Social media continues to be a huge investment for Microsoft, particularly for the Dynamics CRM group, which will continue to step up its social media capabilities throughout the rest of 2012 and beyond. David Pennington, Director of Product Marketing, discussed the roadmap in a recent video interview with with CRMSoftware.TV
CRM’s first major push into social media was the November 2011 service update for CRM 2011, which included Activity Feeds, a Facebook-style wall feature. This feature allows internally managed groups to communicate and collaborate on CRM opportunities, leads, cases, colleagues, etc. through Microsoft Outlook, the Web interface, or through their mobile devices. Like Twitter or Facebook, the feeds are a mix of automated updates of activities already underway in CRM, along with comments and news contributed specifically to the feed by the user community.
While the Activity Feeds feature supports the internal community within an organizational ecosystem, Microsoft’s social CRM focus is now shifting to include far reaching social intelligence from the broader external community to enrich existing data already gathered inside a company’s internal CRM. One example of this already in place is the LinkedIn integration, which allows internal members of an organization to use the external social networking data found on LinkedIn to uncover and utilize contacts, sales leads, company networks, and other valuable business data.
As Dynamics CRM integrates more social intelligence gathering options into its software, collaboration capabilities between departments will improve, providing deeper business intelligence which will help guide business planning, forecasting, and decision making.