Why Did Arch Enemies Microsoft and Salesforce.com Enter into a Strategic Partnership?

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To answer that question, let’s look first at what both sides actually said in the official press release that came out on May 29, 2014.

“We are excited to partner with salesforce.com and help customers thrive in a mobile and cloud-first world,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “Working together we’ll deliver new solutions that connect the customer insights of Salesforce to the cloud productivity of Office 365, the cloud platform of Azure, and the mobility of Windows, so our customers can do more.”

“Today is about putting the customer first,” said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO, salesforce.com. “Together with Microsoft, we are building bridges that allow customers to be more productive.”

Still, given that Microsoft and Salesforce were often seen as arch rivals, much like the famous (or infamous) feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys, the announcement raised many eyebrows.

Going back to the press release, these are the stated goals of the partnership between these strange bedfellows:

“The companies plan to deliver the following solutions:

  • Salesforce1 for Windows and Windows Phone 8.1. Will enable customers to access Salesforce and run their business from their Windows devices. A preview is planned to be available in fall 2014 with general availability in 2015.
  • Salesforce for Office 365. New interoperability between Salesforce and Office 365 will give customers access to the content they need to collaborate, sell, service, and market from virtually anywhere. Plans include the ability to:
  • Access, share, edit, and collaborate on Office content from within Salesforce and on Salesforce1 using Office Mobile, Office for iPad, and Office 365.
  • Use OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online as integrated storage options for Salesforce.
  • Use Salesforce and Outlook together with a new Salesforce App for Outlook.
  • Connect Salesforce data to Excel and Power BI for Office 365 to visualize information and find new insights.”

We know that Naadella has a strong focus on mobile and cloud-based solutions, so these goals make sense in that light. But does this mean that the two companies have retired their boxing gloves? There was no mention in the article of Microsoft Dynamics CRM and the fact that Microsoft partners who resell Microsoft CRM are often in fierce competition with salesforce.com. The way I read the article, it’s all about Windows and Office and Windows phones and Outlook. So from our perspective here at Altico Advisors, as a Microsoft Dynamics CRM reseller, nothing has really changed. And from our perspective as integration specialists, we have already long been integrating salesforce.com with Microsoft Dynamics GP for clients who love their Microsoft Dynamics GP accounting software and their salesforce.com CRM system. So we’ve been playing nice in the sandbox with Salesforce for years! Still, if we had to recommend one CRM system over the other, we’d always recommend Microsoft Dynamics CRM, because, well, we think it’s the better of the two!

Perhaps Nadella and Benioff took heed from Machiavelli (or was it Sun Tzu) who said, keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

To learn more about Altico Advisors, you’re invited to browse our Web site @ www.AlticoAdvisors.com, contact Altico Advisors the old school way at 508-485-5588, or reach out to us online at http://www.alticoadvisors.com/Contact.aspx.

By Marcia Nita Doron, Altico Advisors, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner serving Massachusetts (MA) and beyond.

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