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Microsoft CRM is Going Social

Social_Media_Marketing

 

The SOCIAL story continues to evolve for Microsoft. In particular the social story related to Microsoft Dynamics CRM continues to evolve.

Help accelerate your success with social: In 2012 Microsoft Dynamics CRM (CRM) introduced its own internal social networking components to allow users to connect and share unstructured but useful data throughout the enterprise. With the purchase of Yammer last year by Microsoft, CRM now includes full and robust integration of Yammer throughout the CRM experience. Yammer allows CRM and non-CRM users to share information in a private social network. This allows employees to be more transparent with information about their customers and prospects.

 yammer

Social monitoring and analytics: Earlier this year Microsoft announced the acquisition of Netbreeze. The capabilities acquired with Netbreeze will enable Microsoft to bring social analytics and monitoring to CRM customers to help them drive sales, optimize campaigns and engender customer loyalty. You can read more details about the Netbeeze in the Press Release from Bob Stutz. The Netbreeze functionality will be embedded directly into CRM and should not be of any additional charge to organizations when this rolls out later this year.

Net

Drive business agility: Last year Microsoft also acquired MarketingPilot. This is a full-fledged marketing tool that will enable organizations to take advantage of outreach with their clients and prospects.  This Integrated Marketing Management Tool has four core components: marketing resource management, campaign management, spend management and media buying and planning. These components will allow for more touch points with clients through a very personal and private communication channel. MarketingPilot is a stand-alone product with connections directly into the CRM marketing module. These is an extra cost for this functionality.

marketing

CRM empowers users to better understand their clients with connection to InsideView and D&B/Hoovers. This enables professional sales people to have good business intelligence prior to interacting with their prospect and clients. CRM is also enabled with links to Twitter and LinkedIn to view data from there two site contextually directly inside CRM. This is useful and powerful to help take the experience to the next level within CRM.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM and the social experience. This experience is leading to better user adoption from users and quicker ROI for organizations. A connected system with social interactions allow for everyone to quickly communicate with one another. Let me know about your social experience with CRM and I will keep you posted with the latest info on what Microsoft is doing.

Perficient featured on Microsoft US VP @Jenni_Flinders Blog

As a Microsoft Partner its neat to receive recognition for our work. It is particularly exciting for me to see that the Perficient team is featured in Jenni Flinders, Microsoft U.S. Vice President, Partner Strategy and Programs’ blog today. Jenni was calling out Microsoft partners that are using Social Media and shared the following about Perficientcomputer_shutterstock_99568811sm

Perficient has found that sharing stories on its blog is an especially high-impact way to engage with customers. More concise than case studies, Perficient’s blog posts have resulted in new customer opportunities, including a lead that responded to a post about a Perficient-designed health clinic SharePoint 2013 site with, “We can’t wait to do the same thing!” The firm has also used its blog to promote Microsoft Office 365, telling stories about successful deployments and highlighting how customer businesses were succeeding as a result. This approach not only serves as positive marketing for Perficient’s expertise, but builds loyalty and goodwill with featured customers.

The blog post also called out key considerations for organizations when driving a social strategy

No matter how powerful your offline engagement skills are, it’s critical to recognize that social media have become integral to both B2B and B2C decision-making processes, and are also an effective marketing channel for attracting and recruiting talent.

Positive social engagement between a customer and your business—which means your business not only pushes content “out there,” but that it actively participates in dialogue with customers—can impact customer satisfaction, loyalty, preference, referrals, and likelihood to purchase. Brand awareness through social sharing and search engine optimization (SEO) can influence a recruit’s perception of whether he or she would like to work for your firm. In past posts, I’ve talked about how collaboration with other partners is an effective way to build your business, and social media can help you form a deeper and broader network in that regard, too.

All great points.  How are you using social channels to engage and connect with your clients?

To learn about how Perficient increased website traffic 142% Blog traffic 95% and White Paper downloads 113% join our webinar with Erin Moloney Director of Digital & Social Media Marketing on April 18th at noon CST.

Rethinking the Customer Journey in a Social World Infographics

social_customer_experience_png

Read a great article this week by Mark Fidelman about the customer journey in the social world (infographic). As you all know, SOCIAL (internal business related social in particular) is one of the hottest topics in the CRM space and will be for all of 2013. With Microsoft’s purchase last year of Yammer, more and more will be rolled-out including strong integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM as a key priority. This is a very good read and will give you a better understanding of social for business. You can find the entire article here.

Four key points the author makes is around:

  • Integrated customer experience
  • Open processes
  • Social business tools
  • Data-driven decisions and insight

Bing, Klout, SQL, Hadoop and the Power of Social: Real Time Collaboration!

