Microsoft CRM Arrives Staff

Updated · Jan 22, 2003

Microsoft’s long-awaited customer relationship management (CRM) software is here.

The software giant today announced the North American availability of Microsoft CRM through its Business Solutions division. According Microsoft, the software is aimed at midmarket organizations and is available as an on-site or as a hosted application through resellers.

Microsoft CRM, according to a statement released today by Microsoft, offers an up-to-the-minute view of interactions from initial lead throughout the lifetime of a customer. The software is accessible both as a browser-based application and through Microsoft Outlook.

The Redmond, Wash.-based company also reports that Microsoft CRM is the first Microsoft business application built on .NET infrastructure, which is designed to facilitate a simpler connection of disparate systems and improve integration with external Web services such as credit checking, analytics and marketing automation services.

“Microsoft CRM is a key component of Microsoft Business Solutions’ overall mission to give midmarket businesses the tools they need to succeed on their terms, their schedules and their budgets,” said David Thacher, general manager of Customer Relationship Management at Microsoft Business Solutions.

Microsoft Business Solutions CRM-certified reselling partners will immediately begin distributing and implementing the Professional Edition — which includes work-flow rules, customization and back-office integration with enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems — and Standard Edition — which Microsoft says is designed for a stand-alone CRM environment without extensive business automation and integration requirements. The Standard Edition will also soon be available to reselling partners in North America through Santa Calif.-based distributor Ingram Micro. Microsoft reports that additional distributors will be announced over the next few months.

Pricing for Microsoft CRM is as follows, according to Microsoft. Estimated retail pricing ranges from $395 per user, plus $995 for the service or sales servers for the Standard Edition, to $1,295 per user, plus $1,990 for the service and sales servers for the Professional Suite Edition.

Localized versions of Microsoft CRM for the Europe and Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Latin America markets are under development and are scheduled for release in the second half of 2003.

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