Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has a new BFF — and he’s none other than Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.
You have to give Benioff credit for leveraging his Zen Buddhist learnings and urging Microsoft to regain its “beginner's mind.” Last year, at TechCrunch Disrupt, he called Microsoft “such a disaster” that only Bill Gates could save it.
Today Benioff was busy on Twitter, posting pictures of himself and Nadella in various settings, sometimes even looking like lovebirds.
Connecting Customers and Information
Nadella’s tweets were a bit more restrained.
But in any case, their cronyism isn’t the news. It’s that Salesforce and Microsoft are hooking up globally in a strategic partnership to create new solutions that connect Salesforce.com’s customer relationship management (CRM) apps and platform to Windows, Microsoft Office 365 and Windows phones. The idea is to connect customers to the information they need from anywhere, at any time, through the right interface and in the right format.
The win for the end user? Productivity.
“Today is about putting the customer first,” Benioff said. “Together with Microsoft, we are building bridges that allow customers to be more productive.”
Nadella spoke in a similar tone:
"Working together we’ll deliver new solutions that connect the customer insights of Salesforce to the cloud productivity of Office 365, the cloud platform of Azure and the mobility of Windows, so our customers can do more.”
Focus on Office 365
During a conference call the two CEO’s emphasized that Office 365 will be a key point of integration between Microsoft, which is a great win for Salesforce users who use Excel and Outlook.
In addition to that, Benioff said that Salesforce will be using more SQL Server and will continue to leverage SQL Server. Microsoft will, in turn, embed Exact Target in Office 365.
According to Microsoft, working together with Salesforce, it plans to deliver the following solutions:
Salesforce1 for Windows and Windows Phone 8.1. It will enable customers to access Salesforce and run their business from their Windows devices. A preview is planned to be available in fall 2014 with general availability in 2015.
Salesforce for Office 365. New interoperability between Salesforce and Office 365 will give customers access to the content they need to collaborate, sell, service and market from virtually anywhere. Plans include the ability to:
- Access, share, edit and collaborate on Office content from within Salesforce and on Salesforce1 using Office Mobile, Office for iPad and Office 365.
- Use OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online as integrated storage options for Salesforce.
- Use Salesforce and Outlook together with a new Salesforce App for Outlook.
- Connect Salesforce data to Excel and Power BI for Office 365 to visualize information and find new insights.
- Who’s the big winner from this announcement? Both Nadella and Benioff will tell you the customer, and they’re right.
Who loses? Anyone who was betting against Microsoft on the basis that it wasn’t open enough.
If you’re a company the plans to compete against products like Microsoft OneDrive, SharePoint, Power BI or SQL Server, it’s time to review your game plan because Microsoft has, once again, changed the surface that you’re playing on.