Microsoft Readies Dynamics for the IoT Age

More change is afoot at Microsoft. The company seeks to put IoT's 'things' to work by moving Dynamics CRM and ERP under the Cloud and Enterprise division.

IoT and Dynamics CRM and ERP

The departure of former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop isn't the only change coming to Microsoft in the wake of the software giant's latest management shakeup.

In a June 17 email to employees, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, announced the company is "moving the development teams who build our Dynamics products to C+E [Cloud and Enterprise], which will enable us to accelerate our ERP and CRM work even further and mainstream them as part of our core engineering and innovation efforts." Headed by Executive Vice President Scott Guthrie, Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise division is responsible for the company's expansive Azure cloud software and services slate, as well as its server products.

Bringing the Dynamics suite of enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) under the umbrella will not only bring those products into tighter alignment with Microsoft's cloud-first product strategy, it paves the way for Internet of things-enabled business processes.

"Increasingly the line between modern app and core business process are blurring," Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Chief Strategist James Staten, wrote in a blog post detailing the reasoning behind the move. "In Internet of things implementations, for example, modern app models are used to string together streaming data coming from devices and sensors, BI and analytics tools and often data from ERP and CRM systems."

Earlier this month, IDC forecast that IoT spending would reach $1.7 trillion by 2020, most of it driven by businesses. "There is a distinct difference in the size of the consumer wearable market and the industrial and enterprise market, and while the wearables gets a lot of public attention, the real business happens in the latter markets," Vernon Turner, IDC senior vice president and research fellow, told eWEEK.

Microsoft is enlisting its Azure cloud platform to help enterprises better incorporate IoT data into their business processes, according to Staten.

"In the Microsoft world, this means integrating Dynamics ERP and Dynamics CRM with the Azure IoT suite (which pre-integrates Azure Event Hubs, Azure DocumentDB, Azure Stream Analytics, Azure Notification Hubs, Azure Machine Learning, Azure HDInsight, and Microsoft Power BI)," Staten said. Announced at the Convergence 2015 business technology conference in March, Azure IoT suite is a set of cloud-based software tools and technologies aimed at helping businesses build IoT-capable technology solutions.

"The Azure IoT Suite is an integrated offering that takes advantage of all the relevant Azure capabilities to connect devices and other assets (i.e., 'things'), capture the diverse and voluminous data they generate, integrate and orchestrate the flow of that data, and manage, analyze and present it as usable information to the people who need it to make better decisions as well as intelligently automate operations," said Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president of Cloud and Enterprise Marketing for Microsoft, said in a statement at the time.

Transferring Dynamics into the Cloud and Enterprise division also addresses Microsoft's "mobile-first" ambitions. "Using Azure App Service, you can easily string together Web and mobile back-ends, integrate Dynamics modules and data sets and craft the remaining business processes with Logic Apps," Staten said.

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...