Microsoft Launches Dynamics CRM-Based Sales Productivity Bundle

Targeted at sales organizations, the new offering combines Microsoft's Dynamics CRM software with Office 365 and Power BI.


Microsoft is angling to become a one-stop shop for sales organizations.

After revamping its enterprise resource planning (ERP) software slate for SMBs, the Redmond, Wash.-based software today turned its attention to the customer relationship management (CRM) side of the Dynamics product portfolio with the release of Sales Productivity, a bundle that includes Dynamics CRM, Office 365 and Power BI.

Sales Productivity helps keep all members of an organization on the same page, asserts Paco Contreras, director of product marketing for Microsoft Business Solutions.

For example, salespeople "can efficiently work on what matters most to their customers, prioritizing their time on the most promising leads, getting social insights and working with their network to close deals faster," Contreras wrote in a company blog post. Meanwhile, managers can monitor performance indicators, and high-level executives can "track the overall health of the sales organization," he added.

The offering is available now for an introductory price of $65 per user per month. Currently, Office 365 customers can upgrade for $45 per user per month. According to Microsoft, the bundle represents a savings of 50 percent compared with comparable offerings.

The Sales Productivity bundle arrives just before the planned release of Dynamics CRM 2015. Due to ship in the current quarter, the software features deeper integration with the Microsoft business software ecosystem and includes a Sales Collaboration Panel, which, as its name suggests, encourages collaboration between sales professionals and marketers.

"Unlike vendors that want to separate businesses by selling them countless different clouds and solutions, we have designed Microsoft Dynamics CRM to facilitate the kind of collaboration that businesses need to thrive and grow," said Bob Stutz, corporate vice president of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, in a Sept. 16 announcement.

With today's announcement, Stutz is voicing similar themes. "The importance of combining powerful productivity tools with business applications is something that Microsoft Dynamics has recognized all along—indeed it is core to our strategy," he said in a statement.

In recent years, Office 365 has evolved beyond its core applications (Word, Outlook, PowerPoint and Excel) to become an extensible, cloud-enabled productivity software platform. Office 365 subscriptions can offer access to Yammer, Lync communications and cloud storage.

In July, Microsoft began bundling its Yammer enterprise social networking service with Office 365 Midsize Business and Office 365 Education plans, after first adding the component to Office 365 Enterprise in November. Last month, the company began rolling out a Yammer-like collaboration feature called Groups.

Power BI for Office 365 is Microsoft's cloud-powered answer to the big data skills shortage. The self-service business intelligence software enables users to analyze and explore data using Excel's familiar toolset. BI Sites, the product's companion collaboration piece, allows users to share reports, visualizations and data queries.

"We have been building our products to work seamlessly together from day one, and this new offering makes it even easier for our customers to get and benefit from this combination of solutions today," said Stutz.

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 network of...