When Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in 2016, industry insiders immediately began to speculate on potential integrations. Although it is likely that Microsoft had performed a great deal of strategic planning prior to spending more than $26 billion for the acquisition, the company initially had little to say on how — or even if — LinkedIn would be integrated with existing products. Microsoft finally broke its silence in April 2017, announcing tools for sales and human resources that involved the integration of Dynamics 365 and LinkedIn.
How the Integration of Dynamics and LinkedIn Benefits Sales
LinkedIn carved out a niche in the world of social media by providing a place for business professionals to network. Unlike the users on other social sites, LinkedIn users do not typically post pictures of their meals, cute kitten videos or celebrity gossip. Instead, they focus on establishing business contracts and furthering their careers. This aspect makes LinkedIn a valuable resource for sales professionals.
The integration of Dynamics and LinkedIn will allow salespeople to be more effective by tapping into their professional networks. For example, they can offer tailored content to engage buyers, leverage LinkedIn profiles to improve relationships with current customers and receive news updates regarding the activities of companies that could provide future sales opportunities. Access to LinkedIn's database can allow sales teams to discover previously unknown connections between decision makers and themselves or colleagues in other departments. The correlation of data from Office 365, LinkedIn and Dynamics 365 will give sales professionals new insights, actionable suggestions and the ability to close leads more efficiently.
How the Integration of Dynamics and LinkedIn Benefits Human Resources
Dynamics 365 for Talent is a cloud-based application that takes full advantage of the integration with LinkedIn. Instead of juggling disconnected bits of data such as job applications, resumes, portfolios and LinkedIn profiles that are manually matched to each vacancy's specifications, hiring managers can streamline the process.
- Hiring managers connect to LinkedIn Recruiter through Dynamics 365 for Talent.
- They enter the criteria for the job they need to fill. Criteria can include specific skills, location, job titles, languages and more.
- Hiring managers have visibility into recruiters' activity from Dynamics 365 for Talent. They can view individual applications, the stage of each candidate in the process and each applicant's LinkedIn profile.
- Integration with Office 365 allows the system to check the schedule of each member of the hiring team and suggest suitable interview times.
- After the interview, feedback about the candidate can be shared with everyone who is involved in the final decision.
Dynamics 365 can also streamline and standardize the onboarding process. Templates guide new hires and the human resources team by providing checklists to be completed. For example, activities could include performing a background check, obtaining tax information from the candidate or following up on references. Candidates could receive information on parking, details on required training or information on how their role contributes to the organization's success. Through LinkedIn, new hires could be introduced to their new colleagues or notified of colleagues with whom they share a past connection.
Dynamics 365 for Sales and Dynamics 365 for Talent are scheduled to be released in July 2017. As is common with Microsoft products, the new modules will offer complete integration with Office 365. Although Microsoft has discussed much of the functionality that will be available, the full scope will not likely be discovered until real users begin experimenting on their own. This means that the new applications could prove to be even more powerful than analysts predict.