When Microsoft teamed up with Salesforce last year it prompted shock and a few grumbles from the Microsoft Dynamics community.
Microsoft makes money selling non crm services and products
- Microsoft Office
- Cloud infrastructure
- Other products
Microsoft Dynamics CRM resellers were frustrated because one of the key advantages Microsoft Dynamics CRM had over Salesforce was its integration with Microsoft products.
The CRM community questioned if the Salesforce partnership would lose Microsoft CRM deals to competing bids from Salesforce?
The first reaction is often an over reaction and Microsoft CRM resellers didn’t lose bids to their Salesforce counterparts en masse after the partnership (integration will take time from Salesforce). I doubt the key reasons for choosing Microsoft Dynamics CRM as the technology to deliver a project wasn’t due to it’s integration with Microsoft Office.
Why do companies win bids?
- connecting with the customer and understanding their problems and requirements
- vertical or industry solutions
Consider the most common cause of failure of projects isn’t the technology used but the people and the working relationship.
I attended an Azure Architect training course in November last year and am now a Microsoft Azure fan. Microsoft Dynamics CRM online and Microsoft Azure is used to deliver Cloud solutions.
Integratiing Microsoft Dynamics CRM with Microsoft Azure, letting Azure host processes and heavy customizations and integration pieces of Cloud solutions will be model used in cloud solutions.
During the Azure training I was impressed by the amount of Azure services available and the possibilities.
Companies will move their computing online because why bother hosting your own servers which need space, maintenance and will age, dropping in value when you can do it Online with just an internet access.
Advantages of Azure
- Pay by the minute, scale down during nights and weekends
- You can scale up slowly to match demand
- You pay for what you use
- You can pop up machines for testing, drop them when finished
Azure changes the way people can think about servers, they are not massive investments they can be short term setups (prototype, testing, customer demo). You do have to remember to turn off everything you setup :–)
Azure has lots of services
- Different database options
- Service Bus
- Web services
- Web Site
- Hadoop – Crunching Big Data
- Azure Machine Learning
The Azure services can integrate with CRM or Salesforce, making the CRM part a part of the solution. Microsoft Dynamics CRM can be the centre for a cloud solution.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM integrating with Azure you widen the possibilities of potential solutions. Microsoft Dynamics CRM can be the centre of solutions with acquisitions (Social insight, Parature, MDM) and their services sitting outside of CRM and connecting in and integrating.
Azure and integration of services the next step is mobile applications and the internet of things. If Microsoft brought Resco Mobile app it would encourage mobile development and solutions with CRM. Microsoft could start to move from lagging with Mobile solutions to start catching up.
My experience of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and mobile integration was zero, I hadn’t worked or seen any projects which had mobile integration, Sales people use laptops with Outlook instead of mobile devices.
Mobile devices are ubiquitous appearing in offices with more frequency, most people use them as lightweight computers accessing email and office.
Azure machine learning
Analyising your data, learn and make recommendations. Cross selling or recommendations to existing customers a good example.
There are lots of opportunities to use existing data and pull out insights and recommendations.
Microsoft will want the Machine Learning services to be used in lots of applications, not just CRM. Machine learning will cuddle up with the Internet of things , mobile devices will capture more data and Machine learning will use the data to create useful insights and actions.
I have been looking at FieldOne, a Service Management solution built on top of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Microsoft brought FieldOne, the solution is being incorporated into Microsoft core product.
Field Service agents need to be on site to do a service e.g. Fix things, inspect, replace, empty, etc.
A integral part of the FieldOne solution is the excellent mobile application which allows the back office scheduling the jobs to get updates from the field agents and schedule jobs more efficiently, reacting to real time information.
The driving forces in the service management industry is keeping costs low. Costs are managed by scheduling of resources and getting the right person, with the right skills, with the right equipment to the right job.
Doing it wrong costs go up, repeat trips cost more for the same cost
- Wrong person
- wrong equipment
- inefficient use of people/equipment
Microsoft are selling lots of services which can be consumed by any applications hosted on the internet.
The Azure services will grow in usage, intergrating of systems in the cloud. The IT industry will move from focusing on what do I need (in terms of hardware) to deliver required functionality to thinking what does the user need to do and use Azure to trial and scale up when needed.
Azure works in compute, database actions, by the minute, focusing on what you use, meaning the customer pays only for what they use.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM implementations are moving to the cloud using Microsoft Dynamics CRM online, with more mobile applications and integration with Azure services.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM will become the hub of lots of interconnected services, applications and devices.
Instead of focusing on competing with Saleforces, Microsoft is focusing on improving the applications which can integrate with Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Azure services which can be consumed by CRM.