I’m thrilled when we are able to strengthen our Dynamics CRM offerings by partnering with some of the most creative and innovative companies in the industry. These agreements not only provide greater value to customers through specialized capabilities, but also represent a growing ecosystem of companies that gain tremendous growth opportunities by working with Dynamics CRM.

This week we signed a strategic alliance with Lithium Technologies to integrate Lithium’s social interactions and community data into Microsoft Dynamics CRM.  As an established leader in social interactions and community data, Lithium is an ideal community partner for Microsoft Dynamics. Our customers are always looking for ways to better nurture relationships with their customers, and peer-to-peer communities are critical to building customer loyalty. By giving them greater visibility into what’s happening through their CRM application, businesses have a more complete, 360 degree view of the customer. This is a great example of partners providing unique and specialized capabilities that complement and complete our customer engagement offerings.

Building a strong community capability can make businesses more efficient in quickly addressing the needs of their customers. A vibrant community allows for higher rates of self service and cost savings—responding to questions and issues normally handled by a call with a service agent. And it’s not just responding to problems—content from these communities, from ratings to reviews and discussions, strongly influence buying behaviors through credible, customer voices. A more active online community drives more traffic to a company’s web properties, leading to a higher rank of pages in search results. These communities are doing some amazing things -- such as embedded gamification and integrated Loyalty Management -- that create brand “superfans” who spend 10 times more with a company than a typical buyer.

Lithium’s solutions cover a broad spectrum of processes that span the customer experience across sales, service and marketing.  The combination of Dynamics CRM and the rich customer data available in Lithium communities will enable organizations to take their digital and social efforts to the next level.

We are very excited about the progress we are making in building a vibrant partner ecosystem, and this week’s announcement is only the latest example of great companies building on Dynamics CRM. In the coming weeks, I look forward to sharing more stories of future partnerships and the added value they deliver to our customers. Meanwhile, you can learn more about this exciting new alliance in the  announcement press release.

Bob Stutz