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Microsoft Beefs Up Dynamics CRM with OneField Buy

Redmond is acquiring field service management solutions provider FieldOne Systems to beef up its CRM business. Here’s the pitch in a nutshell: Consumers expect companies to engage with them in new, more convenient ways. That includes field service capabilities. Once it integrates FieldOne’s technology into Dynamics CRM, Microsoft is convinced that its clients can better manage and deliver service to customers in the field.

“Field service management is a specific but critically important area of customer service, providing companies with the ability to deliver end-to-end field service,” said Bob Stutz, corporate vice president, Microsoft Dynamics CRM. “This is a unique, and transformational point in time for these solutions as enterprises look to improve their responsiveness to customers with service in the field — taking service directly to the customer anytime a service cannot be managed by phone or other channels.”

More Personal CRM

Stutz sees this as a critical area for the industry and for Microsoft. Indeed, it’s vital in the industry. Market research firm MarketsandMarkets predicts the field service management (FSM) market will be worth $3.52 billion in 2019.

FieldOne’s technology stands out, according to Stutz. Simply put, the company has a baseline functionality that organizations need to drive more effective field service operations. Businesses that tap into FieldOne’s solutions drive revenue, reduce costs and deliver strong customer service, he said.

FieldOne does have an end-to-end solution set that has gained credibility in the market. Software features include work order management, automated scheduling, asset contract, workflow capabilities, inventory and procurement management, and mobile collaboration. Practically speaking, that means companies can adjust routing on the fly and deliver service arrival estimate times within smaller windows. The promised end game: more personal customer engagement.

“FieldOne is a great fit for Dynamics CRM, adding to our extensive customer service capabilities — which includes chat, knowledge management and self-service functionality from Parature, which we acquired in January of 2014,” Stutz said, noting that FieldOne is also offered as a cloud service and is built on Microsoft technology. That means easy integration with Microsoft software from Office 365 to Sharepoint. In fact, FieldOne was designed to leverage Dynamics CRM.

Getting More Predictive

Microsoft has been investing plenty in systems of intelligence and the FieldOne acquisition — terms of which were not disclosed — is another example of that. FieldOne beefs up Redmond’s offerings with predictive learning and analytics to deliver an intelligent, proactive customer engagement solution.

“Field service businesses are aggressively trying to move away from a reactive break-fix model to a predictive service based model,” Stutz said. “With this acquisition, Microsoft can help companies tap the potential of predictive service by bringing together the powerful combination of FieldOne, Azure IoT and Cortana Analytics.”

That means enterprises can use insights that effectively provide servicing proactively while streamlining the provisioning of service to significantly reduce costs, he said.

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