Microsoft has decided to boost its cloud offering for business by bundling its Dynamics customer relations management and enterprise resource planning products into its Office 365 suite.
The company has also launched an app store, which it is calling Microsoft AppSource, to encourage developers to build software which can be used on its platform.
Microsoft says Dynamics 365 will now have “deep integration” with Office 365 and will “connect the structured workflow of business apps with the unstructured work of collaboration and productivity”.
The company, which recently bought LinkedIn for a cool $26 billion, looks to be developing a business environment wherein it could offer unified communications and collaboration services, as well as CRM and ERP functions, all within one combined system.
Despite its overall size and obvious financial muscle, Microsoft is a relative minnow in the CRM market, according to a study by Gartner, which says the peddler of the Windows operating system has about 4 per cent of the market.
Salesforce is way out in front, with 20 per cent of the CRM market, with SAP and Oracle on 10 per cent and 8 per cent respectively, according to Gartner.
Moreover, Salesforce has been making moves to strengthen its position by buying what it apparently believes will be the next generation of CRM platforms — artificial intelligence.
More specifically, Salesforce has been buying up companies which can help maintain its advantage in the CRM market, as well as add to its machine learning systems.
The companies Salesforce has bought includes PredictionIO, MinHash, and TempoAI — all of which have a strong AI-driven data analytics element.
As reported on BusinessInsider.com, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff says: “This will be the huge shift going forward, which is that everybody wants systems that are smarter, everybody wants systems that are more predictive.”
Today, Salesforce announced that it had completed its latest acquisition with the purchase of Demandware, a provider of individualised CRM services delivered from the cloud.
Demandware works with companies such as L’Oreal, Land’s End, and Marks & Spencer to “connect 1-to-1 with consumers across the web, mobile, social and in-store experiences”.
“Demandware is an amazing company,” says Benioff. “With Demandware, Salesforce will be well positioned to deliver the future of commerce as part of our ‘Customer Success Platform’ and create yet another billion dollar cloud.”
The purchase of Demandware is said to represent the entry of Salesforce into the commerce market.