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Microsoft Convergence focuses on analytics, cloud

Microsoft Convergence attendees explored the new cloud-based Power BI analytics tool at the conference.

Microsoft CRM and ERP users, like all businesspeople, are trying to gain greater insight into key processes and strategies. And increasingly, they're turning to business intelligence (BI) tools in the cloud to get that information about operations and performance.

These issues were on the minds of users who attended Microsoft Convergence 2015 in Atlanta, the software company's annual business-focused conference. Microsoft rolled our further details about its cloud-based Power BI tool.

Dave Nelson, senior vice president and CRM lead at Avanade, sat down with SearchCRM to talk about Microsoft Convergence and discuss some of the central concerns for CRM buyers.

Nelson said that Dynamics CRM users are already familiar with Microsoft's Power BI product, which is used as a reporting and BI tool that can integrate data from the Dynamics database as well as from other sources. But Microsoft's acquisition of Revolution Analytics gives users an additional analytics capability within the Dynamics platform, something Nelson said is an exciting move.

"It's going to allow Microsoft to do a more impressive job of analytics and intelligence around big data and … fills a gap a lot of CRM tools have had: They're very good at reporting on the data that they have, but they've tended to lack some really insightful analytics modeling capability," Nelson said.

Dave Nelson Dave Nelson

Nelson also discussed Microsoft's strategy in moving users to the cloud. He said that companies' initial fears about moving data to the cloud are dissipating as they grow more comfortable moving applications like Dynamics CRM there. As cloud technology matures, Nelson said, companies will continue to gain trust. On-premises won't go away -- at least, in the near future -- according to Nelson, but in the meantime, Microsoft addresses business users' varying needs by offering hybrid architecture, enabling them to leave some data protected behind the firewall.

"[With hybrid] you can mix and match solutions where your data is stored in one place, processed in another, perhaps accessed in another and address the security concerns that the customer has but also get the performance, scalability, and flexibility of cloud processing," Nelson said.

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