Some of you might have heard that the Microsoft Dynamics CRM development team has been reorganized into the Microsoft Office organization, and I wanted to share some of my thoughts about this change.
The first thing to note is that Microsoft Dynamics CRM will continue to be part of the Dynamics set of products. The CRM team will still have close ties to the Microsoft Business Services (MBS) team, both organizationally through our shared president, Jeff Raikes, and through our commitment to deliver a well-integrated CRM - ERP experience to Microsoft customers.
Moving closer to the Office team is going to be a great thing for the CRM team. Integration with Microsoft Office has always been central to our way of thinking about the CRM product. Office integration feeds into all three pillars of the Dynamics mission: software that works the way you do; software that works the way your business does; and software that works the way software should. Users of all stripes – sales, customer support, management, etc – have told us for years that they “live” in Microsoft Outlook. To make sure that CRM works the way these users work, we delivered seamless access to CRM data from within Outlook, support for important Outlook scenarios like working offline, tools like the CRM Address Book Provider that bridge the Outlook and CRM experiences, and much more.
The reorganization puts the Office and CRM development teams closer together and sets us up to deliver even greater integrated value in the future. For example, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to think hard about how CRM, SharePoint and Project can work together to facilitate long-running collaborations. A general contractor could use CRM to manage her relationship with a customer for whom she is building a house, SharePoint to collaborate with the architect on the blueprints, and Project to track the progress of the sub-contractors on site, with important tracking metrics bubbling up into CRM for an at-a-glance view of every aspect of the project.
Like many internal Microsoft reorganizations (and I’ve seen *many* in my 13 years with the company), there will be little immediate visible impact: the CRM team is working hard on the successor to the very successful CRM V3.0, and the Office team is focused on shipping Office 2007, and nobody wants to derail either of these efforts.