Microsoft as expected last week announced that it would be integrating its Yammer social networking and Skype unified communications services with Microsoft Dynamics CRM software. This week Microsoft took that effort a step further via an alliance with Moxie Software under which another social networking application for the enterprise is being integrated within Microsoft Dynamics.
Moxie provides a social networking service that allows organizations to keep track of every interaction with any given customer. Aimed primarily at call center operations, Moxie Software provides the ability to create knowledge bases that customer sales and service representatives can refer to on an ongoing basis.
According to Nikhil Govindaraj, vice president of products for Moxie Software, Moxie is a natural extension social CRM ecosystem because like most Microsoft products it is built on top of Microsoft.net. In the case of Moxie, that integration was accomplished using the company’s Spaces Connect middleware software to integrate with Microsoft Dynamics running on premise or in the cloud.
Taken together, Yammer, Skype and Moxie allow any organization to invoke a comprehensive set of social networking services via a set of APIs that have been tightly integrated with customer records stored in Microsoft Dynamics. The end result is a framework specifically designed to make it easier for organizations to not only service customers, but also sell additional products based on what they already know about that customer.
Microsoft isn’t the only vendor trying to leverage APIs to compete more aggressively in the CRM space. Both Salesforce.com and SAP have mapped out similar strategies. Microsoft has taken it a step further, however, by acquiring to two major social networking players while simultaneously encouraging some third-party partners to take advantage of Microsoft Dynamics APIs.
While Microsoft has never been known for its openness, there are signs that the software behemoth has seen the merits of at least creating ecosystems around some of its core applications. How far that will extend or how comfortable Microsoft is in terms of participating in an ecosystem dominated by another vendor remains to be seen. But for now at least, users of Microsoft Dynamics are better off now if for no other reason that the more integrated an application becomes with other applications, the more valuable that application becomes.