What the Microsoft Acquisition of Parature Means for Dynamics CRM

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Microsoft recently announced its plan to purchase Parature, a cloud-based customer service software provider which specializes in engaging customers across multiple channels like email, live chat, and through self-service knowledge bases. The initial press release hinted that this acquisition would be used to strengthen the Dynamics CRM platform in the future. Parature already provides integrations to a number of products, one of which being Dynamics CRM. Currently this integration will synchronize customer data between systems as well as provide a view into the Parature web application from Dynamics CRM records.

It is too early to tell what enhancements Microsoft will make to the integration between the two products but these are a few of the things I’d like to see based on the functionality Parature already uses in their products today.

Integrated Live Chat

Having a live chat feature on your own customer service website for customers to use which links back to a Dynamics CRM record would be a great addition. Contents of the chat would naturally be captured and linked to a Contact or Case record so the details are not forgotten.

Enhanced Knowledge Base

Over the course of the last few releases of Dynamics CRM there haven’t been a lot of improvements to the built in Knowledge Base functionality.  The existing Article entity doesn’t provide enough as far as adding rich content goes. Things like hyperlinks, images, and videos aren’t possible out of the box so any improvements in this area would be welcome. Being able to expose this information to customers via a portal in an easy way would be a huge bonus as well.

Content Library

Speaking of using a portal to expose information to customers, Parature’s software also includes capabilities that can manage different forms of electronic media. Dynamics CRM can already leverage SharePoint to handle file management but not everyone wants to tame that beast. Using SharePoint in a public facing capacity to expose documents can make the implementation even more complex. This could be the solution that balances powerful features with ease of use.
We probably won’t see much as far as additional integration in the next few point releases of Dynamics CRM over the coming months, but acquisitions like Parature, MarketingPilot and Netbreeze show Microsoft’s level of commitment to the product and how they intend to make it grow going forward.

Author: Jason Lattimer

Dynamics CRM Development Consultant at Ledgeview Partners
Product Evangelist & Dynamics CRM MVP

Ledgeview Partners

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