Tag Archives: Dynamics

Microsoft Dynamics 365 AI going hard after Salesforce

Microsoft and Salesforce are attacking each other again. Microsoft Dynamics 365 AI tools are coming that will beef up sales, marketing and — most of all — service and support, unveiled the day after Salesforce announced Quip Slides, a PowerPoint competitor.

Salesforce appears to be annexing Microsoft’s business-productivity territory, while Microsoft is rolling its forces deeper into Salesforce’s CRM domain by more tightly connecting Teams collaboration with its CRM suite, freshened up with new AI capabilities.

“You’ve got Salesforce announcing Quip Slides, and you’ve got Microsoft doing a whole bunch of integration between Teams and Dynamics … who’s going after whose market?” said Alan Lepofsky, analyst at Constellation Research.

In a media briefing ahead of its Ignite user conference, the tech giant took some direct shots at rival Salesforce in introducing Microsoft Dynamics 365 AI tools that buttress CRM processes. Of particular note was Dynamics 365 AI for Customer Service, which adds out-of-the-box virtual agents.

Assistive AI for contact centers

Who’s going after whose market?
Alan Lepofskyanalyst, Constellation Research

Virtual agents can take several forms, two of which include chatbots that do the talking on behalf of humans, or assistive bots that prompt humans with suggested answers for engaging live with customers either on voice or text channels.

New Microsoft bots, built on Azure Cognitive Services, won’t require the code-intensive development or consultant services that other vendors’ CRM tools do, claimed Alysa Taylor, Microsoft corporate vice president of business applications and global industry. She singled out Salesforce as a CRM competitor in her comments.

“Many vendors offer [virtual agents] in a way that is very cumbersome for organizations to adopt,” Taylor said. “It requires a large services engagement; Salesforce partners with IBM Watson to be able to deliver this.”

Either way, the bots will require training. Microsoft Dynamics 365 AI-powered bots can be trained by call center managers, asserted Navrina Singh, Microsoft AI principal product lead, during a demo.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s taking on Salesforce with new CRM AI tools

The bots can tap into phone log transcriptions, email and other contact center data stores to shape answers to customer problems and take some of the workload off of overburdened contact center agents, Singh said.

The virtual agent introductions were significant enough that Microsoft brought out CEO Satya Nadella for a cameo with Singh during the briefing.

“The thing that’s most exciting to me,” Nadella said, “… is that [Microsoft] can make every company out there an AI-first company. They already have customers, they already have data. If you can democratize the use of AI tools, every company can harness the power of AI.”

Other Dynamics 365 AI tools for CRM

Sales and marketing staffs get their own Dynamics 365 AI infusion, too.

Microsoft brings Dynamics 365 AI for Sales in line with Salesforce Einstein tools that use AI to prioritize lead pipelines and sales-team performance management.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 AI for Market Insights plumbs marketing, social media and other customer engagement data to improve customer relations and “engage in relevant conversations and respond faster to trends,” Taylor wrote in a blog post announcing the new system.

While the Microsoft moves appear effective, industry observers questioned whether they can Microsoft make an impression in Salesforce’s massive market footprint, even if they are easier to use, more economical and more intuitive than Salesforce’s.

Lepofsky said he isn’t sure, because of the sheer numbers. The 150,000-strong Dreamforce user conference is at the same time as Ignite, and the latter will likely draw only about a sixth of the Dreamforce crowd. And Salesforce likely won’t be resting on its AI credentials either.

“I think you can speculate that Salesforce will also be talking about AI improvements at Dreamforce, so perhaps it’s not that differentiating for Dynamics,” Lepofsky said.

While Microsoft announced no release date for its AI tools, a preview site will go online this fall, Singh said.

CEO outlines Data Dynamics StorageX trends, future features

Data Dynamics CEO Piyush Mehta admitted he could not have envisioned the customer challenges his company would need to address as it marks its six-year anniversary.

The Teaneck, N.J., vendor focused on file migration when Mehta founded the company in 2012. But the Data Dynamics StorageX software has since added capabilities, such as analytics and native Amazon S3 API support, to help customers better understand and manage their data as they transition to hybrid cloud architectures. 

