The problem

Designs that relied upon customized lines of code were too labor intensive and held back the agile development process which has an emphasis on failing fast, learning, and landing the right functionality at the last minute.

To comply with my non-disclosure agreement, I have omitted and obfuscated confidential information in this case study. All information in this case study is public knowledge and does not necessarily reflect the views of Microsoft. 

The solution

Quick response. Our technology enables new business models at a much faster rate than ever before. To be successful, we need to help our people and processes respond quickly to changes in the market and to capture new revenue opportunities. In COSMIC, we created a Dynamics 365 system that’s almost entirely configuration-driven. Features are simply turned on or off. The lack of custom code lets us bring new business units into COSMIC very quickly. Here are a couple examples:

  • Creating SLAs. To configure an SLA, like a credit risk transaction, Dynamics 365 defines the components, such as business function, business unit, case type (such as transaction), and operations center. Success criteria is defined by choosing success (completed within 48 hours), warning (message sent if no progress after 24 hours), and failure controls and actions.

  • Defining business stages. We stitched together workflow stages in Dynamics 365. For example, in the intake (Ops In) stage, required fields such as title, business function, received date, reason, and so on, are simply toggled on or off as required. The process can be configured for one or more business units.​

My role

Working on the development team, I was responsible for providing redlines to engineers to configure the best out of the box solutions for each line of business. In certain complex interactions, we had to work through custom layouts that could then be reused. I also had to create a customer journey map.

What we learned & looking forward

The reality is that business is complex, and that complexity drives unique business unit needs. We had a few situations where we had to create new components to enable the functionality we needed. We created customized but reusable components, such as our Email Analytics and Attachment Management solutions. (They’re publicly available on Microsoft AppSource.)

Now that the COSMIC platform is in place, more tools will be integrated. These tools will improve automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning at all steps of our transactions. SLA fails should drop, as our partners quickly and efficiently get the information that they need. Some highlights:

  • Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to drive automation. We’ll continue to drive automation and refine OCR capabilities with the Computer Vision API. Monthly releases will further reduce cycle time.

  • Virtual operation centers drive efficiencies. We’ll deploy additional bots to complete pre-validation tasks. For example, regulations require that financial transactions coming to the Americas region must occur in the Americas region. Some work can be completed offshore, but critical stages must be completed in the Americas to comply with federal law. Bots will be deployed for basic and stable transactions. If the transaction has too many customized steps, the work will be sent to an operations center where it will be resolved.

  • Natural language integration. Machine learning and the Cortana Intelligence Suite will improve natural language query response and case automation. Machine learning helps us refine our knowledge of agent capabilities and strengths, the importance of specific deals, and other case parameters. These capabilities will support automatic case assignment to make the best match of customer to agent. It will significantly reduce manual case assignment and will increase customer and partner satisfaction by assigning the agent who is best suited to the case, regardless of location. The goal is to reduce issues with the first contact.

  • Extend our bot framework. With the integration of COSMIC and Microsoft Teams through our bot framework, we’ve created new ways for our agents and field sales organization to communicate throughout the life of a case. Looking forward, we want to use artificial intelligence to create other integrated experiences for our customers and partners.

  • Knowledge management dashboards. With knowledge management in Dynamics 365, customer feedback and issues can quickly be turned into knowledge articles. We plan to use this capability in COSMIC, but we’re waiting until we can segregate articles by business unit.

  • Expand the COSMIC API. Many other teams within Microsoft are keenly interested in driving automation through integration and the COSMIC API. Looking forward, CSE will be revisiting and expanding the COSMIC API.​

NOTE: The entire COSMIC solution will be publicly available on AppSource.

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