It's been one month since the announcement of the Microsoft and Salesforce.com partnership agreement. It was understandably shocking to most of the Microsoft CRM community. Benioff was our foil, and now he was literally next to our new CEO, smiling and extolling the virtues of the Microsoft cloud. And because of the ExactTarget acquisition, Salesforce.com, like our company Hitachi Solutions, is now a global Microsoft partner (more on that below). It was odd, some of the press releases seemed cryptic, but time has given some clarity and some silver lining is shining through.
Further validation the MS Cloud. Benioff and his minions can no longer question Microsoft's commitment to the cloud. Benioff spends a good portion of his public speaking time knocking his competitors. In the announcement, Benioff said (among other niceties) that Microsoft is "doing a lot of the right things" in relation to the cloud. He also admitted that they have been using Microsoft products successfully since SFDC's inception. With Benioff no longer knocking Microsoft, the channel will have one less layer of FUD.
This hurts the validity of the Google enterprise stack. For a number of years, Google has positioned itself closely in the enterprise with Salesforce as the best of breed cloud solutions. Now that Salesforce has access to true best of breed office stack, they don't the Google doc alignment. By allowing Salesforce customers easy access to Microsoft Office 365 productivity apps, IT directors don't have force Salesforce users to Google docs. Salesforce is acknowledging that Microsoft Office is integral to success in the enterprise. "They want to be able to work with Office 365, they want to be able to work with Excel, with Outlook," explained Benioff.
Our CRM can stand up to their CRM. For many years and in previous versions of MSCRM, Outlook integration was our best differentiator. Now we have much more. We have a complete service story that not only includes major updates in Leo, but also includes the Parature offering. Our Marketing story around MDM is fantastic. We are addressing real marketing department scenarios that other CRM platforms haven't thought about yet. The point is, Microsoft Dynamics continues to throw wood on the fire and continues to innovate in Dynamics.
Everyone else is doing it. Microsoft has done these type of deals with competitors in the past and they look to continue if not accelerate the pace. SAP and Oracle have been in these type of deals with Microsoft for years. Just one week after the SFDC announcement, Microsoft announced a similar partnership with SMB enterprise player Zoho. Zoho President Raj Sabhlok noted "We've seen a night and day difference" in Microsoft. "Directionally, it's less about protecting the Microsoft operating system and being about the customer."
This is another example of the strategy shift at the top.Jim Cramer noted that this was not the "winner-take-all, loser-take-none" approach of Steve Ballmer. Nadella is kinder, gentler and more cooperative. At the press conference, when asked about the Microsoft CRM competing directly with SFDC, Nadella said, "There will be some areas that we will compete in. But at the same time, I think as being anyone who has got a broad partnership and a platform approach, you will expect us to do exactly what our customers demand of us on those respects."
Competition breeds innovation. MBS President Karill Tatarinov addressed this in his blog "Amazing things are happening in the CRM space and it is through competition that great innovation comes. Salesforce is acknowledged for their leadership in shaping this industry by delivering applications in the cloud. Microsoft Dynamics CRM is one of the fastest growing products at Microsoft and shows no signs of slowing down as we continue to innovate and make progress. Our unique ability to deliver agile, simple to use, end-to-end solutions that take advantage of all Microsoft technologies puts us on the precipice of tremendous opportunity to impact businesses and organizations throughout the world.
Salesforce.com is a Microsoft Global ISV partner. Because of Salesforce.com's acquisition of ExactTarget, Salesforce.com is now officially Microsoft Global ISV partner. ExactTarget uses of Microsoft technologies like SQL and Azure to deliver their solution to thousand of customers and millions of end users. Benioff sounds genuinely excited. "And we're also excited to announce that SQL Server is going to continue to be the database for ExactTarget, and that we are increasing our investment and resources on SQL Server, and that Salesforce will also use Microsoft Azure for ExactTarget development and testing, and also researching other areas where we can use Azure through our company." No word yet on when Benioff will be speaking at WPC.
In the end, Microsoft will reach more end users and continue to dominate the office productivity market. Those Salesforce users will love using the Microsoft tools, and they may even become true Microsoft fans. And as those fans grow in their organizations into buying roles, they may want to take a look at how Microsoft CRM can help their business grow.