The StorageX software enables users to set policies to move files from one storage system to another, including on-premises or public cloud object storage, and to retrieve and manage their unstructured data. New features on the horizon include container support, NFSv4 namespace capabilities and greater integration with Microsoft’s Active Directory, according to Mehta.

Mehta said Data Dynamics StorageX currently has more than 100 customers, including 25 Fortune 100 companies and six of the world’s top 12 banks. He estimated more than 90% of customer data is stored on premises.

StorageX actually goes back to 2002, when it was developed by startup NuView for file virtualization. SAN switching vendor Brocade acquired NuView in 2006 and tried to use StorageX for a push into storage software. After Brocade’s software strategy failed, it sold the StorageX intellectual property to Data Dynamics, which relaunched the software as a file migration tool in 2013.

In a Q&A, Mehta discussed the latest customer trends, upcoming product capabilities and recent pricing changes for Data Dynamics StorageX software.

How has the primary use case for Data Dynamics StorageX software changed over the one you initially envisioned?

Data Dynamics CEO Piyush MehtaPiyush Mehta

Piyush Mehta: What ended up happening is, year over year, as customers were leveraging StorageX for large-scale migrations, we realized a consistent challenge across environments. Customers lost track of understanding the data, lost track of owners, lost track of impact when they moved the data. And we realized that there’s a business opportunity where we could add modules that can help do that.

Think of this as ongoing lifecycle management of unstructured data that just keeps growing at 30%, 40%, 50% year over year. The second aspect to that was helping them move data not just to a NAS tier, but also to object storage, both on- and off-prem.

What are the latest customer trends?

Mehta: One theme that we continue to see is a cloud-first strategy regardless of vertical; every company, every CIO, every head of infrastructure talks about how they can leverage the cloud. The challenge is very few have a clearly defined strategy of what cloud means. And from a storage perspective, the bigger challenge for them is to understand what these legacy workloads are and where they can find workloads that can actually move to the cloud.

For born-in-the-cloud workloads, with applications that were started there, it’s an easy starting point. But for the years and years of user and application data that’s been gathered and collected, all on-prem, the question becomes: How do I manage that?

The second thing is a reality check that everything’s not going to the public cloud, and everything’s not going to stay local. There’s going to be this hybrid cloud concept where certain data and certain applications will most likely — at least for the foreseeable future — reside locally. And then whatever is either not used, untouched, deep archive, those type of things can reside in the cloud.

Are customers more interested in using object storage in public or private clouds?

Mehta: It’s a mixture. We do see huge interest in AWS and Glacier as a deep archive or dark data archive tier. At the same time, we see [NetApp’s] StorageGrid, [IBM Cloud Object Storage, through its] Cleversafe [acquisition], Scality as something that customers are looking at or have deployed locally to tier large amounts of data — but, again, data that’s not necessarily active.

Do you find that people are more inclined to store inactive data than implement deletion policies?

Mehta: I still haven’t seen the customer who says, ‘It’s OK to delete.’ You’ll have the one-off exceptions where they may delete, but there’s always this propensity to save, rather than delete, because I may need it.

What you end up finding is more and more data being stored — in which case, why would I keep it on primary NAS? No matter how cheap NAS may be getting, I’d rather put it on a cheaper tier. That’s where object conversations are coming in.

Which of the new StorageX capabilities have customers shown the most interest in?

Mehta: We have seen huge interest, adoption and sale of our analytics product. Most customers don’t know their data — type, size, age, who owns it, how often it’s being accessed, etc. We’ve been able to empower them to go in and look at these multi-petabyte environments and understand that. Then, the decision becomes: What subset of this do I want to move to a flash tier? What subset do I want to move to a scale-up, scale-out NAS tier?

Then, there is what we call dark or orphan data, where a company says, ‘Anything over 18 months old can sit in the active archive tier‘ — and by active, I mean something that’s disk-driven, rather than tape-driven. That’s where we’re seeing object interest come in. First, help me do the analytics to understand it. And then, based on that, set policies, which will then move the data.

Does Data Dynamics offer the ability to discover data?

