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Azure-Hosted Dynamics CRM Service To Arrive in Q2

Windows Azure-hosted Dynamics CRM services and a new release of Dynamics CRM Online is scheduled to be launched by Microsoft this year.

Together, the updates signify the fruits of a number of key CRM-related Microsoft acquisitions in recent years -- specifically, those of MarketingPilot, Netbreeze and Parature. They are aimed at enhancing Dynamics CRM's marketing, social networking and customer-interactions, according to Microsoft's announcement.

"With this new release, we are essentially changing the CRM game," said Dynamics Corporate Vice President Bob Stutz in a prepared statement.

The two new Dynamics CRM services are Dynamics Marketing and Social Listening. Dynamics Marketing is a rebranded version of the marketing automation technology that Microsoft acquired in its 2012 purchase of MarketingPilot. Previously, Microsoft gave Dynamics CRM users access to the MarketingPilot technology via a "connector."

The new Dynamics Marketing component will be available as a Windows Azure-hosted add-on service for Dynamics CRM users in 35 markets, and in 10 languages. It will feature improvements to e-mail marketing, analytics and lead management capabilities. Microsoft did not reveal pricing information for this service yet.

The second service, Social Listening, features technology acquired from Netbreeze, which Microsoft purchased last year. Social Listening, also hosted on Windows Azure, is designed to help Dynamics CRM users efficiently track marketing data -- including customer sentiment and product campaigns -- across various social networks and Web sites in real time.

Social Listening will be free to subscribers of Dynamics CRM Online Professional. Users of on-premises Dynamics CRM will be able to access the service at "an incremental cost," Microsoft said.

[Click on image for larger view.] Social Listening

Dynamics Marketing and Social Listening will work with both the on-premises and online versions of Dynamics CRM, a Microsoft spokesperson said.

Finally, Microsoft is also planning to update its core Dynamics CRM Online offering with a new release in Q2. As Microsoft has previously said, the release, previously code-named "Leo," will incorporate technology acquired from last month's purchase of Parature, a provider of cloud-based customer service solutions.

The new version of Dynamics CRM Online (Microsoft has not yet revealed the formal name for the release) will feature enhancements to the product's customer-care capabilities, including the ability to choose the medium for interacting with customers -- be it through a social networking site, a Web chat or a self-service portal.

The release will also feature a new Unified Service Desk tool, which is designed to enable call-center workers to perform multiple customer-care processes at once.

The Microsoft spokesperson indicated that the on-premises version of Dynamics CRM will receive a corresponding update after the new Dynamics CRM Online version rolls out.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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