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Market forces shaping Microsoft Dynamics CRM partners' cloud ambitions

by Jason Gumpert

IBM made news earlier this month when the company announced a definitive agreement to purchase Silverpop, one of the last large independent vendors in the marketing automation space. The deal hasn't closed yet, so the companies remain quiet on future plans. But the move raises some interesting questions more broadly about the future of cloud-based solutions in the CRM space and how Microsoft's ISV and VAR partners will adapt to major moves by software industry giants.

As the giants of enterprise software like Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Salesforce, and a few others lock down their ownership of more market share - in CRM-related areas like marketing and elsewhere - software buyers will face complex choices between aligning with the major vendors or developing and supporting integrated solutions that skew toward best of breed. The conventional wisdom of the moment seems to be that any vendor selling something competitive to what the large vendors are pushing will become increasingly challenging. But based on the views of two executives in the Microsoft partner channel, opportunities remain strong for delivering and adopting cloud-based, integrated, solutions that remain focused on unique industry needs.

The momentum of the major vendors

Silverpop has invested heavily in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM market in recent years with a dual approach. They offer the Engage marketing platform for larger marketing departments who want a standalone system. And they acquired and continue to compete with CoreMotives, which is designed specifically for Dynamics CRM customers who want a solution that works within the CRM interface. Their offerings will give IBM new functional coverage areas, while also overlapping with other parts of IBM's existing portfolio of marketing products. It will be some time before ...

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About Jason Gumpert

As the editor of, 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

Prior to co-founding, 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. He has also held consulting positions at CSC Consulting and Monitor Group.

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