Microsoft Takes Aim At Salesforce By Putting LinkedIn To Use

Salesforce made a lot of noise when Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in a blockbuster $26.2 billion deal, not the least because it was also bidding to buy the business social network.

Redmond came out victorious, and it seems like the software giant is wasting no time to extract value of its purchase. In what is clearly a move to challenge Salesforce, Microsoft is now integrating LinkedIn products and services into its Dynamics 365 platform.

The company announced today that customers using its CRM platform can now link it up with LinkedIn Sales Navigator, while also unveiling a new product called Dynamics 365 for Talent. This new service is designed for HR organizations for integration with the social networks Recruiter and Learning solutions.

This integration of data from LinkedIn into its sales software, CEO Satya Nadella believes, will become a central part of Microsoft’s long-term strategy for developing specialized business software.

Billed as a natural fusion of technology and data, Microsoft hopes this integration will help it compete and push back Salesforce — and the mindshare and market share it enjoys in this segment.

As for the social business platform itself, the software titan also announced today that it is growing at a fast clip. LinkedIn now has more than 500 million registered users, in 200 countries. This integration, however, makes it the first significant initiative Microsoft has undertaken for LinkedIn.

Microsoft currently ranks fourth in this market, behind rivals, Oracle and SAP, with the most recent figures according to Gartner putting it at 4.3% of the market in 2015.

How all this personal and corporate data helps the company in the business and sales sphere remains to be seen, but at the very least it should allow Dynamics to better compete with Salesforce, and assist businesses in fostering relationships with potential customers and current clients.

These enhancements will be available this summer, and require Microsoft Dynamics customers to also be LinkedIn users for the integration to function.

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