Microsoft Pours LinkedIn Data onto Dynamics 365 for Sales Organizations

By:  Pedro Hernandez

Nestled among some major announcements during the Microsoft Inspire conference in Washington D.C. this week was news of updates to its Dynamics 365 cloud enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management package.

Microsoft made a splash at the event by pinning down the upcoming availability of hybrid cloud systems powered by its Azure Stack software and its new Microsoft 365 business software bundles. Not to be left out, Dynamics 365 is also getting some attention from the software giant in the form of a major LinkedIn data integration.

First unveiled in April, Microsoft Relationship Sales, a standalone package that includes LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales, is now generally available for the Enterprise edition of the software as a service platform. It is one of many integrations Microsoft has planned for LinkedIn and its trove of data since it acquired the massive professional social network last year for $26 billion. In April, LinkedIn announced it had hit the 500-million-member milestone and that’s its reach now extends into more than nine million companies.

“With relationship-centered insights, sellers can deliver the authentic and personal engagement that today’s buyers demand, at scale,” blogged Alysa Taylor, general manager of Global Marketing for the Cloud and Enterprise Business Applications and Industry at Microsoft. “The solution brings together disparate data across CRM, social networks, and productivity systems, such as Office 365 and LinkedIn so sellers can finally make sense of the data they already have and unify the sales experience around relationships.”

Microsoft also announced it plans to release two new applications, Dynamics 365 for Retail and Dynamics 365 for Talent, later this month.

Dynamics 365 for Retail brings together customer, inventory and employee data, providing store owners with centralized management over their retail operations. It includes point-of-sale functionality, workforce scheduling tools and AI-assisted sales channel optimization features.

In another example of LinkedIn’s spreading influence within Microsoft’s business software ecosystem, Dynamics 365 for Talent also integrates with LinkedIn Recruiter. It provides hiring managers and interviewers with up-to-date information on job candidates, said Taylor. The talent management tool can also be used to deliver personalize on-boarding experiences to new hires and help maintain a comprehensive profile of each employee that includes data from Dynamics 365, Office 365 and LinkedIn.

Microsoft also kicked off previews of Dynamics 365 for Sales and Dynamics 365 for Marketing for customers of the Business (non-Enterprise) edition of the software suite.

Other new updates this month include a new hybrid deployment option for customers wishing to run Dynamics 365 for Finance + Operations Enterprise in their own data centers. Microsoft also rolled out a new prospect-to-cash business process integration that uses to company’s Common Data Service to provide a seamless flow of data between the Dynamics Sales and Finance + Operations applications.