Microsoft takes CRM products to market

The Microsoft Customer Relationship Management software line will be released later this year and yesterday the company confirmed that some customers were currently testing the beta version of the package.

‘We built Microsoft CRM on the Microsoft .NET foundation to open up tremendous opportunities for internet service vendors and partners to extend their systems by using web services,’ said David Thacher, general manager at Microsoft’s business solutions group. ‘This is a market that is largely underserved today.’

Details on packaging and pricing were also revealed, with the standard version software going for $395 per user plus $995 for the server, and advanced version going for $1395 per-user plus $1990 for the server.

Analysts expect CRM software to explode in the medium-sized office space. According to Joe Outlaw, research director at analyst house Gartner-Dataquest, the respective penetration rates of CRM solutions by small and medium-sized enterprises are 2% to 3% and about 20%, respectively.

‘These markets are at early stages of adoption with large opportunities for CRM vendors that approach the markets with the right products and messages,’ he said.

‘SMEs don’t want large-enterprise solutions at discount prices or with minor modifications, such as a few features turned off. SMEs want products and services designed, priced and delivered from vendors that understand their needs and are committed to meeting them.’

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