Microsoft Acquires FieldOne for Field Service CRM

By Pedro Hernandez  |  Posted 2015-07-16 Print this article Print

The deal is an early step in bringing predictive analytics and IoT-driven workflows to field service workers.

Microsoft today announced that it has acquired FieldOne Systems, a Mahwah, N.J., cloud-based provider of field service and customer relationship management (CRM) software. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Bob Stutz, corporate vice president of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, described FieldOne as "a leading provider of end-to-end solutions that enable businesses to drive revenue, reduce costs and deliver great customer service," in a July 16 announcement. "Their industry-leading solution specializes in delivering a full set of capabilities that include work order management, automated scheduling, asset contract, inventory and procurement management, workflow capabilities and mobile collaboration—providing enterprises with a comprehensive modern field service solution."

FieldOne's technology will be incorporated into the Dynamics CRM product portfolio, Param Kahlon, partner group program manager and CRM program manager at Microsoft, told eWEEK. In terms of integrating the tech and the company's talent, the companies are already on the same page.

"FieldOne has built [its] field service delivery service on our product," said Kahlon, referring to the platform's basis in Microsoft's CRM. "In terms of go-to-market, it's already built on our stack," he added, suggesting that there will be few technical hurdles in linking the companies' platforms. Although the integration process is in its earliest stages, Kahlon predicts that a FieldOne-based solution will be made available first on Dynamics CRM Online and later on its on-premises counterpart.

Most of the solution's developers are also expected to make the jump to Microsoft. It's the software giant's "intent to keep most if not all the employees," Kahlon said.

The deal, several months in the making, helps Microsoft flesh out its cloud-delivered CRM vision, according to Kahlon. "When we look at the Dynamics portfolio, we have strong products in sales, marketing and a pretty strong product in customer service as well," he said. "Acquiring Parature solved that [last] part." Microsoft snapped up Parature, a provider of customer-facing self-service software, in January 2014.

The technology also aligns with Microsoft's Internet of things (IoT) push and efforts to popularize workplace analytics, even for work environments such as oil rig inspections or on-site repairs of business equipment or industrial machinery. By layering services like Azure IoT and Cortana Analytics, and armed with "a lot of sensor data," Microsoft hopes to aid field service organizations in the transition from a "break-fix delivery model to a predictive model," said Kahlon.

Businesses are starved for ways of better integrating their field service operations into their customer service efforts, said Ilan Slasky, CEO of FieldOne. They are juggling "hundreds of millions of service calls and work orders annually," he said. Seeking better customer outcomes and more efficient business processes, FieldOne is "seeing demand from all sorts of companies that desire to differentiate themselves from their competitors."

"They lack the right technology and they admit this freely," Slasky said of his company's own customer engagements. With a strong focus on mobile-enabled productivity and collaboration, FieldOne's platform helps businesses that regularly dispatch field personnel "automate and improve," he said.



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