If you listen to Forbes contributor Gene Marks, Microsoft is about to put Zendesk, Autotask and Freshdesk out of business. As he puts it, “…I’m probably exaggerating when I Say that Microsoft is going to put them out of business. But at the very least, they’re about to face a huge competitive challenge.”
As Mr. Marks company is a Microsoft partner and sells the Dynamics CRM product he says with all deference to the other providers of customer service applications that “he couldn’t be happier”. The reason he is so happy is because Microsoft just spent $100 million to acquire Parature, yet another highly respected provider of help and service management tools.
The acquisition and eventual integration of the Parature products into Dynamics CRM to further expand its capabilities beyond just marketing and sales. Like industry competitor Salesforce, adding customer service aspects simply increases the value of the entire system, particularly in the shared data that an integrated system containing marketing, sales and service will produce.
Microsoft also didn’t forget to strengthen Dynamics usefulness with its other cloud products and built Dynamics compatibility into its Power BI suite. Although not greeted with as much attention as it deserved this comparability allows Power BI to leverage Dynamics data that might be missed. This essentially allows you better ways to visualize vast amounts of opportunity data adding dramatically to your business intelligence and market planning.
Although still trailing both Salesforce and Oracle CRM products, Dynamics is growing an audience fast and adding more to its entire ecosystem via its very robust cloud offerings. Still choosing the right customer relationship management system for your business is no small undertaking. For some businesses Dynamics may be an option, as are both Salesforce and Oracle.
These are critical tools in an age where your data and how you use it can make or break your business. Understanding your options and developing the right systems to meet your business challenges sometimes requires seeking outside advice from firms who understand the different options at a deep level.
These firms can often save you both money and time by bringing to the table years of experience in deploying and customizing all of the options in use. Even if you have an in-house team sometimes it just makes sense to allow them to focus on your business as an outsourced team examines, customizes and deploys your ultimate solution.
With the explosion of information available and being collected by systems in use by sales and marketing Microsoft is simply following the logic of the marketplace and recognizing that its end-users benefit greatly from the integration of these systems and data.