Since Salesforce announced partnership with Microsoft® in May 2014 (1), there might be a lot of rumors about this team. Dreamforce in 2015 was held in San Francisco in the U.S on 15-18 September. I found that this partnership is progressing rapidly. As you know, Salesforce is a king of CRM and Microsoft dominates the enterprise software market. Most of us use MS office365™ in our daily life. Let us consider why this team might be a game changer in digital marketing.
1. One to one engagement
Salesforse said "How can you create One to one engagement with your customers? (2) There must be many answers. In my view we need to know what customers want more deeply in a real-time basis, then we should react it. To do that, we should have a mechanism to process massive amount data from customers effectively. I want to call it "Front, Back and Middle" mechanism. Front should face customers directly and collect data such as e-mails, phone calls, click-logs on mobile devices, purchases of products, payments, claims, and so on. Back should record and store the data collected from front into storages or database. Middle should analyze the data and provide insights to front so that front can make better business decisions. These processes are recurrent an they should be done many times in a seamless manner. Sales personnel can obtain information and insights from this mechanism in real time-basis and face each customer one to one basis. In my view, that is "one to one engagement".
2. The combination of strong Front and Strong Middle/Back
Salesforce(SF) is a king of CRM. It means that SF is the strong front. Microsoft (MS) expands its PaaS, MS AZURE™ aggressively. MS AZURE™ has a function of machine learning called AZURE ML . In MS AZURE™, there are many choices of database. Therefore, MS has strong middle and back. Users can enjoy this strong combination of "front, middle and back" as the partnership between SF and MS is deepened recently. I hope I can choose many functions from SF/ MS and set up systems based on my own preferences in the future. In my view, this combination might be better than combinations between other big IT companies as corporate culture of SF/MS seems to be similar each other. Since Satya Nadella became CEO of MS in Feb 2014, MS culture seems to be changed from a traditional software company to a startup-minded cloud company.
3. More choices for users
PaaS can be used independently. Technologies are developing so fast, however, it seems to be difficult, that only one company covers everything to satisfy users' needs. Therefore, partnerships like SF/MS may appear in IT industry in the future. It is good because users can have more choices to reach their goal. You can combine tools/ modules and try to pursue your own "one to one engagement".
Since Facebook appeared in 2004, SNS and message tools are getting popular and popular, especially in younger generations all over the world. In principle, communications in SNS and message tools are one to one basis. Therefore, it is natural that marketing activities by companies are also shifting from mass communication-type marketing to one to one engagement. Mobile phones will be available at lower cost in emerging markets in the future and more people will be connected to the internet. It means that one to one engagement will be more important than it is now for companies that want to reach customers.
Although there are overlaps between two big IT software companies, it seems that their partnership is strengthened going forward. I would like to keep watching what is going on between the two companies. It must be exciting, isn't it?
1. Salesforce and Microsoft
2. Twitter of Salesforce
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Note: Toshifumi Kuga’s opinions and analyses are personal views and are intended to be for informational purposes and general interest only and should not be construed as individual investment advice or solicitation to buy, sell or hold any security or to adopt any investment strategy. The information in this article is rendered as at publication date and may change without notice and it is not intended as a complete analysis of every material fact regarding any country, region market or investment.
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