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Microsoft To Enhance Dynamics 365 With Planned Suplari Acquisition

“Today’s announcement also signals our continued commitment to enabling organizations to move beyond transactional financial management to proactive operations that enhance decision making, mitigate risks, and reduce supplier costs through our data-first approach,” Frank Weigel, Microsoft’s vice president of Dynamics 365 Insights Product Group, said in a blog post Wednesday.

Microsoft plans to acquire Suplari, a company that offers data analysis software for companies to manage supplier spending, and use the company’s capabilities to improve its Dynamics 365 product.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella described Dynamics 365, Microsoft’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) offering, as creating “a new generation of business applications” during the tech giant’s earnings call Tuesday.

Suplari, based in Seattle, provides analysis on how much companies spend on suppliers by drawing in data from contracts, purchase orders, invoices, expenses, supplier risk and other sources, according to a statement Wednesday. The company works with mid-sized and large enterprises.

[RELATED: Ignite 2021: Microsoft’s 6 Biggest Dynamics 365 Updates]

Microsoft’s statement and a separate statement from Suplari do not disclose terms of the deal or provide a closing date. A Microsoft spokesperson did not respond to emailed questions by press time.

Microsoft plans to couple Suplari Spend Intelligence Cloud with Dynamics 365 and offer customers more automation around spending analysis and a way for users to predict the best spend management actions, according to a statement. Suplari Spend Intelligence Cloud is currently available with no changes for existing customers. The Suplari library has more than 175 insights to manage demand, spend and cash flow daily.

Frank Weigel, Microsoft’s vice president of Dynamics 365 Insights Product Group, said in a blog post Tuesday that he wants the products to help customers break down data silos when it comes to spending analysis.

“Today’s announcement also signals our continued commitment to enabling organizations to move beyond transactional financial management to proactive operations that enhance decision making, mitigate risks, and reduce supplier costs through our data-first approach,” Weigel said.

Suplari started in 2016 and manages more than $180 billion in spend across millions of transactions a month for global companies, Suplari CEO and co-founder Nikesh Parekh said in the company’s own statement on the acquisition. The two companies had previously discussed partnering for “several years.”

“We have always been impressed with the combination of cloud-based Dynamics 365, Microsoft’s deep investments in AI, and the Azure cloud,” he said. “Microsoft also has a bold data-first vision of the future. Now data can be collected from almost any source. Applications must ingest data and drive predictions that accelerate analysis, decision making, and automation.”

Suplari has raised more than $18 million in funding to date, according to Crunchbase.

Phil Walker, CEO of Manhattan Beach, Calif.-based Microsoft partner Network Solutions Provider, a member of CRN’s 2021 Managed Service Provider 500, told CRN that Dynamics has seen demand from his customers in retail and Office 365 users looking for more insights from their data.

As Microsoft continues to invest in Dynamics, the tech giant could take a page from SAP’s Business One ERP system and improve users’ ability to get real-time actionable insights from Dynamics. Microsoft could also improve the AI and machine learning (ML) capabilities of Dynamics and have Dynamics tie back to more datasets for more useful dashboards, Walker said.

“Anything to give visibility into a company helps,” he said. “Especially today, you don’t have to feel like you’re flying blind.”

In Microsoft’s earnings call Tuesday, Nadella said that growth trends around Dynamics and how it pairs with other Microsoft products such as collaboration app Teams is “one of the most exciting things” coming out of the pandemic.

“One of the most exciting things we are seeing is that coming out of this pandemic there is an absolute new chapter for a complete new suite -- all the way from sales to customer service to marketing to supply chain or digital manufacturing -- that‘s all going to be reimplemented,” Nadella said. “There is going to be a complete new cycle of business process automation that is going to be AI first and collaboration first.”

He said that Dynamics 365 sales accelerated for the third consecutive quarter, growing 49 percent year over year with users including Coca-Cola and the Los Angeles Clippers.

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