Microsoft 3.0 Is a Go
Eager to get an early jump on its Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 release, Microsoft beat its expected launch date with aplomb, making the product generally available on December 6, instead of the first quarter of 2006. The product release represents the final race of the company's recent trifecta. "People are looking for a new leader in the CRM space. Siebel is being acquired, we're releasing Microsoft 3.0, and there's an uptrend in CRM interest. That's a perfect storm for Microsoft," says Brad Wilson, general manager of Microsoft CRM.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 comes chock full of upgrades and runs inside the very familiar Outlook environment. The latest release adds much needed marketing functionality, enabling sales professionals to create and track the effectiveness of their own "Quick Campaigns."
Unlike competing products that bolt on to Outlook, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 is baked into Outlook. A "Track in CRM" button enables professionals to capture and track incoming emails and subsequent related emails in the CRM database. Any changes made to the contact information in either Outlook or the CRM database automatically update the data in both systems. "If you make the communication difficult, you're not going to be capturing very much information," says Sandy Clifford, director of market technology and IT at the United Way, Greater Twin Cities. "In our organization [Microsoft CRM] helps us keep track of more of the interactions we're having with our donors and constituents." (Clifford and team have been using Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 since November.)
Also, in December 2005 Microsoft Dynamics CRM 3.0 became available in two editions, a Professional and Small Business Edition. The full professional suite ranges in price from $622 to $880 per user, while the Small Business Edition ranges from $440 to $499 per user. Prices for both depend on volume and include the first year of maintenance and support.