I’m always fascinated by the power of Social to connect people and information quickly. I’m also intrigued by the sense of community that can be driven by social collaboration, and how that community can drive crowd-sourced content curation. Here’s an example of that community collaboration at work.  ZDNet‘s MaryJo Foley published a post yesterday on Microsoft’s investment in Klout and associated Klout data integration into Bing Search results. In her post, Microsoft invests in Klout; integrates data into Bing MaryJo shared

Microsoft is making a “strategic investment” of an undisclosed size in social-media vendor Klout, company officials announced on its Bing Community blog on September 27.

On Bing, Microsoft is going to display Klout data — including a person’s Klout score and topics they are “influential” about — on the new Bing Sidebar pane for those users who can and want to see this information. And on Klout, “highlights from Bing will begin surfacing in the ‘moments’ section of some people’s Klout profiles,” a Microsoft spokesperson said.

This new partnership is related to Microsoft’s ongoing work to integrate social-search results into its Bing search engine via the sidebar panel, the same way that it does with Quora and foursquare.

When I read the post, I remembered an article I’d read earlier in the year about how Klout was using SQL Server and Hadoop from Gigaom and tweeted it to MaryJo.

@ I'm guessing you know this but Klout & Microsoft go waaay back http://t.co/a9abZF25 #SQL
@lizasisler
Liza Sisler

and this is what happened

@ I didn't know. So thanks for that link! Still doesn't change my opinion of Klout though :)
@maryjofoley
Mary Jo Foley
@ adding the link to my post! Thanks again
@maryjofoley
Mary Jo Foley

Sure enough MaryJo updated her post

Update: So maybe there really is a big data –and a Hadoop-specific play — in this Klout arrangement after all. Thanks to another of my Twitter buds, @Lizasisler from Perficient, comes this May 2012 GigaOm story about the relationship between Hadoop, Microsoft and Klout. (Remember, Microsoft is working on Hadoop for Windows Azure, and supposedly still Hadoop for Windows Server.) It sounds from this article as though Klout is a big SQL Server shop and a likely MySQL switcher.

I’ve written about the power of Twitter to connect people and information quickly before and we all have similar stories. What are yours?

 

Simply Social: SharePoint 2013

After my webinar on the topic went so well yesterday, I thought I’d distill the basics of Social (what, how, and why) in SharePoint 2013 into a few quick posts here at the blog.  Today’s inaugural topic represents the “what”— a quick look at the new social functionality in SharePoint 2013.

Anyone who remembers the old hub-and-spoke model of SharePoint functionality remembers that SharePoint 2010 came with a feature set entitled “Communities”.  This was Microsoft’s attempt to bring social computing behind the firewall with features like My Sites and their improved Activity Feed, Interests, and Expertise, plus Notes and Tagging and a powerful People Search experience.

This seemed like good stuff for its day, except with one very big problem: Users were already moving on.  Facebook and Twitter picked this timeframe to surge—maybe explode is the better term—in popularity, as did LinkedIn.  Users, being consumers who used these tools at home in ever-expanding numbers, expected an experience similar to Facebook.  (That’s what we call a consumer-driven experience, and that’s one of the major factors impacting the development of enterprise social technology).

SharePoint 2010 was famously missing the basic elements that made sites like Facebook and Twitter go: microblogging mainly, but also @targeting users and #targeting topics.  Microsoft has addressed these issues head-on in the new release of SharePoint 2013.  Let’s take a look.

SharePoint 2013 Social Screenshot

So there’s microblogging, just the way people expect it.  Here’s a neat catch though, just for the enterprise— not only can we see colleagues (“friends”) and their activities in our newsfeed, we can do the same with specific documents we are interested in as well.  We can @tag those colleagues and #topics that interest us to our hearts’ content, and hey—take a look—we can even navigate by them:

Annotated Screenshot of SP 2013

That’s it for the basics.  Next time, I want to talk about the cloud, analytics, release cycles and what that means for the enterprise decision maker.

Yammer and SharePoint and… Dynamics ? Oh my!

Wow.  And you thought we were done!  This afternoon, it feels like I’ve spent half the day keeping tabs on the conversation around Microsoft’s Yammer acquisition and its implications for enterprise social networking.  And for good reason– this is big news.  You can already find my own thoughts on the topic, both in terms of what questions Microsoft needs to answer next and specifically what it means for on-premise SharePoint customers.

