Right on schedule, Microsoft has released a number of major updates to its Dynamics suite of solutions for customer service, sales automation, marketing management, and enterprise resource planning (ERP). The updates deliver on announcements made this past June, with regard to a six-month, rapid-release cycle for its CRM (customer relationship management) and ERP software and services.
The latest CRM updates, rolled out over the past several days, continue to focus on Microsoft's goal of helping businesses "break down the silos" between their sales and marketing departments in order to create more personalized customer experiences.
The new Dynamics CRM and ERP releases are also designed to better integrate with Microsoft's Azure cloud platform and Office 365 applications. To promote adoption of the new capabilities, Microsoft is making Dynamics CRM 2015 available for a free, 30-day trial.
We're Talking CRM: Natural Language Support
Bob Stutz, corporate VP of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, wrote in a blog post Sunday that Dynamics CRM 2015 features significant advances to facilitate collaboration between sales, marketing, and customer service departments. For example, the update includes a sales collaboration panel to bring sales and marketing professionals onto the same page in terms of managing customer relationships.
In addition, Dynamics CRM 2015 provides a more advanced user interface with natural language capabilities supported by Cortana's virtual personal assistant. Those capabilities, Stutz noted, received "amazing market feedback" during Microsoft's Convergence Europe conference last month.
Other updates in Dynamics CRM 2015 include integration with social listening analytics, a new interactive marketing calendar, integrated Lync webinars, new graphical marketing workflow and e-mail editing, and support for A/B testing and integrated offers.
The latest version of the customer relationship software also adds support for Japanese and Russian, bringing the total number of languages supported to 44.
Six Million-Plus Users
Other business solutions recently updated by Microsoft include Dynamics GP 2015 for small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) and Dynamics AX, its multi-language, multi-currency tool for enterprise resource planning in global business. The company also released an update to its Dynamics NAV 2015 business management solution in October.
Microsoft plans to further expand on its latest Dynamics capabilities for customers during its next business conference, Convergence 2015, which is set to be held in Atlanta, next March. CEO Satya Nadella is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the conference.
We reached out to Microsoft to learn more about why it has put Dynamics on a fast track for new releases. Such updates, "help us to meet the evolving needs of businesses and organizations in different verticals and different geographies around the world," a spokesperson said. According to Microsoft, there are more than 375,000 Dynamics customers with over six million users worldwide.
"The needs of businesses are constantly changing and we want to keep pace with that. In a cloud-first world, businesses are increasingly moving to a services model and no longer expect releases to come every few years with major product launches," the spokesperson said.
"We have responded with continuous innovation and more frequent updates on a regular and predicable cadence so our customers can get the latest features and capabilities and be able to deploy and implement in a way that gives them the most value."
Read more on: CRM
, Dynamics CRM
, Dynamics ERP
, Customer Relationship Management
, Marketing Management
, Customer Experience
, Cloud Computing
, Office 365
, Tech News