CRM plug-in puts sales data into Office apps

Application service provider Salesforce.com has launched a plug-in to link its customer relationship management system with the...

Application service provider Salesforce.com has launched a plug-in to link its customer relationship management system with the Microsoft Office suite. The plug-in gives users a way to import data from its hosted CRM service into Word, Excel and Outlook.

The company said Salesforce .com Office Edition provides users with tools to quickly create documents and reports with real-time data. The software, which creates pull-down menus in Office applications, uses XML and web services to direct customer and sales information into Office.

Gytis Barzdukas, director of Office product management at Microsoft, said, "Using Microsoft Office as a client for CRM data allows companies and teams to be more productive and efficient by easily accessing and using the latest customer information throughout their spreadsheets, documents and presentations."

Time Warner Cable was an early adopter of the product. Bo Coughlin, vice-president of commercial business development at the media company, said, "Being able to automatically generate customer proposals in Word and perform easy-to-use analytics directly in Excel using data from Salesforce.com will streamline the effectiveness of our business processes."

Users running Microsoft Office 2003 will benefit from additional capabilities, including integrated access to document protection tools, ease of use and programmatic extensibility via Visual Studio .net 2003, Salesforce.com said.

Salesforce.com has about 8,400 customers and 120,000 subscribers. Last month, the company filed papers for an initial public offering later this year.

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