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Letters to the editor: Making sense of Microsoft's move

SearchCRM recently asked its readers their reaction to Microsoft's foray into the CRM arena. Many believe that Microsoft is just getting its feet wet in the market and will eventually dive in deeper.

SearchCRM recently asked its readers their reaction to Microsoft's foray into the CRM arena. Many believe that Microsoft is just getting its feet wet in the market and will eventually dive in deeper. Here are a few of the responses we received:

Interesting move, as MS is supposed to be plug and play. Is this a bigger long-term change in strategy? They have the Great Plains ERP offering, however this could be a move to complete the jigsaw [puzzle] and make "partners" wake up!. . .If they are offering services in the future, [it] would be quite apt considering the infiltration of the Outlook client into the marketplace. . .

Simon Harper
Managing Director, NHANZ Ltd.

I am writing my comments from a neutral point of view as an IEEE and ACM member. If Microsoft enters the CRM market, it will motivate some customers [by] offering unbeatable prices, even if the suite is unable to compete against the consolidated products [of other vendors]. It is important to consider CRM is far from MS' core business and the company may drive resources based on market response. The huge number of independent partners, developers and consultants focused on pure technology will severely limit successful implementation and growth of such applications.

Leading CRM developers and consultants may have to review [their] price policy to small business, not consolidated by anyone yet. CRM is a key factor for modern companies, but big business will adopt a safer approach and rely on more robust and scalable suites, as well knowledgeable vendors and consultants.

Breno Gomes
Independent IT Business Support Specialist, Dublin, Ireland

I still believe Microsoft will try to buy Onyx (or Pivotal, if they can't get Onyx to say yes). What they're rolling out now might compete with, but you know Microsoft wants to play in the Big Leagues and deploy something integrated with Great Plains that puts them in the same realm with PeopleSoft/Vantive, Oracle, SAP/MySAP, JD Edwards/YOUcentric. They won't want to keep giving the CRM revenues to Siebel, and it will take too long to develop their own enterprise CRM solution.

Kevin Greenan
Senior Manager, Management Solutions, Deloitte & Touche LLP

What would be interesting for me would be a brief synopsis of what other "heavyweights" have been through with their introduction of CRM to see what we can expect from Microsoft. For instance, PeopleSoft, Oracle and SAP have all introduced CRM to their offerings through different methods and all have had their problems. What did the different vendors do and what problems have they sorted out versus what problems do they still have?

Steve Holley
CRM Consultant, SDS

I think that this brings a interesting dynamic to the marketplace, as do most MS product announcements. One thing that MS has in the SME market is trust. When you run an SME you go with as many big names as possible (that you can afford), and I feel that companies have not been let down by MS on the application side of the fence.

As a FrontRange consultant, I think there will be some pinch and it will be interesting to see how businesses take the new option in CRM. Our effective edge is that MS CRM is new and we have been doing it for 10 plus years already. Most people expect that MS needs two to three releases to perfect their software and there just is not enough .NET in the SME to dispel this notion.

Michael C. Doria
Vice president of sales, Interlink Technologies

[Do] you think they will try and acquire Onyx and then have a steady platform to work from or start from "ground zero"?

Chris Hansen
Sales manager, PayrollAmerica

I believe the sales forces of the SME market (and even larger players) still at heart want simple contact, activity, forecast and task management with simple backward integration to some marketing activities. Provide the ability to track a lead from inception to the pipeline, and allow that from a few channels (events, Web, partners), and you have a nice little product. Many of the niche silo SFA/CRM solutions integrate with Microsoft products for task management and calendaring, but what better player to do that than Microsoft themselves.

I read a statistic last month that said more than 80% of companies are still using less than 25% of the full functionality of their CRM solution. This tells me that if you take the basics of SFA (not the full blown CRM), make them flawless and integrated with the departments that need this visibility, [then] you're in the right ballpark for the SME market.

Tom DelMonte
Manager, Sales & Marketing Business Applications, SAP America, Inc.


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