Mehta: We have an analytics module that leverages what we call UDEs — universal data engines. In the old world, when we were doing migrations only, they were the ones that were doing the heavy lifting of moving the data. Now, they also have the ability to go collect data. They will go ahead and crawl the file system or file directories and capture metadata information that then is sent back into the StorageX database, which can be shared, as well as exported. We can give you aggregate information, and then you can drill on those dashboards, as needed.

Does your analytics engine work on object- and file-based data?

Mehta: It works only on file today. It’s really to understand your SMB and NFS data to help determine how to best leverage it. Most of that data — I would say north of 95% — is sitting on some kind of file tier when you look at unstructured data. It’s not sitting on object.

Where is StorageX deployed?

Mehta: The StorageX software gets deployed on a server within the customer environment, because that’s your control mechanism, along with the back-end databases. That’s within the customer’s firewalls. From an infrastructure standpoint, everything sits in central VMs [virtual machines]. We’re moving it to a container technology in our next release to make it far more flexible and versatile in terms of how you are scaling and managing it.

What other capabilities do you think you’ll need moving forward?

Mehta: More integration with Active Directory so that we can provide far more information in terms of security and access than we can today. From a technology standpoint, we are continuing to make sure that we support API integration downstream into local storage vendors — so, the latest operating systems and the latest APIs. Then, from a hyperscaler standpoint, being able to have native API integration into things like Azure Blob and Glacier are things that are being added.

Data Dynamics updated StorageX pricing this year. There’s no longer a fee for file retrieval, but the prices for analytics, replication and other capabilities increased. What drove the changes?

Mehta: The costs haven’t gone up. Before, we were giving you a traditional licensing mechanism where you had two lines items: a base license cost and a maintenance cost. That was confusing customers, so we decided to just make it one single line item. Every module of ours now becomes an annual subscription based on capacity, where the cost of maintenance is embedded into it.

The other thing we learned from our customers was that when you looked at both an archive and a retrieval capability, we wanted customers to have the flexibility to manage that without budgeting and worrying about the cost constraints of what they were going to retrieve. It’s hard to predict what percentage of the data that you archive will need to be brought back. The management of the ‘bring back, send back, bring back, send back’ becomes a huge tax on the customer.

Now, the functionality of retrieval is given to you as part of your archive module, so you are not paying an incremental cost for it. It became subscription, so it’s just an auto renewal, rather than worrying about it from a Capex perspective and renewing maintenance and all of that.

Data Dynamics StorageX 8.0 adds analysis, S3 support

The latest version of Data Dynamics’ StorageX file management software adds a single-view analysis portal, support for Amazon S3 API-compliant object storage and expanded application programming interfaces for DevOps environments.

With the StorageX 8.0 release, the Teaneck, N.J., software vendor continues to extend the product’s capabilities beyond the original data migration focus. Data Dynamics StorageX enables users to set policies and move files from one storage system to another without a gateway, file virtualization, global namespace, stubbing, sharding or agents.

Newly added support for Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (S3) API — which has become the de facto standard for object storage — lets customers move files from an NFS or SMB layer to cloud-based object storage, such as Amazon cloud storage, NetApp StorageGrid, IBM Cloud Object Storage and other S3-compliant object stores.

Data Dynamics StorageX stores file natively in the S3 object format, enabling users to attach metadata tags to ease search and management. The native S3 object format also lets applications running in Amazon directly use and work on data that StorageX 8.0 has migrated. The updated StorageX 8.0 includes a new portal to enable users to retrieve S3-archived data in an SMB file format.

File analysis capabilities

StorageX 8.0’s new analysis capabilities rely on the product’s universal data engine (UDE) to collect information on a file’s owner, size, type, access, modification and other metrics to help users make more informed decisions on data management and migration. The UDE can run on the same server as StorageX or on virtual machines (VMs) in local data center servers with management rights to access the storage, according to Data Dynamics CEO Piyush Mehta.

If you don’t know what you have, how are you making [a] business decision on what to do with the data?
Piyush MehtaCEO, Data Dynamics

“What we’ve found through our experience over the last five years is that customers just don’t know what they have,” Mehta said. “If you don’t know what you have, how are you making a business decision on what to do with the data?”

After analyzing the data, StorageX customers can use the product’s VM-based central console to set policies to enable the UDE to manage and move the data out of band. Mehta said the product is most useful in storage environments in excess of 100 TB, and the majority of the company’s 80 customers have multi-petabyte deployments across multiple data centers and geographic regions.

