Microsoft upgrades its CRM applications

Microsoft's first upgrade of the CRM applications it released earlier this year includes improved setup tools and a simpler and...

Microsoft's first upgrade of the CRM applications it released earlier this year includes improved setup tools and a simpler and more flexible user interface.

Version 1.2 of Microsoft CRM is available to users in North America, and will be available outside of North America next month. The upgrade will support nine languages and is due to be offered in 47 countries next month.

Microsoft CRM is aimed at small and midsized companies, plus departments or divisions within larger businesses. About 1,000 customers have bought the software since it began shipping last January.

Jeff Young, vice-president of emerging retail and CRM solutions at the software supplier, said he and other officials are pleased with the number of installations so far. He added that Microsoft has hit its initial target of fielding applications that end users will actually turn on.

"One of the biggest holdbacks with CRM is the ability to get it from being 'shelfware' to get people to be able to use it," Young said.

But Erin Kinikin, an analyst at Giga Information Group, said Microsoft still has a way to go, both technically and in terms of CRM market penetration. "Overall, we're hearing customers ask about Microsoft CRM, but not a lot of people [are] implementing."

Marc L Songini writes for Computerworld

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