The latest update to Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and on-premise solutions has added a number of social networking and collaboration features as the software giant looks to tap into the potential of social CRM.
Launched this week, the update delivers on Microsoft’s promises from earlier this year, when it revealed it would be adding a “Facebook-style interface” that allows people to communicate across the CRM system, following teams, records or accounts.
Among the new social collaboration capabilities are: activity feeds that provide real-time notifications on important relationships and events; micro-blogging; a conservation platform for posting questions, observations, suggestions, and status updates; and automated activity updates that users can ‘follow’.
In addition to the social CRM tools, the updates will also support mobile activity feeds so that mobile users can follow feeds while on the move.
Brad Wilson, general manager of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Product Management Group, said of the company’s social CRM drive: “Across Microsoft, we deliver social capabilities that help customers and businesses build more productive relationships. By bringing together new social collaboration capabilities in Microsoft Dynamics CRM with familiar collaboration technologies such as Office, SharePoint and Lync, businesses will be able to expand their relationships with customers and gain even deeper insight and understanding.”
The updates move Microsoft into territory where Salesforce.com has been carving out a reputation in recent times, with its Chatter collaboration tool, and also provides a further demonstration of the growing appetite for the blending of enterprise 2.0 and social CRM.
“As companies grow across geographical and technological boundaries, businesses need to be able to capture knowledge and disperse it effectively to ensure people have the most up-to-date information when they need it,” said Jim Steger, co-founder and principal at Sonoma Partners. “To be effective, social tools need to be easily accessed and usable, they need to be searchable allowing you to filter information, and they need to be a holistic part of the CRM solution. Microsoft’s approach to social productivity uniquely meets those criteria.”