It goes back to a time in the early 2010s when the publishers of the Microsoft business apps started to predict this future full of uber-bytes of data. They began studying the patterns, as well as the disruptions across industries. And then they looked very hard at how they ran their own business. They came up with a framework, and this is what they’ve used to re-imagine the role of business applications and address our back-office challenges.
They’ve called it the Digital Feedback Loop.
Digital Feedback Loop
This is the framework that Microsoft use to create its platform for full enterprise digital transformation.
Before, we were talking about a piece of factory equipment that is sending telemetry data. Think about every time your customer interacts with you your website, or every time they tweet, or they interact on social media. Every time they walk into a retail environment where cameras may literally see them walk in and identify them. Every time an employee updates their LinkedIn profile or schedules and holds a team meeting. Every time a piece of capital equipment in your operations is ready for re-calibration. All of these corners of your business—Customer Product People Operations—continuously feed data.
And it’s important that you can reason over this data holistically. It’s not good enough that you just analyze your customer behavior in a vacuum or just analyze your operational activities simply because your customers are being served by your people via operational processes to deliver your products and services. Organizations that can harness this data in union form turn it into intelligence are now in the best position to go predict and engage with customers, for example.
Every one of those interactions are now intelligent, and they produce even more data. That data then feeds right back into the center and this is happening across customers, product, people, and operations, so this really is a relatively simple framework. It is this model that is helping Microsoft work out what they should build and is the basis for many of the products we now see modernizing the business apps space.
And this Feedback Loop Becomes…
So this has been a long time in the making. It has definitely not been developed on a whim. About eight years ago, they began to very methodically lay down a planet scale footprint of data center capacity with the ability to catch every piece of telemetry coming out of every aircraft engine, every tweet, every time someone comes to the website. Not only that, but it also had to be a data center that could securely store all of this information in compliance with the nation state regulations or the data has sovereignty. There was a very heavy investment at the bottom.
On top of that they have built an intelligence platform in an application platform in Azure that allows you to take all of that data, turn it into intelligence and then act intelligently to predict and be proactive.
And then on top of that, they built the power platform power BI, Power Apps, Microsoft flow, and the common data service that allow even non-programmers and nonprofessional technologists to harness data, to create intelligence, and to take intelligent action.
And at the next layer, we find Office 365 and Dynamics 365, which are out of the box applications that infuse data and intelligence into business processes.
On top of that, we find App source, a marketplace that provides a mechanism for partners like Sikich to create solutions that target specific industries or specialized business processes that are not built in to Office Dynamics.
Underpinning this entire stack is that collection of data sources, of course including those that Microsoft offer like LinkedIn, but what that really means is that data comes from anywhere, everywhere, Telemetry, the national weather service, the statistics bureau, and/or whatever is relevant to your business or industry. These infuse, enrich, and augment your data.
So this picture, layered on top of that digital feedback loop, is the platform. We don’t think about Dynamics or the Power Platform in a vacuum. It really is all of these assets, together, collectively, unified, integrated, that provide this canvas, that allows you to take advantage of the opportunity’s technology offers.