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Microsoft, Salesforce Ink Deal Around Azure Cloud and Teams

As part of a newly inked partnership, CRM service provider Salesforce will leverage certain Microsoft Azure services, as well as Microsoft Teams, for services to customers.

Per the agreement announced Thursday, the Salesforce Marketing Cloud service will use Azure infrastructure. In addition, Salesforce is planning to build connectors that will link the Teams chat and collaboration service with both the Salesforce Sales Cloud and the Salesforce Service Cloud.

The latter effort to connect with Teams will happen late next year. It's being done, in part, to better serve Salesforce's Sales and Service customers, who may also be using Teams, per the announcement:

Sales and customer service are highly collaborative, team-centric functions, and many companies actively use both Salesforce CRM and Microsoft Teams. As part of this agreement, Salesforce will build a new integration that give sales and service users the ability to search, view, and share Salesforce records directly within Teams. The new Teams integration for Salesforce Sales and Service Clouds will be made available in late 2020.

Similarly, Salesforce's moving of its Marketing Cloud to Azure infrastructure is deemed as "unlocking new growth opportunities for customers," including the ability to scale operations globally and meet data compliance requirements.

Salesforce now has its CRM operations hosted across four cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) providers, including Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, Alibaba Cloud (in China) and now Azure, noted Olive Huang, a research director at Gartner Research Inc. She offered four reasons why in this Gartner blog post.

First, Salesforce needs to speed up its geographic expansion. Next, Salesforce is meeting customer expectations to use application processes that are associated with various cloud services. Salesforce also is actively boosting its internal cross-platform cloud technical expertise with its cloud services partnerships. Lastly, Huang said that there's a bigger picture to the partnerships, and that "the relationship extends to other product groups such productivity suites, analytics, AI, as well as joint go-to-market efforts."

Microsoft and Salesforce still compete in the CRM space, but they've announced various collaborative efforts over the years. Salesforce built a Lightning connector to Outlook about three years ago. The two companies announced an integration of Salesforce's CRM with Office 365 applications about five years ago.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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