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Nimble CRM 5.0 Looks To Break Down Business Contact Silos Across Hundreds Of Enterprise Apps

The simple CRM for Office 365 teams, recently re-platformed, on Azure, is catching fire with Microsoft partners with more than 1,000 solution providers joining the startup’s channel in the last six months.

Nimble CRM has released a major update to its social relationship management platform that aims to further unify business contacts siloed across hundreds of enterprise apps and add value to Microsoft's cloud-based productivity and business intelligence solutions.

The release of Nimble 5.0 comes just a week after the Los Angeles-based startup completed a project to migrate its CRM and team relationship management software from Amazon Web Services to Microsoft Azure.

By re-platforming on Azure, Nimble looks to take advantage of a strengthening partnership with Microsoft and leverage synergies with the software giant that have brought more than 1,000 resellers into its channel since the start of the year, Nimble CEO Jon Ferrara told CRN.

[Related: For Nimble CRM, Partners Like Microsoft and Tech Data Are The Key To Scaling Its Channel Fast]

When Nimble was founded 10 years ago, the product was more-closely aligned with Google Apps (now G Suite), with a focus on integrating contacts, calendars, and inboxes from Google's cloud productivity suite with social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn.

But the advent of Microsoft Office 365 in the years since has changed the dynamics of that business and pulled Nimble squarely into the Microsoft ecosystem.

"We've seen the majority of our customers today are on Office 365. As they sign up, we're noticing they're slightly larger," Ferrara said, and "their needs are more complex."

Running on Azure will allow future development of Nimble's Software-as-a-Service application to take advantage of Microsoft's artificial intelligence platforms, Common Data Service built into PowerApps, and other tools and building blocks, Ferrara said.

Beyond Office 365, Nimble CRM has built integrations with Microsoft Teams, Power BI and Dynamics 365, as well as third-party solutions available on the Azure marketplace.

Nimble 5.0 introduces several upgrades to break down siloes across the disparate systems that store customer data.

A new user interface bidirectionally synchronizes contacts dispersed across more than 200 business apps. Other improvements include a simplified contact record and streamlined task window, a redesign of its mobile app, templated email tracking and messaging, and greater automation and customization features.

All businesses struggle with managing contacts, Ferrara said.

"That makes Nimble a Trojan horse into any business. And that enables a reseller to sell Nimble into any business, regardless of what they have," Ferrara said.

Solving the problem of siloed contacts opens the door for partners to sell other solutions to their customers, he said.

"We're a gateway to Microsoft's crown jewels: Power BI, PowerApps and Azure," Ferrara said.

That message is resonating with the channel—more than 1,000 partners have signed with Nimble in the past six months, most coming via Microsoft's massive network of cloud resellers.

"We recognize [that] to scale globally to millions of Office 365 customers, we need to do that through their partners," he said.

Nimble CRM was among the inaugural group of ISVs participating in a pilot program launched two months ago that, for the first time, allowed Microsoft's Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) partners to bundle, sell and invoice third-party software directly through the Azure Marketplace.

Hikari Data Solutions, a Microsoft-aligned solution provider based in Dublin, Ireland, that specializes in CRM and business intelligence, is introducing Nimble to businesses across Western Europe.

Office 365 and Azure resellers are eager to find more solutions they can bundle on top of those products to add value and make customer engagements stickier, Hikari CEO Eamon Moore told CRN.

"Partners know they need to add extra layers on top of the services they provide customers," Moore said. "Unifying customer data through a CRM [system] is the perfect layer to offer."

Many of those cloud service providers are both bringing Nimble to market and also using the product internally to manage their own customer relationships, Moore said.

"We're seeing a lot of MSP and CSP partners of Microsoft moving to Nimble," he said.

Nimble delivers that "single source of truth about the customer," Moore said.

"All businesses strive for a single pane of glass and a unified contact manager. Very often that single view of the customer can be muddied through all the systems customers have."

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