Mehta said all functionality provided through the Data Dynamics StorageX web-based user interface is accessible via API for management from a DevOps standpoint. An application developer can write to the StorageX APIs and gain access to the file management features and automate them based on application needs.

“You can actually integrate an application to manage storage using us as a middleware to then downstream manage the data within those storage tiers,” Mehta said.

Data Dynamics acquired the StorageX technology from Brocade Communications Systems in 2012. The company’s 80 customers span industries such as financial, pharmaceutical, telecommunications, media, oil and gas, and consumer retail, according to Mehta. He said many use StorageX with storage from NetApp, Dell EMC, IBM, Amazon S3 and traditional file servers with direct-attached storage.

Data Dynamics StorageX
StorageX analysis portal displays file characteristics, such as size, activity and age.

Data Dynamics competitors

Mehta said competitors in Data Dynamics’ management space include Avere, Panzura and Primary Data. But he claimed they use gateways, stubbing, sharding or other mechanisms that tie customers to their products to gain access to data.

“If you go with a Primary Data or ioFabric, once you allow something else to start moving your data, generally you need to keep that other [product] running so you can get to your data,” said George Crump, founder and president of Storage Switzerland LLC.

Crump said Data Dynamics StorageX doesn’t do “all the things that would set up a transparent recall,” as some of the other products do. He said StorageX moves data and then essentially gets out of the way.

Scott Sinclair, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group Inc. in Milford, Mass., said the analysis portal and native S3 object support represent another key shift for Data Dynamics StorageX, as the product expands beyond its file migration roots.

“They’re assisting beyond just the move to give you a better understanding of what type of content you have. This functionality is incredibly important when you’re looking at a hybrid cloud environment,” Sinclair said. “With the cloud, you really want to know what you’re moving because of security, compliance, performance requirements and anything else [to get] a better idea of what stays on premises versus off.”

Pricing for Data Dynamics StorageX 8.0’s new and existing capabilities is as follows:

  • $40 per terabyte for analytics;
  • $72 per terabyte for replication;
  • $100 per terabyte for file archive — SMB or NFS conversion to S3;
  • $200 per terabyte for file retrieval — S3 conversion to SMB or NFS;
  • $150 per terabyte for application modernization and transform file to S3; and
  • $500 per terabyte for file migration, for one-time use, security transformation and file-system restructuring.

On tap for Microsoft Ignite conference: Adobe, Dynamics 365, LinkedIn

To understand the direction Microsoft is moving with its Dynamics 365 platform, you have to go to 2014, when CEO Satya Nadella was put in charge of the company. One of his primary goals was to take a larger share of the CRM market, where Microsoft currently sits fourth behind leader Salesforce, Oracle and SAP.

This process — and progress, according to analysts — was multipronged, starting with better alignment with Microsoft’s existing business applications, namely Office 365 and Outlook; adding cloud hosting with Azure and business intelligence with Power BI; continuing the Microsoft-Adobe partnership; and acquiring LinkedIn, both of which added significant value to the Dynamics 365 platform.

The Adobe partnership was announced at the annual Microsoft Ignite conference last year. For Microsoft Ignite 2017, analysts expect the Adobe partnership to deepen and possibly expand, and for the LinkedIn purchase — which was announced but not yet finalized during last year’s conference — to play a more significant role. The conference, located in Orlando this year, takes place from Sept. 25 to 29.

“If Microsoft was just going to try and replace existing technology in the ERP and CRM market, it would be a pretty difficult battle,” said Kevin Armstrong, vice president of Microsoft Sales at Tribridge, a technology services firm in Chelmsford, Mass. “For Dynamics 365 to take hold, Satya had to change the vision of Dynamics, and the direction has been fast and impressive.”

Building on the Microsoft-Adobe partnership

Microsoft has been tight-lipped about any announcements ahead of Microsoft Ignite 2017. Unlike Salesforce, which had its CEO Marc Benioff take the lid off the Einstein announcement prior to Dreamforce last year, Microsoft keeps its news closer to the chest, only teasing out the news of a partnership last year, before announcing the relationship with Adobe at the conference.

