Microsoft introduces social collaboration with Dynamics CRM

imageIt’s been quite a while since I directly blogged about anything coming out of the Microsoft stable, our paths have diverged slightly over the last couple of years. 

But I stumbled across an interesting announcement which I thought was worth a mention.  Microsoft are incorporating features to help businesses become more social.

These features will enhance the sales cycle, improve the customer relationship with the brand and keep everyone up to date with exactly what is happening with the Sales opportunity.

Microsoft have updated their Dynamics CRM product to keep them in line with offerings such as Salesforce, SAP and Oracle.  This service update has added social components, known as “Social Wave 1” such as activity feeds, real time notifications, microblogs and interaction on a conversation platform like Facebook. Users of Dynamics can subscribe to specific activity feeds such as sales opportunities to keep them up to date as the sales cycle progresses.

This platform will allow you to have near real time conversations on sales leads and opportunities.

Some of the new features that will be included in the new version of Dynamics CRM product are:

    • Activity feeds. Configurable, real-time notifications on important relationships and significant business events via a blended view of micro-blog posts and interactions for a person, customer or sales opportunity.
    • Micro-blogging. Status updates and notifications regarding business events and actions, providing simple experiences for users.
    • Conversations. Post questions, observations, suggestions and status updates, allowing users to collaborate quickly and efficiently, locate information or expertise and gather feedback from others.
    • Automated activity updates. Post information directly to the activity feed based on configurable event rules (for example, when a sales opportunity is closed). People can subscribe to or “follow” these activity feeds and consume them in a variety of ways.
    • Mobile activity feeds. A new Microsoft Dynamics CRM mobile Activity Feeds application for Windows Phone 7 allows users to view their activity feeds while away from the office.

 

The UI looks very similar to Facebook withimage Feeds and comments on the Workplace what’s new tab.  Interaction between team members can be seen by the rest of the workgroup.

The service update is tightly integrated with Office 365 to bring a more unified experience in their CRM online service – the “Enterprise cloud” as it’s known as.

There’s even an interface for Windows phone 7 so that you can keep up with what’s going on whilst mobile.

Microsoft plans to deliver 2 service updates per year to keep abreast of changes in social collaboration and changes in cloud offerings. 

Coming up, there will be support for Firefox, Chrome and Safari too in 2012 so you’re not restricted to just the IE browser as well as bringing access to Dynamics to IOS and Android.

This move gives users a more consumer based experience that brings records relevant just to them or any other record in the system to give a timeline of statuses on particular records.  The system can also post statuses to the activity feeds to the timeline –= a bit like an application posting to Facebook.

It’s a nice update from Microsoft and it brings the Customer into the CRM experience.  Everyone will be fully up to date on every Sales opportunity which will result in a much more personalised touch to the sales experience.

Image credit: Flickr

Eileen is a social business strategist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.