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Microsoft Readies Dynamics CRM Update

Microsoft announced this week it is nearing release of a new version of its customer relationship management (CRM) software -- Microsoft Dynamics CRM for the 2007 Microsoft Office system and Windows Vista.

Additionally, besides continuing to be sold via the company's standard volume licensing program, Dynamics CRM will also be offered through the licensing used with Microsoft Dynamics enterprise resource planning (ERP) products.

The updated version features the new "ribbon" user interface as Office 2007, as well as taking advantage of Excel 2007's data visualization enhancements to provide better analysis and decision-making for CRM managers and users, the company said in a statement. It also provides Windows Vista gadgets that let users place CRM activities, analytics and alerts directly onto the desktop or home page.

Microsoft CRM 2007 also supports Microsoft's unified communications initiative with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, enabling users to store voice-mail messages in Outlook and track them automatically in the CRM package. Further, it works with Windows Vista's BitLocker Drive Encryption in Windows Vista to help protect confidential CRM data on laptops from being accessed by unauthorized individuals, the company said.

The new release will work with the 2007 Office release and Windows Vista as well as with previously supported versions of Office and Windows. Upgrades to the new release will be free for customers on active support agreements.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2007 will be released at the same time as the 2007 Office release, which is slated for volume license customers on November 30, and will ultimately be available in 18 languages for small, midsize and enterprise customers, the company said.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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