Asked Josh Greenbaum, speaking for a group of analysts Microsoft briefed during CRM Evolution on Monday about updates to its Dynamics 365. What used to be a HR recruiters playground in LinkedIn a few years ago is becoming a salesperson’s goldmine as Microsoft leverages its $ 26 bn acquisition (while trying to preserving the sanctity of the “members first” philosophy that fueled the social network). The new features available this summer will crawl through a salesperson's email, calendar and LinkedIn relationships to identify touch points at a prospect. It will also allow for leverage of co-workers and other contacts to get introduced to other touch points on LinkedIn.
On the service side, Microsoft demoed integration to asset functionality, which using sensors increasingly initiate service calls. It also showed integration to its project functionality as service calls increasingly involve teams of service engineers and consultants. The image below shows integration with events functionality, expanding the reach of marketing activities.
That afternoon, I presented at the conference on how CRM is being transformed by various automation technologies. There is Salesforce’s Einstein AI combined with IBM’s Watson AI to bring weather related alerts to customers in the Property Insurance space. There is Amazon which with Alexa is changing product order entry and other customer facing interaction. It is piloting Prime Air delivery drones and Go convenience stores that use machine vision to eliminate checkout lines. We are seeing 3D printing of spares, robotic restaurants, telemedicine and many other examples of radical reshaping of customer service. There are so many other examples of how CRM is being reshaped. My presentation is available for download here.
Josh is so right - where does CRM end and where do ERP, EAM, collaboration, AI and other functionality take over? And does it matter anymore so long as customer-facing activities keep benefiting from technological advances?