Released in February, Microsoft's new Windows 2000 operating system is not, as logic would dictate, the successor to the company's consumer operating system, Windows 98, but is instead the follow-up to Windows NT, an operating system for businesses. So, how's the new offering affecting CRM applications? "Almost every CRM program will run under Windows 2000," says CRM guru Rich Bohn. "But the applications won't take advantage of the neat new features of Windows 2000 unless they're certified to run under the new system." Microsoft has a formal certification process. Once an application is certified, the vendor can put a special logo on the software box. "But vendors have to do some work to make their products certifiable," says Bohn.
Talking about operating systems, what about Linux? Are CRM vendors making efforts to certify their products for that renegade, yet free, operating system? According to Bohn, Linux hasn't been a big issue for CRM vendors. Bohn helps about 50 companies a week select SFA and CRM packages. "I can't remember a company asking about Linux compatibility," he says. With the exception of YOUcentric, which is one of the few eCRM solution providers running native on the Linux platform, the companies we surveyed did not support Linux. Although Applix has a Linux Division, which offers productivity and analytic applications for Linux, its CRM solution is not available on Linux. Firstwave has also announced support of the Linux operating system for Firstwave eRM.
To the right are the results of our impromptu survey, showing which vendors are early leaders in the Microsoft Windows 2000 certification process and which are lagging behind.
--Louise Bullis Yarmoff