The two software companies partner to enable customers to monitor, assess and engage with social media-savvy consumers.
Microsoft has taken steps to make its Dynamic CRM product more ‘social’, with the announcement of a new partnership with Moxie Software.
Moxie falls into that category of software products sometimes described as enterprise social networking (ESN) software, or more simply, “like Facebook, but for your business.”
In other words, these products aim to bring the collaborative freeflow of ideas and information seen on consumer-focused sites such as Facebook and Twitter, into secure environments for the use of corporate workforces.
It’s a tough and crowded market, dominated by a handful of large players (IBM with Connections, VMware’s SocialCast, Salesforce.com’s Chatter/Buddy Media and, of course, Microsoft’s Yammer), alongside a seething crowd of smaller vendors: BlueKiwi, Huddle, Igloo Software, Telligent and Moxie Software, to name just a few.
More specifically, Moxie is a social CRM specialist, which is where its value to Microsoft lies. At a time when customers increasingly take to online channels, via mobile device and social media sites, to criticise, complain, query or even praise, the ‘Spaces by Moxie’ software enables companies to monitor, assess and engage with these customers, online and in real time. It also tracks and reports online ‘mentions’ of a brand and its products, and, when customer issues are identified in social forums, the software prioritises them and directs them to the appropriate customer service/support staff for resolution.
By integrating Spaces by Moxie with Dynamics CRM, Microsoft will be able to offer customers what the software giant describes in a statement as “comprehensive, multichannel and knowledge base solutions for delivering customer experiences.”
For a first-hand take on this new partnership, Enterprise Apps Expo spoke to Moxie’s vice-president of products, Nikhil Govindarag, and vice president of marketing and sales operations, Tara Sporrer.
As Sporrer explained, the unveiling of the Microsoft/Moxie deal comes just one week after Microsoft announced upgrades to Dynamics CRM, which will see Yammer (the social messaging platform bought by Microsoft in June 2012) more closely integrated with the platform.
“The integration with Yammer will address the internal communications of an enterprise. The integration with Moxie addresses a different area: external communications, with customers outside of the organisation. This is an area that Microsoft Dynamics CRM hasn’t had a solution for in the past, but now needs to provide to its customer base,” she said. Now, it will have Moxie’s email, chat, co-browse, social media and knowledge base solutions as part of Dynamics CRM.
As for Moxie Software, what it gets out of the deal is an audience with the huge, global Microsoft Dynamics CRM customer base. According to Microsoft, the product is about to close its 33rd consecutive quarter of double-digit revenue growth and is “closing the gap” on its 3 millionth seat. The Moxie product won’t be rebadged or ‘white-labeled’ by Microsoft, according to Nikhil Govinderag. “Dynamics customers will know it’s our software that they’re using, so what this deal does is hugely increase our addressable audience,” he said.
There is huge opportunity here for both parties. Moxie Software has an unprecedented opportunity to get its name heard, in a crowded market where every vendor is trying to shout at once, at the loudest volume possible.
For Microsoft, it’s an opportunity to address a market it can hardly afford to ignore: according to analysts at Gartner, social CRM will account for 8 percent of all global CRM spending (worth $12.9 billion) in 2012, up from around 4 percent in 2010. Or to put those predictions in the context of cold, hard cash, around $1 billion may have been spent on social CRM by the time 2012 draws to a close. The only question might be why Microsoft didn’t buy social CRM capability outright – or perhaps, how long it will remain satisfied with a partner agreement, before it goes shopping.