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Convergence 2015 Recap : Unified Service Desk (USD)

Convergence 2015 has finished recently in Atlanta and Microsoft has revealed a series of exciting features coming in the next Spring release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. In this post, I would like to call out the road map and the spring release enhancements in Unified Service Desk aka USD.

The Road-map

The USD road-map as shared by Microsoft has got the following items:

  • Omni Channel Support: Continued enhanced integration with customer interaction channels like Chat, Video Chat, Social Media and CTI systems.

Omni Channel


  • Agent & Customer Experiences: Out-of-the-box integration with more Line of Business Applications like Parature Knowledge-base, Microsoft Dynamics Marketing, Microsoft Social Listening. Today the native integration exists literally with Dynamics CRM alone. This is a very welcome step. I wish this would be extended to integrated other LOBs like SharePoint, Office365.

Agent and Customer Experiences


  • LOB/Industry specific experiences: Built-in LOB/Industry specific process flows. This is long awaited. The ambit of call centers today aren’t only problem solving but also to increase selling, cross-selling, up-selling and never forget making cold marketing calls for lead generation and qualification. USD is now going to some some really good built-in Marketing and Sales processes with Microsoft Dynamics Marketing and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Industry Specific Experiences

  • Data Driven Insights: One of the most common asks by Executives is to get provide them an greater insight to the operational matrix and help them with some predictive analysis of their call center operations. It’s really exciting that Microsoft is planning towards adding these value props in USD. One of thing said was integration with Microsoft Azure – Machine Learning (ML) for predictive analytics, which could be a game-changer in this space.

Data Driven Insights


What’s probably (may change) coming in the Spring Release

  • Integration with Parature Knowledge Management Framework. There will be a fully configurable built-in a hosted control, actions and events for KB integration.

Some key advantages are:

  1. Independent Knowledge Search without any entity forms, which means call center agent now can search and read KB articles without any customer session. So they can familiarize themselves more effectively with unfamiliar or                       uncomfortable knowledge areas outside the ambit of a customer call.

2.  Context Specific Knowledge searches for customer sessions. In a multi customer session scenario, when agent may have two or more customer sessions open and each session having different KB articles; if agent switches customer sessions the KB articles will also switch to the relavant one. In other words, KB articles will be session dependent hosted application and not a global hosted app which is shared by all customer sessions.

3. Knowledge search and Articles can be displayed in different panels. KB Search can be in right panel of the USD and Articles can be previewed in a different panel.

KB article

  • Coyping content to clip-board. Sounds a simple one but adds a lot of value to a Call Center Agent.
  • Expand and Collapse of Panels to acquire more real-estate. Very useful to collapse some less used panels to free up some space for your mail panel which usually hosts LOB applications.
  • Support for Pop-Up Panel: Pop Up Panel (USDPopUpPanel) added to allow for content to hover main view.
  • Support for 31 additional languages; however the sample applications shipped with USD will only support existing 13 languages. With this USD is now available in 44 different languages.
  • Support for Social Channels via Microsoft Social Listening. USD will integrated natively Microsoft Social Engagement and Agents will be able to support customers from USD via different social channels like Twitter or Facebook. USD will provide out-of-the-box hosted control for Social Engagement and actions plus events for a workflow to use for social engagement with customer. Cases with full context of the social parameters can be logged from USD.

Microsoft Social Engagement hosted within USD


Support for Agent activities through Social Channel


Case creation within USD from Social activity collecting all Social Parameters


  • Enriched Customer 360 using Social Insights within USD. Now contextual posts with sentiment analysis is embedded within USD.



  • Integration with Microsoft Dynamics Marketing. Microsoft Dynamics Marketing will be a new hosted application within USD and can support marketing cold calls for lead generation and lead qualification.


About Dipankar Bhattacharya (59 Articles)
A multi-skilled Dynamics 365 Professional with strong experience in delivering IT projects especially across multiple industries. A Microsoft technology evangelist, a regular speaker at tech events, blogger and avid reader. Certified IT Architect and well versed in Solution Architecture of Business Applications using Microsoft platforms like Dynamics 365, Azure and Office 365.

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