As CRM gets more social, Microsoft had little choice but to follow some of its competitors such as Salesforce.com and make that shift with Microsoft Dynamics too. That's why it was significant when Microsoft announced two social partnerships last week -- one with its own Yammer and the other with Moxie.
That the first involved Microsoft's recently acquired Yammer is hardly surprising. One of the reasons Microsoft paid a hefty 1.2 billion for Yammer in June was because it wanted the ability to make many of its applications including Microsoft Dynamics CRM, more social.
According to Microsoft, the integration involves what they are calling the Enterprise Social graph and includes the ability to embed Yammer social functionality including Like and Follow buttons and Yammer feeds inside Microsoft Dynamics.
Frank Lee, a Microsoft MVP and owner at Workopia, a firm that helps SMBs implement Microsoft Dynamics, believes that Yammer has an advantage over other social vendors simply being part of Microsoft.
"Yammer has some leg up in terms of immersing/integrating itself with Dynamics CRM now that it is part of Microsoft. It is imperative for Yammer to help Dynamic CRM to become the de-facto social CRM vendor of choice to justify that $1.2 billion," he said.
But other vendors aren't standing still: today, enterprise social platform Moxie announced some integration of its own.
Brent Leary, owner at CRM Essentials, a firm that helps firms implement a variety of CRM solutions, says Moxie is coming at this from more of a customer angle, while Yammer is more of an internal social approach.
"I think the main focus of Yammer integration is that it brings more general social and collaboration functionality to companies in order to better interact within the organization, with partners, and with customers," Leary said.
He adds, "But with Moxie, and their focus on customer experience in the enterprise, the integration is more specialized to help contact center agents and sales professionals share information to allow for a more efficient, complete understanding of where the relationship with the customer is." This means if a customer service agent is within Moxie assisting a customer via chat, email, or other channels, those interactions will be available to a sales professional in Dynamics CRM. And if a cross-sell or up-sell opportunity comes out of a service exchanges a lead can be created from Moxie into Dynamics CRM.
Leary says that both of these announcements show that Microsoft is serious about integrating social across the board, and knows that it has to do it in a way that takes advantage of both highly-used general tools as well as services that are built for specific functional processes.
Lee agrees saying Microsoft had little choice but to start getting more social. "Social CRM (CRM 2.0) has proven its value and is here to stay. Dynamics CRM has to embrace this fully to "keep up with the Jones" (Microsoft CRM's public enemy #1 being Salesforce.com)," he said
Microsoft may be a little late to the social CRM game, but these two announcements show they recognize the importance of making their product increasingly social to keep up with the Oracle and Salesforce.com and the acquisitions they have made in the last 18 months to make their products more social.