Microsoft Acquires Netbreeze to Add Social Media Monitoring, Analytics for All Dynamics CRM Customers

Microsoft kicked off Convergence 2013 today with the announcement that it has acquired Swiss social media monitoring company Netbreeze to add social network monitoring, management, and analytics to Dynamics CRM.   The company also plans to launch Marketing Pilot 15 this month, the first release since the acquisition in late 2012.  

The company also announced plans for Azure-hosted versions of Dynamics GP and NAV and a new set of upcoming Dynamics AX mobile solutions.

Microsoft showed off its Netbreeze integration during the keynote, demonstrating how a new Netbreeze widget can be plugged into the new Dynamics CRM Flow UI for a brief view of an organization's social trends, but also diving into the full product for a range of reporting options around geography, language, more granular topic areas, sentiment analysis, and the ability to interact directly at the social network level. The initial demonstration featured a fairly simple embedded view, but the CRM team plans to offer more of a seamless integration in a real release.

"When Microsoft considers an acquisition, we look for leading edge technology companies with innovative IP that aligns with our technology and can scale for the enterprise; this is what we were fortunate enough to find with Netbreeze.  A dynamic Swiss company started by some incredibly talented analytics scientists that we enthusiastically welcome to the Microsoft family." wrote Dynamics CRM CVP Bob Stutz on the CRM Connection blog.  

He continued:

"Netbreeze technology is unique in the way it combines modern methods from Natural Language Processing (NLP), data mining and semantic text analysis to support 28 different writing systems including German, English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Japanese, Traditional Chinese or Mandarin.  This is a huge benefit over competing solutions that translate to a common language then analyze sentiment from there.  Additionally, they offer their customers the ability to monitor a wide array of social channels including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, as well as 6,000 online news websites, 18 million blogs and 500,000 message boards. "

Microsoft plans to make Netbreeze functionality available to all Dynamics CRM customers as standard part of the offering, they told today's keynote audience.

As for the recent acquistions, Microsoft Business Division president Kirill Tatarinov acknowledged that his organization has become more active in searching out new technology, bust that the focus remains on the functionality and not the customer base of the acquired company.

"We have become more acquisitive," Tatarionv said after the keynote. "We are more aggressive in delivering more to our customers...When look at our business at large, every customer is a Microsoft customer.  Targeting a customer base is not a priority because they're already customers, we're unified. So it's important to deliver the right functionality at right time, the right way."

In the case of the chief marketing officer's role, Tatarinov added that he sees the needs of the CMO as becoming more challenging by trying to demonstrate the return on their investment, and that business need has driven decisions around the CRM-based investments.  "In M&A we think about roles but also needs of the business. Driving revenue and enhancing activities is what every enterprise is excited about. The CMO role's emergence and the realization by many of how ineffective their marketing spend has been in the past is something that drives emergence of the need and for us to move fast.  Very few [CMOs]have an understanding of return on marketing investment. "

In the Netbreeze demo at today's keynote, the focus was on diving into social analytics from the Flow UI's campaign details screen.  Working from a Surface tablet, a rotating series of brief reports with data specific to that campaign appeared in a widget on the Flow interface. The user could then tap or click to dive into a more comprehensive Netbreeze interface that featured reports on social media segmentation by language, geography, and social network, and sentiment analysis across a broad range of native languages. The user could also drill into individual social communication that Netbreeze captures to find postive and negative feedback and respond directly or indirectly.

"The way we will make this technology available makes this acquisition even more compelling," according to Bob Stutz. "We are going to provide access to this rich data across your marketing, sales and service teams so that each and every person using your CRM system can have this consumer insight at their fingertips.  Delivering these capabilities is a critical part of our social strategy."

About Jason Gumpert

As the editor of MSDynamicsWorld.com, Jason oversees all editorial content on the site and at our events, as well as providing site management and strategy. He can be reached at jgumpert@msdynamicsworld.com.

Prior to co-founding MSDynamicsWorld.com, Jason was a Principal Software Consultant at Parametric Technology Corporation (PTC), where he implemented solutions, trained customers, managed software development, and spent some time in the pre-sales engineering organization. Jason has also held consulting positions at CSC Consulting and Monitor Group.

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