What Microsoft’s LinkedIn Acquisition Means for Dynamics

by:
on July 6, 2016

Whenever a company makes a $26 billion acquisition, you can be sure that legions of armchair CEOs will emerge from their troll caves to explain what a terrible idea it is. Microsoft’s recent purchase of LinkedIn is no exception.

To be fair, the critics may be right. Microsoft’s track record with major acquisitions is spotty at best, but that has little bearing on what this acquisition could mean.

Amid these debates, few have considered what the acquisition will mean for Microsoft Dynamics, the software giant’s line of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. There’s little doubt Microsoft had enterprise clients in mind when making the acquisition.

The Best and Worst Case Scenarios for The Microsoft-LinkedIn Acquisition

Right now, it’s up in the air what the acquisition will mean for the enterprise offerings, though Microsoft has indicated that LinkedIn will integrate in some way with Office365 and Dynamics.

Here are the best and worst case scenarios:

Best-Case Scenario

Microsoft smoothly rolls out new integrative features with LinkedIn that bolster its customer relationship management (CRM) and human resources (HR) management offerings. Microsoft reasserts its position as a dominant force in the office, and Dynamics gains a serious competitive advantage over other major ERP players and CRM platforms such as Salesforce.

Worst-Case Scenario

Microsoft rolls out clunky, poorly-received and unintuitive integrative features that disrupt the user experience in Office365, Dynamics and LinkedIn. An exodus from LinkedIn—either due to mass user rejection of the changes or the emergence of an unforeseen competitor—may be unlikely. But, it could also weaken the value proposition of a LinkedIn-Dynamics integration.

A Dream List of Microsoft-LinkedIn Integrations

So what should Microsoft do? Here’s a dream list of how those integrations could play out:

 

Microsoft Product      LinkedIn Integration
Dynamics: CRM
  •  Sales professionals can seamlessly sync contacts from their CRM database with their LinkedIn profiles.
  • Improved analytics on the back end for tracking marketing and advertising efforts through LinkedIn.
  • Sales and marketing teams gain enhanced lead generation through LinkedIn, filtering LinkedIn users for job title, industry, experience, skills and so on.
  • Ability to mass export connections’ profile data into .xls or .csv format.
Dynamics: HR
  •  “One-click” job applications: Users simply click an “apply” button on a job posting on LinkedIn, and their profile information is autofilled into Dynamics’ applicant tracking system.
  • Enhanced recruiting: HR professionals can more easily find qualified job candidates through advanced filtering on LinkedIn.
  • Improved ability to manage employees’ LinkedIn profiles as they relate to the company (e.g., requiring certain language or corporate names be used in profile text).

Of course, these scenarios don’t address the potential integrations with Office365, but those are easy to imagine as well. For example, one could imagine an integration with Microsoft Word that provides a resume template for users to fill out and easily sync to their LinkedIn profile. Integration between InMail and Outlook also seems like a no-brainer for consumers and enterprises alike.

Again, this is all up in the air. We’ll have to wait and see what Microsoft has in mind, but it seems likely that the acquisition could have a huge impact on the Dynamics line of products.

What do you want to see from the Microsoft-LinkedIn integrations? Email me your thoughts at forrest@softwareadvice.com.

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