Microsoft to buy Parature to bulk up Dynamics CRM

Businesses customers of Microsoft's Dynamics CRM will be able to offer their customers more self-service options, at least that's the idea behind the company's plan to buy up Parature, which specializes in cloud-based customer engagement.

Microsoft says it has reached a definitive agreement to buy the company for an undisclosed amount in order to boost customers' ability to find answers to their questions without having to contact customer-service reps. Parature software also gives customers a range of options for reaching service reps when necessary.

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Bob Stutz, Microsoft's corporate vice president for Dynamics CRM says in a blog that the deal marks a significant milestone for his organization by expanding options for delivering customer care.

Parature cloud services include self-service customer care Web portals, access via Facebook, mobile customer care, live chat, and a strong knowledge base, Stutz says.

Parature customers include Ask.com, the United States Environmental Protection Agency and IBM.

After the deal goes through Microsoft says it will continue selling Parature products and services and support all Parature customers.Dynamics CRM competes against Salesforce.com and Oracle.

Over the past year or so Microsoft has made two other purchases to enhance features of Dynamics CRM, MarketingPilot for automating marketing campaigns and Netbreeze for social-media sentiment analysis.

Earlier Microsoft bought Yammer and Skype, both of which have added new features to Dynamics CRM.

Tim Greene covers Microsoft and unified communications for Network World and writes the Mostly Microsoft blog. Reach him at tgreene@nww.com and follow him on Twitter@Tim_Greene.

Read more about software in Network World's Software section.

Tags business issuesEEMicrosoftsoftwareacquisitionsAsk.comFacebookmergersMergers and acquisitionscorporate issues

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