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Microsoft Dynamics CRM and the Shifting Add-On Solution Landscape: How ISVs Will Adapt for Success

by Jason Gumpert
October 08 2015

Cloudy forest path 

Last week's announcement that Microsoft is acquiring the technology assets of Adxstudio caught many in the Dynamics CRM community by surprise. After all, Microsoft already has access to similar (but not identical) capabilities thanks to its 2014 acquisition of Parature. Another reason for surprise is likely the unpredictable nature of the CRM acquisition track record at Microsoft over the last four years, which has been a mix of choices ranging from unknowns to purebred xRM solutions.

The visibility of Microsoft's CRM-related acquisitions strategy has increased in step with the rise of Dynamics CRM's profile at the company in the last year. The team has an increasingly complex role to play as both a top-tier CRM competitor and as a showpiece for a growing range of Microsoft products like Excel, Office Groups, Outlook, Power BI, and a range of Azure services. And while consultants and existing customers can watch for acquisition announcements with detached interest, these moves can be far more consequential for ISVs whose business strategies can depend in large part on their exposure to Microsoft's decisions.

The Adxstudio pickup has been generally well received by the Dynamics CRM community for several reasons:

  1. Adxstudio and its products have a long history of commitment to the Microsoft platform, including Dynamics CRM, .NET, SharePoint, and Azure.
  2. As a veteran Microsoft partner, the company has defined itself under CEO/CTO Shan MacArthur as a leader in a broad range of areas, including development best practices (including xRM), vertical know-how, and channel experience (its ...

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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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Submitted by bensonf on Thu, 10/08/2015 - 19:03 Permalink

Salesforce has launched vertical solutions in healthcare and financial services and I can imagine Microsoft reacting to this by investing further in its existing Industry Templates and upgrading these to full fledged vertical solutions to complete with Salesforce. The article makes it sounds as though the threat is to horizontal ISVs only, but I think vertical ISVs need to be aware too. Salesforce ISVs have similar challenges too. Salesforce acquired RelateIQ whose solution competed with Datahug and Introhive. Even though Datahug was venture funded by Salesforce, it not finds itself competing with SalesforceIQ (Salesforce's branding for RelateIQ). The key difference is that Salesforce offers its ISVs and customers a compelling marketplace, whereas Microsoft does not. So it'll be interesting to see how much longer Microsoft can maintain its ISV relationships without a thriving marketplace.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)