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This article excerpt, by Janet I. Tu, originally appeared here:
Microsoft has added automated marketing, self-serve customer service and social listening capabilities to its Dynamics CRM offerings.
The new offerings—which will be part of a new Dynamics CRM release expected in the second quarter this year—come about in part because of several acquisitions Microsoft has made in the past few years.
One of those acquisitions was of MarketingPilot, an Evanston, Ill.-based company that provided software for marketing departments and ad agencies to help them better understand their customers, manage and execute their marketing campaigns, and create automated and measurable marketing campaigns.
MarketingPilot’s technology has now been renamed Microsoft Dynamics Marketing and can be used with Microsoft’s Dynamics line of customer relations management software.
Another purchase was of Parature, a Herndon, Va.-based company that provided cloud-based customer self-service software.
That customer self-service capability is now one of the new customer service offerings that will be rolled out with the new release of Dynamics CRM.
Also part of the customer care features being rolled out will be a “unified service desk” for call centers that automates some repetitive tasks, displays scripts and allows agents to handle multiple interactions.
There’s also a new service called Microsoft Social Listening, based on technology from Swiss social media monitoring and analytics company NetBreeze, which Microsoft bought last year. Microsoft Social Listening enables a company’s individual employees to track sentiment across social media for products, brands, or to monitor a competitor, and to analyze and act on those findings.
The Social Listening and Dynamics Marketing services, by the way, are the first Dynamics offerings Microsoft is putting on its Windows Azure platform.