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Microsoft Dynamics CRM Q4 2011 Service Update Released

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Posted October 25, 2011 By Stuart J. Johnston     Feedback

Updated: Is Microsoft feeling the heat of faster, smaller competitors in the customer relationship management (CRM) space or just feeling its oats?

Last spring, Microsoft announced that, beginning this fall, it would start to release updates for its Dynamics Customer Relationship Management (CRM) package twice a year instead of once every two or three years as it has in the past.

Now that fall is here, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) has made good on those promises with the release today of the ungainly named Dynamics CRM November 2011 Service Update.

"Microsoft Dynamics CRM is moving to a rapid innovation cadence where additional capabilities for Microsoft Dynamics CRM (both Online and on-premises) are delivered in releases targeted for the Spring (Q2) and Fall (Q4) of each calendar year. The first of these releases [is the November] 2011 Service Update," Reuben Krippner, product management lead for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, said in a recent post to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Blog.

Microsoft released the last major revision of the package for Microsoft Online self-hosting in January and for third-party services providers and customer on-premises hosting in February.

Then, in May, company officials announced that since the technology world is changing so rapidly, it would start releasing smaller updates in shorter timeframes – in this case, approximately every six months.

Microsoft expanded on those statements in July and again in September when it revealed that this fall's update would add support for Office 365 as well as a Facebook-style activity feeds interface.

Besides new social collaboration features a la Salesforce Chatter and integration with Microsoft's cloud-based productivity suite, other items on the list of new and enhanced features coming this fall are unified provisioning, billing, and administration for Dynamics CRM and Office 365, according to what Microsoft refers to as a Release Preview Guide.

"This marks the beginning of a program that will enable even simpler administration of functionality, users and billing as part of an organization’s subscription to Microsoft cloud services," the guide added.

Additionally, the service update also features advanced disaster recovery so that customers' applications will fail over across data centers within the same region – such as within the U.S., for instance.

"This will ensure that you still have your mission-critical customer data physically residing in data centers in your region in the unlikely event of a data center interruption," the guide said.

Other capabilities include enhancements to the package's business intelligence (BI) toolset in order to simplify sophisticated data analysis.

More information is available at crm.dynamics.com/nov2011.

Stuart J. Johnston is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @stuartj1000.

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