Microsoft and Salesforce Partner on CRM for Customer Productivity
As Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce continue to the lead the market with their respective customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, the two companies are also continuing to tighten their collaborative efforts. The CRM competitors-turned-collaborators just announced plans to extend their strategic partnership by connecting the Salesforce Customer Success Platform to Microsoft Office productivity apps and services.
The tech giants are working to deliver new solutions that integrate Salesforce with Skype for Business, OneNote, Delve and Windows 10. The ultimate goal is to empower companies to connect with their customers and collaborate more effectively. The companies made the announcement yesterday at Dreamforce 2015, Salesforce's annual customer conference.
“Customer success is at the heart of everything we do at Salesforce, including our partnership with Microsoft,” said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce, in a statement. “Our collaboration has been so successful, now we’re doubling down and delivering even more innovation that will help our mutual customers be more productive and connect with their customers in a whole new way.”
Mutually Beneficial Integrations
Meanwhile, Salesforce and Microsoft are delivering on their initial partnership with the rollout of two new integrations which were originally announced last October: Salesforce App for Outlook, which works with Outlook 2013 and Office 365, and Salesforce1 Mobile App for Microsoft Office.
In a statement detailing the collaboration, CEO Satya Nadella positioned Microsoft as a "platform and productivity company," now aimed at bringing together the best of Microsoft Azure, Office and Windows with partners like Salesforce. Nadella said these efforts will enable the companies' mutual customers to collaborate, communicate and discover information more effectively.
For example, with the Skype for Business-Salesforce Lightning Experience integration, Office 365 customers can tap Skype to create Web meetings, see if colleagues are online, click to chat, and make voice and video calls from the Salesforce Lightning Experience.
An Integrated Digital Workplace
The OneNote-Salesforce integration will let users associate notes with Salesforce records, and view and edit notes directly in OneNote. The Office Graph and Office Delve Salesforce integrations will let Office 365 users view and discover Salesforce content -- including sales opportunities, customer accounts, and service cases -- in Office Delve.
Finally, Salesforce will deliver a Windows 10 app to help sales teams move deals forward while on the go, using their favorite Windows devices.
Availability of Office Graph and Office Delve, as well as the Salesforce1 Mobile App for Windows 10, is anticipated in the second half of 2016. The companies expect to release previews of Skype for Business-Salesforce Lightning Experience integration and the OneNote Integration with Salesforce Lightning Experience in the second half of 2016.
We caught up with Brad Shimmin, a principal analyst at Current Analysis, to get his thoughts on the deeper partnership. He told us Microsoft has partnered with both Salesforce and SAP to extend the value of its Office suite.
“Microsoft realizes that Office is the foundation for much of its revenue and product line -- everything from operating systems on up to line of business solutions like Dynamics CRM,” Shimmin said. “It is the value of the productivity and collaborative tools that they have within the Office 365 suite.”
Shimmin said Microsoft’s move to partner with line of business vendors like SAP and Salesforce makes a lot of sense. He said there is tremendous value in the data generated in those applications.
“The ability to take that data, parse it, put it in the context of business, and allow users to take action on it, and get insight and visibility into all of that information within the scope of their actual business process" is of course very valuable.
From the point of view of enterprise customers, the tighter collaboration of Microsoft and Salesforce seems to be a win-win. Their announcement cited Unilever as a customer-success example.
“As a global company with more than 400 brands, we are always looking for ways to strengthen collaboration across departments and take the complexity out of work,” said Paulo De Sa, Unilever's VP of Employee Services Technology. Together, De Sa said, Salesforce and Microsoft Office are helping Unilever's 170,000+ employees around the world to be more productive and "connect with each other and with customers like never before.”
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