In the wake of the news, one very popular topic around the web has been the potential synergy not just with SharePoint, but even moreso with Dynamics CRM and whether or not that’s even the right strategy for Microsoft to pursue.  That has some merit, given that Salesforce.com is actually a line of business tool, and integrating social with real, actionable data has worked for them.  Microsoft’s social has thus far been tied to the productivity space, which has also worked well– but isn’t necessarily tied immediately into line of business activity.  If they can take on SalesForce there, it opens up a whole new revenue stream for Redmond.

Let’s take a look at what some other folks are saying.  Rob Koplowitz at Forrester lays the groundwork for the acquisition that we should all be aware of– and tells us why something like this was inevitable:

Microsoft has been slow to the game in enterprise social. Their primary delivery mechanism, SharePoint, is a very big product with a traditionally long delivery cycle. When you upgrade your enterprise social story every 3-4 years, you’re going to be constantly behind in a market segment that is rewarded for being forward thinking. Hence, they’ve not been a thought leader. So, if you have gobs and gobs of cash, what do you do? Buy an undeniable thought leader. And Yammer is that.

I agree, which is why I’m constantly making bad jokes about waiting for Oracle to snap up Jive Software.  With that out of the way, the main body of Mr. Koplowitz’s post gets into some very interesting theorizing about who is driving the acquisition, and why.  He uses the analogy of the movie “Sliding Doors” (or what well-read sci-fi geeks call the Butterfly Effect) to consider potential futures for the acquisition.

Of particular note, Mr. Koplowitz raises the spectre of SalesForce and Microsoft’s own constant push for its competing CRM package.  This is something we haven’t addressed here, but it’s nearly as viable a thought as Yammer being gobbled up by the Office Division.  Mr. Koplowitz addresses both potential scenarios as minor fails, before outlining key ideas about how Microsoft should make it work.

Here is what Microsoft needs to do to make this work:

  • Keep Yammer largely autonomous.
  • Keep Yammer a pure SaaS play.
  • Fulfill the vision of a service.

Check out the full post for his detailed extrapolation on each.

Meanwhile, Larry Dignan at ZDNet takes a different approach– and I find his wholehearted skepticism to be somewhat refreshing.

Referring to the recent spate of social acquisitions as a “land grab” of “social enterprise lunacy”, Mr. Dignan puts into writing the same sort of critical reaction that I’ve been feeling myself.  Citing a number of reputable sources, Mr. Dignan asks the same question that many people I know have been quietly wondering:

Microsoft may be spending more than $1 billion on a social UI for SharePoint. Couldn’t one of Microsoft’s many skunkworks teams build a SharePoint activity stream that can compete?

I’m wondering if the answer to this lies in cloud enablement and Yammer’s reported one-million-strong existing customer base (credit to Mr. Koplowitz for that number).  Going back to Groove and continuing through Skype and now Yammer, Microsoft has long shown us that it prefers a buy-versus-build strategy when it comes to keeping on top of collaborative technology.  There’s no doubt that they can innovate on their own, but there’s some value to be had in buying someone else’s innovation when it comes along with a ready-made revenue stream.

Oh, and one that could either plug into your existing cloud infrastructure, help your fledgling CRM product take on a market leader, or better… both.

Guest Microsoft Partner Post: What Does Social Mean to You?

I was recently invited to guest blog on Microsoft’s partner site, DigitalWPC.com. I blogged on a topic I’m passionate about – Social Business Solution. You can read an excerpt from the post below. The full post is here.

According to Knowledge Networks, 60% of people use social media to discover new brands or products, 46% say it strongly influences purchase decisions and 40% check social media before making purchase decisions.
Given these statistics, many organizations are starting to realize that just being on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn isn’t enough. They’re finding that in order to have a relevant voice in today’s marketplace, they need a social strategy that encompasses multiple media messaging—and, of course, great content! As a result, an increasing number of organizations are looking at how they can leverage their investment in SharePoint as an enterprise collaboration platform—to drive social engagement in front of and behind the firewall. Telligent and NewsGator are two Microsoft (and Perficient) partners that are leaders in the social business space. They’re both leveraging social to drive greater collaboration, community engagement, and customer retention.
 I recently spoke with NewsGator’s President & CEO J.B. Holston about social business trends, you can see the video below.

SharePoint and Social with Mike Gannotti (@gannotti)

I recently caught up with Mike Gannotti in Philadelphia. We talked about his new role in the Philadelphia MTC, SharePoint, Social Media, Dogfooding (of course!) Tahoe (Mike’s been around SharePoint for a while), Social Business, Women in SharePoint & more. I learned that Mike is the Seventh most followed Microsoft entity on Twitter! You can see the video here