Articles We Like
Interesting opinion piece about using Slack or Teams as a CRM. I find the perspective interesting because it is touching on the importance of providing users with simplicity in accessing customer information and broadly sharing customer communications within a company. The author hits the mark when talking about the desire for simplicity that users have in easily accessing and storing customer communications. However, the idea of using a collaboration tool in lieu of a CRM strikes me as bad advice for any company beyond 3 or 4 employees. This is the same type of thinking that was prevalent about 10 years ago when many people were enamored with Sharepoint and tried to turn it into a database tool for tracking customers (i.e., CRM). That kind of thinking eventually ran headlong into the issue of Sharepoint being a de-normalized database (which just gets messy over time), and that is exactly what would happen in trying to use Teams as a replacement for CRM...eventually you just hit a wall in proper scalability of a good customer data model. In my opinion Teams and CRM are extremely complementary and should be deployed in such a way as to take advantage of the strengths of each (and to avoid the issues of trying to make a Teams Channel a storage point for everything related to a customer including the data model for accounts, contacts, opportunities, cases, etc.). Microsoft's Power Platform (and the underpinning Common Data Service) provides a robust capability for doing that job elegantly. This is why you see Microsoft rolling out CDS Project Oakdale as the architecture that makes Teams and Power Apps (and CRM) work well together, not as replacements for one another. Our Yesflow Enterprise Digital Assistant takes full advantage of the combined architecture of Dynamics 365 and Teams.
Microsoft continues to plow development energy behind Power Virtual Agents. This is an excellent article about "how to build" a low code PVA. In our experience, these starting points for conversational experiences are great but typically apply to a pretty limited user experience. That is, they're great for a very short process, but it can leave a lot to be desired for longer processes. Don't get me wrong – I think PVAs are great and I love the advances with this tooling, but it is still tough to design and build complete user experiences without a good process leader and a good developer to finish it off. At Yesflow we're leveraging the Microsoft stack of backend tools (LUIS, Bot Framework, etc.) the same way as PVA, BUT we're providing NO CODE, complete, end-to-end "processes on conversational rails" so that our customers can be up and running very quickly without a design or development effort.
Interesting perspective on Microsoft Cortana as the company moves to "shut down" Cortana for consumers. We agree with the author's assessment that, despite shutting down the Cortana offering, Microsoft is VERY well-positioned for voice capability in the enterprise. Microsoft AI and their bot capability have become the foundation for many enterprise-grade "specialty" assistants. This is very much in line with what we do with Yesflow - utilize Microsoft tools to deliver specialty assistants for enterprise customers (based on our pre-built, pre-tested, enterprise-grade Yesflow assistant whose foundation is Microsoft tech stack from top to bottom).
Thanks to the good folks over at Designli - Keith Shields and Joshua Tucker - for sponsoring this blog about the tremendous value of prototyping and working closely with key customers during the early stage of your product development. We had a great experience working with them during the early stages of building Yesflow. Shout out to Mike Harris for your support during this process!
Our hometown of Greenville, SC has been recognized by Inc. Magazine on their Surge Cities list this year. I'm quoted in the lead article.
Solid research on the major God Bots and how people are using them. The number one use: searching for a quick fact. Read on to see which assistant does it best.
This is a helpful article to understand the basics of AI assistants or digital assistants. This is a rather simplistic description, but it really does the job in a just a couple of paragraphs and diagrams.
Great article on the value virtual assistants are bringing to businesses, but even more importantly how critical it is to make sure they are easy to use. One of our core tenants at Yesflow is to deliver solutions that are simple and easy to use.
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