The three most interesting things I saw at Microsoft’s Convergence Conference related to Microsoft Dynamics CRM were Bing Maps for Enterprise Integration, Netbreeze’s social CRM, and MarketingPilot. Netbreeze and MarketingPilot were both acquired by Microsoft.
One of the things that we have been asked for frequently by prospective Microsoft Dynamics CRM clients is the ability to display their records on a map. With the latest version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, you can now display the location of an account, contact, or lead embedded in the form with Bing maps. But the really cool thing I saw at Convergence in the Microsoft booth at the Bing station was how you can display an entire data set from Microsoft Dynamics CRM with Bing Enterprise. If you want to display all your prospects and customers on a map of the United States, you can do this with Bing Enterprise and a little setup and configuration by a developer.
The second CRM discovery from Convergence was the Netbreeze social CRM tool, which will be included free with future versions of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. This tool is designed to help organizations listen to, analyze, and engage with their customers. Netbreeze allows you to monitor social buzz, understand your sentiment, and measure the impact of your social presence. I can’t wait to learn more.
Although I had heard about the MarketingPilot acquisition months before Convergence, I really didn’t know what it does or how it fit into Microsoft Dynamics CRM’s toolbox. Now that I have a better understanding, I’m still not sure how it fits in, and I didn’t hear a clear message from Microsoft. MarketingPilot is a platform for a company to track all its marketing spends, both online and in traditional channels like print and television ads. Many companies are doing this today in Excel with a rather time-consuming method using information from multiple systems. MarketingPilot allows this process to be simplified and centralized. I asked the staff at the Microsoft booth if this would replace emarketing add-ons like ClickDimensions and SalesFUSION. They said no, that MarketingPilot will complement these add-ons.
Of course, being in the Big Easy for a week was a lot of fun, but I also enjoyed the Convergence Conference itself and look forward to next year in Atlanta.
Submitted by: Ken Jacobsen, Director of Sales and Marketing, The TM Group, Inc.