Microsoft snaps up FieldOne to enrich Dynamics CRM

The move is a 'no-brainer,' one analyst says

Microsoft acquires FieldOne to enrich Dynamics CRM.

Microsoft acquires FieldOne to enrich Dynamics CRM.

Microsoft and FieldOne have been partners for several years already, but on Thursday Microsoft took the relationship a step further and acquired the New Jersey-based provider of field-service software.

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but it comes just four months after the two companies signed a global strategic agreement to integrate Microsoft Dynamics CRM and FieldOne's Sky platform, which offers features such as automated routing, scheduling and dispatch, work-order management, mobile collaboration and more.

Field-service management software is used by companies that need to send workers to customers' locations to provide on-site support. Typically, it relies heavily upon cloud and mobile technologies, with an increasing use of data science and predictive analytics.

"Field-service management is a specific but critically important area of customer service, providing companies with the ability to deliver end-to-end field service," wrote Bob Stutz, corporate vice president for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, in a blog post announcing the news.

FieldOne's cloud service was built on Dynamics CRM and works across hardware platforms. With the acquisition, Microsoft aims to help companies take a more proactive approach to field service through the combination of FieldOne, Azure IoT and Cortana Analytics, Stutz said.

Last year, Oracle made a similar move by buying TOA Technologies, another player in the field-service arena.

"This is a natural form of vertical consolidation that often happens in a strengthening market," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst with Enderle Group.

Using multiple, separate field-service companies can reduce both profitability and customer satisfaction because "they form an information and revenue barrier between the tech company and the customer it serves," Enderle noted.

So, "in a market like this, a move to acquire a service organization that's already successful and focused on the vendor's products would be considered a no-brainer," Enderle said.

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