Session descriptions for the upcoming conference do mention the possibility of further Microsoft-Adobe integrations or products.

There is some joint go-to-market efforts and selling across [Microsoft and Adobe].
Michael Fauscettechief research officer, G2 Crowd

“We share current and upcoming capabilities, including demos of integrations between Adobe Campaign, Adobe Experience Manager, Dynamics 365 and Power BI,” one description read.

Adobe recently announced new features for email marketing in its Campaign Manager, which is part of Adobe Marketing Cloud, one of the main products Microsoft is partnering with to better provide marketing capabilities for its enterprise-sized customers.

“The thing about Adobe in the digital marketing side of the house is they’ve had this reputation — this ‘cool’ factor — for Adobe’s marketing suite,” said Michael Fauscette, chief research officer at Chicago-based G2 Group. “There’s a cache about that integration and capabilities that Microsoft doesn’t have.”

Fauscette said he also believes that Microsoft and Adobe could be gearing up to go to market together on joint product offerings — an attractive option for Microsoft-heavy shops looking for better customer and marketing management.

“There is some joint go-to-market efforts and selling across companies,” Fauscette said. “I think there is some economic advantage selling directly, versus a referral partnership.”

Further integration with existing products

Microsoft wasted little time integrating Dynamics 365 with other in-house business applications and putting them on the same common data model — a big computing advantage, according to Armstrong. But further integration with Microsoft’s host of products could still be beneficial, and some of that could be unveiled at the upcoming Microsoft Ignite conference.

“I’m a big believer in Microsoft’s move toward machine learning and AI with Cortana,” Armstrong said. “The biggest advantage of having all this data in one solution is leveraging Cortana to look at the data and tell us things about our customers or prospects. The reason that’s important is you’re not talking about integrating with [AI], you’re talking about interacting with it.”

Microsoft hinted at new tools for innovation around Dynamics 365 at Microsoft Ignite 2017. Building off its integrations with its existing products and expanding to others — like Cortana and Power BI — could provide some of those new innovations.

The LinkedIn whale

Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn in 2016 was arguably the biggest tech splash of the year, with the Seattle-based company spending $26.2 billion on the professional social network. Yet at last year’s conference, there was little official discussion about the capabilities and integrations on the Microsoft side, as the sale was still under the approving eyes of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). After the sale was finalized a couple of months later, Microsoft continued to say that the LinkedIn and Sales Navigator tool APIs would remain open for all to use.

“Microsoft is trying to do two things: one is leave LinkedIn and their tools in their existing position — keep them Switzerland,” Fauscette said. “At the same time, Microsoft wants to integrate them more deeply in the background so that if you’re a Dynamics customer you can get an advantage of using it.”

Still, analysts see an advantage for Microsoft having LinkedIn in its stable of products with the capability of baking its features directly into Dynamics 365, rather than a third-party integration that other CRM companies have to do.

“Anytime you have separate systems combine, you have potential for connection points to break,” Armstrong said.

It’s unlikely that Microsoft spent $26.2 billion for an existing revenue stream, but it also can’t use LinkedIn as a proprietary product without upsetting the SEC. However, Microsoft users should expect enhanced features moving forward with LinkedIn, and the first tidbit of those features could be heard at the Microsoft Ignite conference.

Smash tests, fire suits and indoor tornados: How UL’s controlled mayhem makes the world safer

The Muppets have Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, and UL has John Drengenberg.

“Never put foil in a microwave,” Drengenberg said as he picked up a large, crumpled section of tinfoil and placed it in a white microwave. He set the timer for five minutes and hit start, triggering an impressive light show and sci-fi sound effects that made my fillings tingle. Still, my inner eighth grader leaned forward, wide-eyed.

Looking up from the lightning storm, Drengenberg saw my expression and chuckled. “Hey, don’t do as we do, do as we say.”

UL's John Drengenberg leans into a high-speed fan capable of simulating tornado-grade winds.

UL’s John Drengenberg leans into a high-speed fan capable of simulating tornado-grade winds.

