supply chain’s efficiency and reduce operating costs. You are doing so by empowering machines to communicate with each other directly. A centralized control mechanism would slow them down. Besides, machine learning algorithms may help production decisions, allowing factories to take faster actions autonomously. 

Blockchain Seal

Using a solution such as CB Blockchain Seal, you can ensure no one has tampered with such critical data. In the example above, a file could contain the measured values for temperature and humidity. The smart contract deployed in the “Refrigerated Transportation” application validates these values. If they don’t meet the conditions coded in the smart contract, it will set the status of this transaction to Out of Compliance. This stage of the supply chain is not valid, and the process should not progress to the next stage.  This blockchain pattern fits perfectly the IoT-enabled monitoring of a product as it moves along a multi-party supply chain. 

By Ana Neto and Stefano Tempesta

Connecting Software is a producer of integration and synchronization software solutions since 2004. We operate globally and we are also a proud “Top Member” and "Top Blogger" at CRMSoftwareBlog.





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