With Viva Sales, Microsoft surpasses CRMs with an intelligent interface

The publisher is equipping its Viva digital workspace with a new brick. His vocation? Federate the content of sales-related IT applications by providing them with an AI recommendation.

Microsoft’s digital workplace, Viva, is introducing a brand new application. Called Viva Sales, it’s no surprise that it caters to sales teams. This is the first time that the American publisher has provided Viva with a brick aimed at a particular profession. So far, the platform has remained confined to horizontal issues, from knowledge management (with Viva Topics) to talent management (Viva Connections) through training (Viva Learning). Coincidence of timing or well-oiled communication strategy, Viva Sales is presented at VivaTech.

Viva Sales is compared by Microsoft to a sales coach. Upstream, the application is designed to mark all content related to a client, whether from Outlook, Teams or any other Microsoft 365 application: Word, Excel, PowerPoint. “It could be messages or sales pitches, for example, that could enrich the corporate CRM. The primary goal is to eliminate manual entries and copy-paste from one system to another. ‘More,” says Emily He, vice president applications marketing at Microsoft.

A business coach

Downstream, based on the flagged content, Viva Sales will generate recommendations. “Thanks to AI, Viva Sales can remind you, for example, that you promised a customer via email to contact him again on that date. Then, after identifying in your sales proposal the sector of activity or function of that customer, he can recommend commercial documentation to send, “explains Emily He. “To facilitate the conclusion of the deal, Viva Sales can also refer you to an employee who has already had contact with the customer in question.”

“The app works for example with Salesforce”

The brick wants to be agnostic in terms of CRM. “It works with Salesforce, for example,” says Emily He. To meet this challenge, Microsoft intends to leverage the customer relationship management tools APIs. Also with a view to the construction of these bridges, Dataverse, the group’s data table standard, is used. A format supported by Excel, Outlook, or Power Platform. But also from Dynamics 365, Microsoft’s internal CRM, with which Viva Sales is natively connected. “Depending on the needs of the users, we can of course integrate other CRM systems,” says Emily He.

Microsoft expects Viva Sales to be available in public beta starting July 2022 and its commercial launch at the end of the year. “For now, Viva Sales is being offered in private beta. This means that the solution is already in the hands of some customers from whom we are gathering feedback to refine the functionality of the product,” says Emily He. “The first feedback we received was positive. Salespeople spend on average a third of their time entering data, the equivalent of sales. Viva Sales helps reduce this manual processing to the benefit of the core commercial business.”

A public beta in July

For Microsoft’s vice president of business applications marketing, Viva Sales represents a new beginning for business software. Just that. “Historically, enterprise software has been isolated between different IT systems: ERP, CRM, supply chain … Which has involved integrations to allow them to talk together and a lot of data manipulation,” insists Emily He. “Our approach introduces a new way to engage business software with any business system. It enables users to work from anywhere by accessing information from any source, including data outside the company.

Will the Microsoft Viva digital workplace be implemented for other business areas of the company, primarily finance or the supply chain? The future will tell.

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