It would seem, in recent years, Microsoft’s marketing and PR departments have left consumers and some enterprise users, a bit confused. Botched messaging against Chromebooks, misguided attempts to mock the competition in smartphones, and constant branding overlaps and mishaps, are making a recent Microsoft transition that much harder for the company. When it comes to messaging, Microsoft has been at war with the company’s divisions as well as the media’s perception of it for quite some time.
It looks like Microsoft would like to help other companies avoid some of the same pitfalls and messaging misfortunes. Today, Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM team is announcing a new addition to the Spring 15’ release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The new application titled Microsoft Social Engagement, will be available to businesses soon. The new tool is planned to boost the analytic output of customer engagement with companies and service providers, by focusing on five key elements: Productivity, Social, Mobility, Analytics, and Knowledge.
Dynamics CRM will further integrate with Office 365 in order to connect sales and marketing teams with the software they use daily. Items like Excel are being retooled to offer a more dynamic (pun not intended) experience. CRM vendors will now be able to surface ‘what if’ scenarios in Excel and the project forecast within CRM. A collaboration with OneNote and CRM will also offer much easier brainstorming sessions real-time sharing of information with teams.
Possibly the biggest front-facing change in the Spring 15’ update is a new social experience. Companies will now have access to new social capabilities and a new area for dense information called the ‘social center'. This dashboard is an area where marketing, sales and service teams can easily translate and monitor social engagement and trending topics. Even more social capabilities have been built into the update, Microsoft claims that it as "also added social CRM capabilities so companies can create end-to-end customer engagements from social posts and teams can monitor social topics,” according to the Dynamics team. Also built into the update are enhancements to social analytics so companies now can use tools like text mining, cloud visualization, and view real-time global activity through a social activity map. All of these features have been bundled into a new visualization app that should be easier to use.
The idea is for CRM to become a seamless user experience across most mobile devices in a configure once and deploy fashion. With that, the Dynamics team is offering a new mobile SDK so CRM users can extend and create the necessary mobile apps to reach their audiences.
The update will offer a better marketing experience out of the box with tighter integration. With the use of interactive dashboards and reports in Power BI, sales, service and marketing teams will be able to analyze and gather insights faster.
While tot fully baked in yet, Dynamics CRM is beginning it’s integration with Parature’s to offer integrated knowledge management out of the box.
All in all, Microsoft’s Social Engagement tool is shaping up to be a one-stop shop for companies looking to manage their brands messaging and social media engagement.