Dynamics CRM 2016 to Be Available as Office 365 Add-On Option

Office 365 business customers will soon be able to add Microsoft's CRM software for an added, per-user fee.


A new announcement Nov. 5 from Microsoft suggests that the official launch of Dynamics CRM 2016, scheduled for the current quarter, is drawing closer.

The upcoming update to Microsoft's customer relationship management (CRM) platform, Dynamics CRM 2016, will feature more seamless integration with Office 365, the company's venerable cloud-enabled productivity suite. Soon, the two offerings will also be linked from a licensing perspective.

"We are making it easier than ever for customer service organizations and teams to purchase Dynamics CRM with the power and productivity of Office 365 and Power BI. We are introducing a Service Productivity Solution for Microsoft with a programmatic license via the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Professional Add-On to Office 365," said Bob Stutz, corporate vice president of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, in a Nov. 5 announcement.

"This will be offered as a $50 per user per month add-on for Office 365 Plan E3, E5 and Business Premium licenses," continued Stutz. "We believe every employee can benefit from our knowledgebase capabilities, so we are also introducing a new, low cost Employee Self-Service license."

Dynamics CRM customers won't be forced into acquiring Office 365 licenses for their organizations, assured Stutz. "Existing licensing options for organizations who want to purchase CRM on-premises, CRM Online, customer service and customer self-service solutions separately will continue to be available."

Dynamics CRM 2016 is a major revamp of the software used by sales and customer service professionals. It's also a push by the software giant to maintain the software's upward momentum in the marketplace.

"The companies I talk with every day are under pressure to grow revenue while differentiating themselves on customer experience. It's one reason usage of CRM is growing," Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, told attendees of the company's fiscal year 2016 first-quarter earnings conference call on Oct. 22. "Dynamics CRM Online enterprise seats more than tripled year over year."

Microsoft's CFO, Amy Hood, revealed later during the call that Dynamics "grew 12 percent in constant currency, slightly better than we expected. Growth was driven primarily by Dynamics CRM Online."

Data visualization, analytics and machine leaning, areas of intense focus for Microsoft of late, will feature prominently in the next release. "Real-time dashboards provide a single view of their workload giving organizations and agents the flexibility to choose the order of case resolution," Stutz said.

"Interactive charts provide a visual representation of the work items and can also be used as visual filters that allow agents to slice and dice the data, view what is most important, see the next action and focus on faster resolutions." By enlisting Azure Machine Learning, a cloud-based predictive analytics technology, Microsoft is "making customer engagement more intelligent, enabling organizations to learn over time from the issues they are facing so that patterns can be identified, speeding time to resolution and continuously improving performance," Stutz added.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...