At UL, it’s not just gleeful, don’t-try-this-at-home mayhem for the sake of curiosity or killer dinner party stories. It’s serious science, testing and inspecting and auditing and certifying and validating to help ensure that the things humans use every day are safe. UL places its mark on 22 billion products, systems and materials each year; the average American home has at least 125 objects with the UL mark, from drywall to fire extinguishers and lamps to mattresses.

Some are vaguely aware of what it means when a beard trimmer or printer is adorned with a little circle containing the letters “UL.” Others have no idea there’s a company out there with the sole purpose of making the world safer.

Bob Jamieson in UL's “rain room,” where waterproof products are tested.

Bob Jamieson in UL’s “rain room,” where waterproof products are tested.

“Whether people realize it or not, the UL mark is everywhere. It’s around you at home, on your commute, at work, at the gym, even at your campsite in the middle of nowhere,” said Bob Jamieson, information security director for UL. “For 120 years, the UL mark has adorned everyday items, large and small. The mark indicates one very important thing: The product has been rigorously tested and certified for safety.”

Read the full story.


The community of fans: Real Madrid brings their supporters closer to the team

In this digital age, the idea of community is changing rapidly. Online and social-based channels have created new ways of connecting with others who share similar beliefs, interests and passions. While some may be rightfully concerned that online social communications are not a substitute for human interaction, I continue to be fascinated with the ways people are finding to connect and share their passions.

Last November, Microsoft announced a collaboration agreement with Real Madrid – ranked the “best club of the 20th century” – that accelerates the digital transformation of the club through technology. A new digital platform is at the center of this transformation, supported by Azure, Office 365, Dynamics, among other key products. As I wrote in our company blog, this partnership is about so much more than a business partnership, but an opportunity to truly put fans at the center of sport, and revolutionize the way in which “Madridistas” follow their team and share their passion for the club. More important is connecting fans with fans in new ways to enhance and extend their community. Our first step in that journey has been taking place over the past several weeks.

Typically, fans collect trading cards or stickers of their favorite sports stars. But to really put fans at the center, we reversed the roles and asked fans to send their cards to the players. Together with Real Madrid, we helped fans create the first-ever digital “fan sticker album” by uploading their photo to www.connectyourpassion.com. Thousands of fans from over 100 countries came together to complete the album, which can now be seen online.

On Thursday, March 12, we bring together 12 lucky participants of the album who will have the chance to interview three of the Real Madrid players in a Q&A session live via Skype. The players can interact with fans as their “12th player” – signifying the importance of the fans during the entire game to show their support. All fans together are the “12th player” – as a community they are stronger than any athlete on the pitch.

Any “fan” would jump at the chance to meet their favorite celebrity from movies, TV or from the stadium. Yet what I find most remarkable, particularly about the sports community, is the magic of what happens when the community comes together. Fan to fan, there is a common bond, a sense of identity and shared passion that shapes our mantra for the partnership – “Passion Powers Passion.”

Strong communities are built on a sense of connectedness: people coming together and interacting on a shared and relevant purpose. This is what our partnership with Real Madrid is all about – bringing people together in a different dimension of community and connectedness. Technology is only an enabler, playing a supporting role while showcasing the community of fans as the stars of the show.

Watch the online event Thursday, March 12 – we welcome you as part of our community.

Banks choosing Microsoft Dynamics CRM to enable personalized customer experiences and operational efficiency

— Sept. 29, 2014
Monday at the Sibos global banking event in Boston, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq “MSFT”) highlighted leading banking institutions that are modernizing their business operations and choosing Microsoft Dynamics CRM to shift from transaction-based businesses to customer-centric businesses.

Wayne Morris, corporate vice president, marketing for Microsoft Dynamics, has seen this firsthand: “To become customer-centric organizations, banks must first think from their customers’ perspectives. They need solutions that enable them to deliver amazing customer experiences while also safeguarding customer data and meeting complex regulatory requirements.”

Microsoft is also seeing a growing number of global system integrators building out financial-service-specific solutions on top of Microsoft Dynamics CRM to deliver industry-specific solutions tailored to the needs of banking organizations.

