Microsoft will roll out the next version of Dynamics CRM -- both online and on-premises options -- this fall. The company said the new version represents the approach Microsoft Dynamics is taking to develop and deliver business solutions that "put people at the center."
Microsoft promises the next release will deliver "more personal experiences" to sales, marketing and customer care professionals. For example, the new release will let people access information on a variety of devices, introduces a new user experience, gives people job-relevant information access, and deliver richer contextual information with deeper customer insights. There's also enhanced social collaboration capabilities.
"Customers don't want to be sold to anymore. They are knowledgeable and are interacting with their social and professional networks to make their buying decisions. They expect businesses to help them make the most informed choice," said Bob Stutz, corporate vice president for Microsoft Dynamics CRM. "Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps people connect with these customers in a way that is personal -- giving them the information they need to choose the right solutions, engage to drive sales and nurture relationships to deliver amazing experiences."
Brand New Toys
The next version of Dynamics CRM will offer a connection to MarketingPilot, Microsoft's marketing automation solution. This lets businesses manage products, budgets and resources, and executes and monitors marketing campaigns. The goal is to help deliver a consistent customer experience across social and digital channels.
Shortly following the new release of CRM, Microsoft plans to offer new touch-optimized mobile experiences for Windows Phone 8, iPhone and Android phones, extending user access to CRM information on their favorite devices.
The next iteration will also provide capabilities for people to collaborate with each other and share customer knowledge through Yammer right within the CRM solution, and connect Lync and Skype. Microsoft will roll out a limited beta of Netbreeze, its recently acquired social monitoring and analytics service, this fall.
Microsoft's Big Mo'
We caught up with Brad Shimmin, a principal analyst at Current Analysis, to get his take on the next version of Dynamics CRM. He told us Microsoft has been slow to innovate but is building momentum with the new release.
"Microsoft is starting take advantage of some of its competitive differentiators, like integrating with Yammer and Skype and the tools that have found to be pretty darn important to sales, marketing and customer service," Shimmin said. "With SkyDrive, SkyDrive Pro, Yammer and Skype, Microsoft has the tools to bring to bear to address a lot of what this space is asking for right now."
How that impacts the competition with Salesforce .com, Oracle and SAP remains to be seen. But Shimmin suspects Microsoft will see a strong competitive rebound with the next Dynamics CRM.