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Microsoft Buying Parature for Dynamics CRM Product Line

Microsoft announced today that it is buying Parature, a provider of cloud-based customer service solutions for organizations.

Microsoft is planning to use Parature's solutions as a "complement" to the customer care solution that's currently in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, according to Bob Stutz, corporate vice president of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, in a blog post. Stutz suggested that Parature's technology could get integrated into the next Microsoft Dynamics CRM release. Dynamics CRM combines sales, marketing and customer service functions, competing with products from Salesforce.com and Oracle, among others.

The next Microsoft Dynamics CRM release is code-named "Leo" and might arrive in "mid-2014," according to Rob Helm, managing vice president at Directions on Microsoft, a Kirkland, Wash.-based independent consultancy.

"Leo will probably deliver out-of-the-box integration with the Parature service, but there could be other customer service improvements as well," Helm speculated, via e-mail.

Parature was already a partner with Microsoft on Dynamics before the acquisition announcement and has claimed to have 70 million users of its cloud-based services. For Dynamics CRM, Parature provides its self-service knowledge base and portal, a live chat service that integrates with social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter, and a trouble-ticketing service that routes users to an organization's customer support personnel. In addition, the Parature Social Monitor solution can track social networking information. For instance the Social Monitor can pull together and log customer product discussions from Twitter sessions for possible response.

Microsoft didn't announce the terms of the acquisition. The company indicated in a press release that it will "continue to offer Parature solutions and support all new and existing [Parature] customers."

The acquisition of Parature follows Microsoft's purchase of Yammer, a maker of enterprise social networking solutions that also are getting integrated into Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The Yammer integration into Dynamics CRM mostly will be done to enable employee-to-employee communications within organizations, whereas Parature's technology facilitates customer service communications originating from outside an organization, according to Helm.

"Parature is intended to help employees work with customers over public social networks like Facebook," Helm explained. "In general, Parature opens Dynamics CRM up to new channels for working with customers."

Parature started out as Cyracle Technologies in 2001 and was founded by five Cornell University college students, according to the company's history. The Parature name was derived from the phrase, "paradigm of the future."

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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