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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

March 19, 2013 at 8:40 AM

Microsoft Dynamics announces new acquisition, upcoming releases

They may not be familiar household names, in the way that Windows and Office are, but Dynamics CRM and Dynamics ERP are two Microsoft products that are among the company’s faster growing products.

Microsoft Business Solutions, the division that produces the Dynamics line of business management software, has plans for further growth. It announced today at its Convergence annual conference for customers and partners an acquisition as well as several new releases. About 11,000 people are attending the conference in New Orleans this year.

Microsoft is acquiring NetBreeze, a Swiss social media monitoring and analytics company. The acquisition is intended to further the company’s goal of embedding social monitoring capabilities across Dynamics CRM offerings. Dynamics CRM is Microsoft’s set of customer relationship management tools. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Microsoft is also releasing a new version of MarketingPilot, the software from the marketing automation software company of the same name, which Microsoft purchased in October. MarketingPilot provides software for marketing departments and ad agencies to help them better understand their customers and manage and execute their marketing campaigns. The new version, which will be able to work with Dynamics CRM, features a simplified user experience, according to Microsoft.

The overall revenue for Dynamics has grown 12 percent year over year, with revenue for CRM growing more than 30 percent, said Seth Patton, senior director of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. (Microsoft did not disclose the revenue amount for Dynamics.) It now has 3 million users, he said.

Dynamics ERP — Microsoft’s set of enterprise resource planning tools designed for tasks such as invoicing, procurements and financials — will be getting some mobile apps capabilities, such as being able to capture receipts on a smartphone and reconciling expenses on tablets.

Dynamics AX, which is part of Dynamics ERP and bundles together functions for financial, human resources and operations management, will be getting an update in the later half of this year. The update will include some mobile capabilities for smartphones and tablets, such as being able to capture receipts with a smartphone.

Though it’s growing fast, Microsoft was a latecomer to the multi-billion-dollar CRM and ERP market and is now playing catch up with leaders including Oracle and SAP.

With the latest acquisitions and releases, though, Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM is finally catching up, said Paul Greenberg, author of “CRM at the Speed of Light” and a consultant who has worked for companies providing CRM services, including Microsoft.

In recent months, Microsoft has filled a marketing analytics hole with its acquisition of MarketingPilot, redesigned the software to be more user friendly, and added more social capabilities, Greenberg said.

“Starting with Convergence last year, analysts were more bullish on Microsoft,” Greenberg said. “The general perception is that Microsoft has now caught up and is now highly competitive.”

On the ERP side, Microsoft is in third place in market share, far behind leaders SAP and Oracle, said IDC analyst Christine Dover, who adds that Microsoft needs to increase its efforts on its cloud solutions for ERP in order to catch up.

But there are opportunities, she said.

“Mobile is becoming more important. This is an area where Microsoft has an opportunity,” Dover said. “They own the operating system. They have opportunities where they are selling into corporations where they could create a very nice mobile solution with Dynamics.”

In the mobile space, she said, “nobody’s really late here.”

Comments | More in Microsoft | Topics: convergence, dynamics, dynamics ax

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