Microsoft touts integrated capabilities in Business Apps Summit 2019 keynote

June 10 2019

James Phillips, corporate vice president and leader of the Business Applications Group for Microsoft kicked off the 2019 Business Applications Summit in Atlanta with a strong emphasis on integrated and intelligent business application capabilities.

The conference, which began as the Data Insights Summit with a focused on Power BI has broadened to include all of the Power Platform, Dynamics 365, and the interconnects offered by Azure. According to Phillips, as of now there are almost two million Power Platform and Dynamics community members and 555 user groups active worldwide. Attendees at the event hailed from over 30 different countries.

Every month, one trillion API and CRUD operations are performed along with four billion Flow operations, Phillips told the audience. And across Dynamics 365 instances, a startling 20 pettabytes of information is uploaded monthly as well.


The business apps evolution: Reactive to proactive

The conference keynote had a strong focus on IT use cases in the transportation industry, beginning with Manuela, a PowerApps developer for Virgin Atlantic, helping the airline to keep track of tools and safety equipment.

"[Business apps are the] tip of the spear for digital transformation," said Phillips. He argued that someone visiting a TWA call center in 1971 and then visiting offices again in 1992 and 2015 would find more changes in hair and clothes styles than the business apps experience.


A fundamental shift is occurring: That fundamental shift is data starting to come out of everything and coming first.  This first arrival of data out of everything is allowing business and every industry to…take reactive processes and turn them upside down to be proactive.


Phillips gave the example of a piece of equipment in a factory, feeding back "torrents" of information. As all of this data arrives at an anomaly detector, it enables a proactive approach, such as predicting an impending failure and advising a maintenance visit.

Microsoft characterizes this type of capture and use of data as a "digital feedback loop," a term that has now been a company talking point for several quarters. Sucdigital feedback loop could take many forms, such as a customer showing up on camera in a store or updating their LinkedIn page. He said:

It's important you analyze this data holistically. Your customers are being served via operational processes. Organizations that can harness this data in [a unified] form and produce intelligence are in the best position to interact with customers…

The first thing we did eight years ago was build a global data center infrastructure, providing a place where all this information can be captured and secured, in compliance with nation-state regulations. We invested heavily at the bottom, then on top of that we built an intelligence and application platform in Azure…to act intelligently. On top of that we built PowerApps, Microsoft Flow, Common Data Service that allow non-professional technologists to harness data and take intelligent actions [and ] infuse data and intelligence with Dynamics 365 on top of it. AppSource is allowing all of you to create solutions for special business processes. Coming into the bottom of this value creation funnel [are] data sources Microsoft and Bing [have] to infuse and augment your data. All these assets together unified [and] integrated provide this canvas that provides the opportunity to take this action. It's fun to watch others in the industry try to gather up assets to chase us.

In this integrated model, teams can assemble a "360 degree view" of customers, by assembling data and augmenting it with sources including LinkedIn and Bing. 

Integrating augmented reality and AI

Luca Machetti, senior product marketing manager for Microsoft, touted the capabilities of the Dynamics 365 Virtual Agent in context of boat manufacturer, Malibu Boats. He imagined a customer selecting speedboat features on the company's website and then clicking on the Virtual Agent to schedule an appointment at a dealer. This part of the Dynamics 365 platform pulls date, time, and location details and feeds them to the dealer to review on a mobile device.

In the demonstration, Machetti invited a "customer" on-stage to view a 3-D mockup of the boat in physical space on a tablet and then added an image of his handwritten notes for digital conversion into action items. The demo was based on  work by CPQ vendor Experlogix and their client, Malibu Boats.  You can see a video of the demonstration here


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About Eamon McCarthy Earls

As the assistant editor at and, Eamon helps to oversee editorial content on the site and supports site management and strategy. He can be reached at

Before joining, Eamon was editor for at TechTarget, where he covered networking technology, IoT, and cybersecurity. He is also the author of multiple books and previously contributed to publications such as the Boston Globe, Milford Daily News, and DefenceWeb.

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