CRM from Microsoft

Redmond launches mid-market customer relationship management solution in North America

Redmond, WA  January 22, 2003  Microsoft Business Solutions today announced the North American availability of its customer relationship management solution, Microsoft CRM, intended to support and automate the CRM strategies of mid-market organizations.

The Redmond software giant said its CRM offers an up-to-the-minute view of all interactions from initial lead through lifetime customer history. The application is accessible both as a browser-based application and through Microsoft Outlook.

CRM is the first Microsoft business application built on the Microsoft .NET infrastructure, which the software company said would make it easier to integrate the solution with disparate systems and with external Web services, such as credit checking, analytics and marketing automation services that extend the core functionality of the solution.

Targeting the mid-market, Microsoft said that the CRM solution offers features previously available only to larger enterprises with big information technology budgets and that software will give midsize businesses the flexibility to determine the degree to which they want to automate and share information across their organizations.

"Microsoft CRM is a key component of Microsoft Business Solutions' overall mission to give mid-market 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 is offering two versions of CRM, a professional edition that enables more complex CRM functionality, including workflow rules, customization and back-office integration with enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, and a standard edition that provides a stand-alone CRM environment without extensive business automation and integration requirements.

Both versions are being distributed and implemented by the company's CRM-certified reselling partners. Microsoft CRM Standard Edition will also soon be available to reselling partners in North America through a key distributor, Ingram Micro, and additional distributors will be announced over the next few months, according to Microsoft.

Estimated retail pricing for Microsoft CRM 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.

The product is available as an on-premise solution or as a hosted solution through select resellers.

The North American version of Microsoft CRM is not available for purchase outside the United States and Canada at this time, but localized versions of Microsoft CRM for the Europe and Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Latin America markets are being developed and are scheduled for release in the second half of 2003.