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Microsoft, Salesforce.com Integration Coming Next Year

Microsoft and Salesforce.com will launch a number of offerings integrating Office and Windows with Salesforce.com's CRM platform in 2015.

The two companies, historically rivals in the CRM space, announced in May that they were partnering to develop solutions that would integrate their core technologies. On Monday, during the kickoff of Salesforce.com's Dreamforce '14 conference in San Francisco, the companies gave an overview of the first fruits of that partnership.

The new Salesforce Files offering, which works with SharePoint, is now generally available. The product "helps customers unlock files from Microsoft SharePoint so they are mobile, social and can be used in the context of any Salesforce business process," according to an announcement from the two companies.

During the first half of 2015, Microsoft and Salesforce.com will jointly release:

  • A Salesforce1 app for Outlook, which would let users manage their Salesforce.com data using Outlook 2013, Exchange 2013 and Office 365.
  • Integration between the Salesforce1 app and SharePoint, Office, and OneDrive for Business on Android and iOS devices.
  • Integration between Salesforce.com and the Power Query feature in Excel (this is currently in preview).
  • Integration between Salesforce.com and Power BI for Office 365.

In addition, the following offerings will become generally available in the second half of 2015:

  • The Salesforce1 app for Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 devices (currently in private preview).
  • A Salesforce app for Excel.
Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff (left) with Microsoft Corporate Vice President Tony Prophet at Dreamforce '14.

Tony Prophet, corporate vice president of Windows marketing at Microsoft, joined Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff onstage at Dreamforce on Monday. In a Q&A with Benioff, Prophet characterized Microsoft's partnership with Salesforce.com as part of a broader push at Microsoft toward creating a more open and collaborative platform.

"As a platform company, you really have to be ecosystem- and partner-centric. It can never be about proprietary stacks," Prophet said. "I won't name names, but if you think about all the walled gardens and the proprietary stacks in the technology industry, which has survived? ... You can see it time and time again, the ecosystems that went and thrived in today's world are open ecosystems."

Prophet said that Microsoft is "working to build open platforms like Azure, open platforms like Office, open platforms like Windows, and that means partnerships. That means embracing partners, embracing innovation and leadership from outside the company. ... Because that's what our customers demand."

The announcements on Monday from Microsoft and Salesforce.com came less than a week after Microsoft launched its "Sales Productivity" solution, which combines Dynamics CRM and Office 365 in a low-priced bundle that is aimed, in part, at migrating Salesforce.com customers to Microsoft's own CRM offering.

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for RCPmag.com and senior editor of AWSInsider.net.