Microsoft's continued investments in Azure, the Redmond, Wash.-based software company's cloud computing platform, is opening up new markets for its software-as-a-service (SaaS) customer relationship management (CRM) product.
Bob Stutz, corporate vice president of Microsoft Dynamics, announced on Aug. 4 that Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online is now available in 17 countries. The expansion was made possible by his company's big cloud computing push.
The new countries are Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, U.S. Virgin Islands, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, Philippines, Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates.
"To make this possible, we have made investments to expand our datacenter locations," said Stutz in a statement. In particular, those investments should result in noticeably snappier performance for South American customers.
"With the global expansion, CRM Online is now available and running within Microsoft's Latin America datacenter located in Brazil," informed Stutz. "This regionally located datacenter means less latency than traversing to North America resulting in better service for our customers in this part of the world," he added, before claiming the distinction of being the first CRM vendor to provide this capability to the continent.
And Microsoft will continue pumping money into its cloud data centers, at least for the foreseeable future, according to Microsoft's CFO, Amy Hood.
During a July 22 conference call that capped off the company's fiscal 2014 fourth-quarter earnings, Hood said that cloud infrastructure investments "are necessary to support and enable the significant growth and momentum in our cloud services." As Microsoft prioritizes cloud spending, Hood said the company expects "capex to increase sequentially to further support [its] growth" during the current, fiscal 2015 first quarter.
For Microsoft, it means more of the world is covered by its cloud-delivered CRM platform. "With these investments and this global expansion, Dynamics CRM Online is now available in four global regions serving over 50 global markets," said Stutz.
The global push follows the June 2 launch of the Dynamics CRM Spring Update.
Major enhancements included the addition of Microsoft Dynamics Marketing based on MarketingPilot's automated campaign tracking and planning tools. Microsoft acquired MarketingPilot in 2012.
The update also introduced an add-on based on tech from another acquisition, this time NetBreeze, a social media monitoring and analytics company that Microsoft scooped up last year. Dubbed Social Listening, the software gauges the social sentiment surrounding brands.
It also follows this spring's strategic partnership with CRM competitor Salesforce.com.
On May 29, Microsoft and Salesforce announced that as part of the deal—financial terms of which are being kept under wraps—the companies will incorporate some Azure services, namely Microsoft's OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online, into the Salesforce ecosystem. Native Salesforce apps for Windows devices are also in the works.
"Our new native Salesforce1 app for Windows Phones is going to give our users the power to run their businesses from their Windows Phones, and we see that in the market today," said Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.