Microsoft has released the public beta of Microsoft CRM 3.0 which is more tightly integrated with the Microsoft Office collaboration suite.
The release also includes an improved range of customisation tools to enable users to get more out of the platform.
Microsoft is skipping over version 2.0 and going straight to version 3.0 after its upgrade plans were delayed. Version 2.0 was originally promised in the first quarter of 2004.
The 3.0 beta will run for 60 days, with the company planning to start manufacturing a final version before the end of the year, ready for a general commercial release in the first quarter next year.
CRM 3.0 includes new marketing automation facilities and a new service scheduling module to manage field services staff, for instance.
The new version is also more tightly integrated with the company’s SQL Reporting Services, so that users don’t have to rely so heavilly on third party reporting tools.
Better integration with Office includes the easier export of CRM data into Excel files.