“With banks confronted by the realities of the new digital customer, we certainly see a large opportunity for the joint value of Avanade with Microsoft in the CRM space for banking,” said Ashish Kumar, chief growth, Avanade. “With its extensible platform and security model, Microsoft Dynamics CRM is well suited for the banking industry. We’ve been able to help numerous banking organizations drive customer profitability and operational efficiency through our longstanding alliance. We continue to work closely with Microsoft on banking-specific solutions and best practices based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM that will help banks meet the ever-changing needs of customers in the digital era.”

is a great example of a banking organization putting the customer at the center of its business with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

“Knowledge is powerful — especially when creating a tailored banking experience for business customers,” said David Russell, head of CRM services, RBS-NatWest. “NatWest Business Banking uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM, providing its employees with a unified and highly detailed customer view. With it the team can consistently deliver highly relevant, effective interactions with every customer, which ultimately helps them achieve their business ambitions. Microsoft Dynamics CRM unites teams, saves time and helps NatWest make customers happy. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, RBS-NatWest has achieved more than 95 percent user adoption, better connected teams and more valued customer service.”

, a worldwide leading financial institution, uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM for its private banking operations across three continents.

“Our technology team considered Microsoft Dynamics CRM and found that it was everything we wanted and more. Most important, it could serve as a global solution and integrate with the platform we were currently using,” said Dena Brumpton, global chief operating officer, Citi Private Bank. “We can deliver solutions to our clients in a much more relevant way because we understand their needs. We know what they’re interested in and what their preferences are, which means we can target them better. As well, Microsoft Dynamics CRM makes it easy to be compliant with regulatory requirements in each jurisdiction.”

The Saudi Investment Bank
, a leading banking institution in the Persian Gulf, decided to employ Microsoft Dynamics CRM to drive growth in its recently created retail banking operations.

“The figures speak for themselves. Microsoft Dynamics CRM has helped us drive up our overall bank revenue, dramatically increase our market share in consumer loans, increase our conversion and win rates, and, most important, increase our customer satisfaction,” said Suliman Abduaziz Al-Obaid, general manager-IT and Shared Services, The Saudi Investment Bank. “It is clearly a powerful tool and easier to implement than other CRM solutions. We needed to improve turnaround time and streamline processes, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM helps us do exactly that.”

More than just a customer management solution, Microsoft Dynamics CRM also provides financial service organizations with a flexible development framework, something Maybank experienced firsthand. Maybank, winner of the Asian Banker Risk Management Technology Award, uses Microsoft Dynamics CRM to better manage risk and improve efficiencies.

“We were able to use the flexible platform of Microsoft Dynamics CRM not just for customer management but also for risk management and contract management,” said Herbert Poh Cher Hian, director, Group Finance Strategy and Systems, Maybank. “Most impressive was how quickly we could develop our contract management system, deploy it consistently across all groups, and get our people to use it and dramatically increase their productivity. Because the Microsoft Dynamics CRM user interface is so similar to other Microsoft products like Outlook, our people were able to start using it with little training. And we are already seeing real business benefits with Microsoft Dynamics CRM as noted by the 80 percent reduction in contract processing time.”

Leading technology organizations are capitalizing on the extensible platform of Microsoft Dynamics CRM to better serve the needs of their banking customers. “Microsoft provides a leading CRM solution with an extensible platform, which we’ve used to build a loan origination solution and will apply to additional industry-focused solutions,” said Anthone Withers, director and general manager, Integration Services, HP. “These solutions, combined with a broad portfolio of IT and consulting services and deep industry expertise, allow us to holistically address the business needs of our financial services customers.”

With more than 40,000 customers and 4.25 million users, Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides financial service institutions with a customer-first design philosophy and seamless integration with other productivity applications such as Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Office 365, SharePoint and Lync. Microsoft Dynamics CRM customers and prospects can learn more about Microsoft Dynamics CRM in the financial services space at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/crm-financial-services.aspx. In addition, they can follow and engage with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM community @MSDynamicsCRM, http://www.twitter.com/msdynamicscrm.

About Microsoft Dynamics

At the heart of every successful business are the people who make things happen. Microsoft Dynamics designs modern business solutions that empower individuals with intuitive tools that allow them to do their best work. Our proactive, easy-to-use business applications adapt to the way people and systems work, enabling businesses to rapidly deploy and be forward-looking in an ever-changing world.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services, devices and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://www.microsoft.com/news. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/news/contactpr.mspx.