Even if OfficeTalk never ends up going public, someway, somehow, Microsoft is going to get on the microblogging hype. Sonoma Partners offers the latest vehicle via a tool called Vibe.
An official Microsoft partner, Sonoma was hired to write documentation for the Microsoft Dynamics CRM system. And to support the rise of social networking, the company decided to add some familiar features.
Here's how it works: Users select the feeds they want to see (from single users, teams or other groups). Posts to each feed are made automatically based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM data, or manually as contributions from other users:
Pretty basic, right? Other features include:
- Combines the ease-of-use of Facebook and Twitter with Microsoft's powerful CRM platform.
- Posts important CRM data -- but also allows users to manually post information to a feed.
- Lets users create and maintain their own feed subscriptions.
- Has native integration to Gravatar so users can personalize an avatar for their feed.
- Allows users to search across all feeds. .
- A usage analytics dashboard.
- Works with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 on-premise editions
Calling Out the Competition
"We believe in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM community, and therefore we want to offer Vibe to the community an alternative to Salesforce.com's Chatter," stated Dynamics MVP, Mike Snyder, on the official release announcement. "Because we're not offering support -- think of Vibe as a public beta -- we can afford to give it away, so download Vibe, use it, and enjoy it on us. We firmly believe social networking is a critical way for businesses to communicate, and we want to support that philosophy by spreading Vibe far and wide."
An alternative to Chatter with no support is kind of weak on the competition end, but let's not get picky with free offerings just yet. If you're interested, check out the community version of Vibe on the Dynamics Marketplace.