A building on the Microsoft Headquarters campus is pictured July 17, 2014 in Redmond, Washington. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced, July 17, that Microsoft will cut 18,000 jobs, the largest layoff in the company's history.


Microsoft today announced the release of Dynamics CRM 2016, the latest version of its customer relationship management software (CRM). Available both as a cloud service and on-premises software, Dynamics CRM 2016 comes with features Microsoft has picked up through its acquisition of two companies, FieldOne, a provider of software for managing the activity of service workers, and Parature, a cloud-based customer-service software vendor.

“CRM 2016 delivers a single, unified solution for Customer Service across self-service, agent assisted service and field service,” Microsoft Dynamics general manager Jujhar Singh wrote in a blog post on the news. “Building on the integration of Parature knowledge management in spring 2015, we now have a new role driven agent experience with the Interactive Service Hub, native Knowledge Management, surveys to capture voice of the customer and field service capabilities with our recent acquisition of FieldOne.”

But Microsoft isn’t only leaning on acquisitions in order to flesh out Dynamics and make it a more dominant force in the CRM market, where Salesforce plays a leading role with its cloud-only Sales Cloud.

Microsoft is also adding its Cortana personal digital assistant this time around. Cortana “surfaces CRM data for key sales activities, accounts and deals,” Singh wrote.

That’s something that Salesforce doesn’t have at least for now.

Of course, Microsoft wants to do more with Dynamics. That will include drawing on data from Internet-connected devices, an area where Salesforce recently launched a cloud.

“As we look to the future, we will continue to combine the strength of the intelligent cloud platform to our business application service where organizations will be empowered and proactive — saving costs, increasing customer loyalty and even saving patient lives,” Singh wrote. “For example, combining the field service capabilities from FieldOne with the power of the Azure IoT Suite, will be able to deliver predictive maintenance right to the user, so companies can move away from a break-fix model to actually provide service before a breakdown. This will save time while creating efficiencies and predictability and increasing customer loyalty.”

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