Microsoft’s recent announcement of acquisition of LinkedIn for an all-cash transaction for $26.2 billion, has remained a very interesting declaration from the Redmond based Tech Giant. It has definitely created tremendous amount of interest in the technology market. Some people are curious, some confused and a few sceptical of the impact of this deal.
Microsoft’s last few large acquisitions have not been very successful commercially like Nokia (2013), Yammer (2012), Skype (2011). However, I believe LinkedIn acquisition will help two segments of Microsoft’s product line:
- Customer Relationship Management (Dynamics CRM)
- Productivity (Office 365)
In this post, I’ll try to assess some benefits which Dynamics CRM product can get from this acquisition.
Sales Reps highly values any professional information they can get regarding the lead they are chasing now. Remember InsightView, which has been greatly valued by Sales Reps every time I get to show the tool. Many Sales rep today depend more on Real time insights and breaking news they can get from social media then their own CRM systems. This information is more valuable in closing a deal.
Now, LinkedIn integration with Dynamics CRM can bring a contact’s professional profile, previous job roles within CRM platform and show how another colleague is possibly professionally connected to a prospect. This information could be very useful and some ISV solutions have tried to tap in this data within their tools, like ClickDimensions. Social Discovery from ClickDimensions brings data from social channels like LinkedIn straight into a contact or lead record in CRM.
AIIM, the Association for Information and Image Management, which conducts research on improving organisational performance by conducting information-driven innovation has published a white paper where it described that redundant, obsolete and trivial content (ROT) is clogging up enterprise storage systems up to 75%. On average only 42% of electronically stored information is useful to the business. 58% is therefore ROT.
Source: AIIM Whitepaper: Valuable Content or ROT: Who Decides?
CRM systems are certainly overloaded with ROT data and the situation is worse than average. An effective way to keep the data clean is to connect to a self-maintained data source of customers and prospects. LinkedIn contains some very deep and up-to-date information, which if fed back, can benefit the data quality of CRM and hence increase Sales Productivity.
HR Management System
After Field Services and Project Services, an HR Management module may be on card from Microsoft. Employee Relationship Management system and Recruitment system has been some key workloads built on top of Dynamics CRM.
As LinkedIn has about 433 million professional users of its platform, it is a right data source for any recruitment solution.
Now if a company’s HR can manage employees from a CRM system integrated deeply with LinkedIn, they can get insightful information about an Employee’s interest, strengths and engagement levels and more importantly possibility of departure as most employees become active in LinkedIn generally when they are unsatisfied with their current company or role.
Lynda, owned by LinkedIn, would also provide the digital online training platform to employees.
Should Salesforce care?
Of course they do. Salesforce is slowing down on innovation and greatly need a big booster and certainly would have been benefitted by a 433 million users, mostly Mobile device consumer. End of the day, it’s a game of data ownership. LinkedIn is the world’s number 1 data source of professionals and this data will prove very valuable for a long term strategy and Salesforce has lost at this moment.