• March 20, 2013
  • By Leonard Klie, Editor, CRM magazine and SmarCustomerService.com

Microsoft Wants to Take CRM Everywhere

NEW ORLEANS (Microsoft Convergence) --- CRM is a vibrant and strategic business at Microsoft, and the company today renewed its commitment to the industry.

Jujhar Singh, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, said in a morning session today that Microsoft Dynamics now has 3 million users across 39,000 customer sites in 80 countries. The CRM business has recorded double-digit growth through the past eight and a half years, he said.

As the Dynamics product line advances through the acquisitions of MarketingPilot and Netbreeze, the company plans to focus on building out additional sales, marketing, and customer service capabilities "out of the box," according to Singh.

The next-generation CRM solution, he said, will see a confluence of mobile and social, real-time intelligence available at the touch of a button, and a focus on analytics instead of transactions.

To that end, Microsoft's stated goals are to extend productivity apps, like Outlook and Excel with integrations right into CRM, to proactively push data to the people who need it at the right time, to enable access from any mobile device, to provide flexible deployment options with online, on-premises, and hybrid plans, and to more tightly incorporate social media capabilities, Singh said.

Also within Microsoft's new CRM landscape, the social fabric will be extended with advances in viral marketing, federated support knowledge bases, social prospecting and shopping, brand monitoring, collaborative service issue resolution, and greater sales effectiveness, Singh explained.

Additionally, social, he said, "will become a core part of [Dynamics] CRM, and should be available to everyone."

Microsoft also plans to push forward with cloud deployments, which Seth Patton, senior director of Microsoft Dynamics CRM product marketing, calls "a key part of our strategy."

Since the global launch of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online in January 2011, 60 percent of new customers have chosen the online model, making the cloud "a default way of doing business" at Microsoft, he told CRM magazine.

The company has also seen a number of existing on-premises customers move toward cloud solutions and vice-versa, he adds. "Customers, when they choose Microsoft, do so for a number of reasons," Patton adds. "Cloud is definitely one of them."

Others, he says, include the breadth of the company's offerings, a common identity and sign-on for all applications, integrations with other business applications, such as Lync, Outlook, Excel, and SharePoint,

The integrations are now working in other ways as well. For one, Microsoft has taken a more open stance beyond just the Windows platform and operating system environments. "We are working toward having much more open systems," Singh stated.

Patton further explained that Microsoft's new motto is "CRM Everywhere," highlighted by "the myriad devices and ways people want to access their CRM information."

Microsoft, Patton says, will continue to build out applications using HTML5, not just the Windows 8 platform, and will also extend apps for use with Apple's iOS and Google's Android. "We need to do this if we want people to be productive and support them wherever they are," he states.

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