Microsoft on Tuesday showed off the next incarnation of a major software product called Dynamics 365, stuffed full of new features and artificial intelligence.
Microsoft has been teasing Dynamics 365 for a while now, as is its custom. On Tuesday the company announced that Dynamics 365 will be will be available to customers worldwide beginning November 1.
This is the product that goes head-to-head with Salesforce, as well as Oracle and SAP.
Dynamics 365 is cloud software that has combined what’s known as CRM or customer relationship management software — used by salespeople to track prospects and customers (a market Salesforce leads) — with ERP or enterprise resource management software. ERP is financial, manufacturing, and supply chain management software, a market where SAP is the biggest player, followed by Oracle.
This new product is one of the main reasons that Microsoft bought LinkedIn for more than $26 billion. Dynamics 365 includes new applications that sift through data stored in Microsoft documents, the CRM/ERP system, and social media like LinkedIn to provide sales leads and business insights for marketing campaigns.
Microsoft had previously said that it plans to start a price war with the main CRM players, particularly Salesforce.
On Tuesday, cloud vice president Takeshi Numoto wrote a blog post that shared a few more details about those pricing plans. He explained that Microsoft’s new subscription plans for Dynamics 365 will bundle together many popular options, rather than making a company pay for each one per user, separately.
Numoto writes that this “could save four to five times the cost of traditional CRM providers.”
While Salesforce isn’t known to be dirt cheap — it can cost up to $300 per person per month — enterprise IT departments tend to negotiate prices, so list prices don’t always count for much.
In his blog post, Numoto also couldn’t resist another subtle dig at Salesforce and its newly announced, much hyped AI product called Einstein, which has been receiving mixed reviews so far. Salesforce has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire the tech and team that built Einstein over the past few years. Plus, CEO Marc Benioff has been saying that AI is the next big wave in software, and will one day be baked into everything Salesforce does.
Meanwhile, Microsoft, with its massive R&D organisation, says its been working on AI for “decades.”
Numoto writes (emphasis ours):
“With so much attention on artificial intelligence and the promise it holds, it can be hard to tell what’s real and what’s not. When it comes to business process — and your business — Dynamics 365 delivers the intelligence you need to transform, now, backed by decades of research and investment.”
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