Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Update Adds Social Networking
As promised, the cloud-hosted Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online November 2011 service update brings social collaboration capabilities and a unified Microsoft Office 365 experience. The update is available now for current Microsoft Dynamics CRM subscribers, on-premises users and hosted service providers.
Those social collaboration features are essentially what you’ve come to expect from a SaaS product in 2011: activity feeds (read: Facebook newsfeeds), micro-blogging (read: status updates), conversations (read: comments), automated activity updates (read: application wallposts), and a social-focused Windows Phone 7 app, according to the press release.
I don’t mean to sound blasé about Dynamics CRM’s new social network layer, but it really does sound like exactly what Salesforce.com Chatter has had in its own cloud CRM solution for a year now. Even Oracle Public Cloud will include an enterprise-grade social network. It’s no longer a feature and more of an expected bullet point. Of course, that is itself a step toward validating Salesforce’s Social Enterprise cloud vision.
As for that Microsoft Office 365 integration — Microsoft is now offering Dynamics CRM Online on the same billing, administration and provisioning platform as its productivity suite. For end users, Microsoft said the Dynamics CRM/Office 365 experience is now “seamless.” And as an added bonus, the suite gets better disaster recovery capabilities, thanks to in-region replication.
I sense that this service update would have made more of a splash had Microsoft not released every detail far, far in advance. Still, if you’re a cloud service provider taking advantage of the new features in customer deployments, we’d love to hear from you in the comments below.