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MS CRM to cross Atlantic

With its next release, Microsoft is expanding its CRM footprint across the pond.

Less than a year after entering the CRM market, Microsoft is ramping up its software's worldwide availability.

Microsoft CRM version 1.2 will be offered in more than 20 countries and in nine languages by the end of 2003, company officials said. The new version will offer increased functionality through improved reporting with Crystal Enterprise version 9. It will also offer improved setup, as well as compatibility with Microsoft Windows Server, Exchange Server, Small Business Server and Microsoft Office.

While the software giant announced its intention to go global by the end of the year when it first released Microsoft CRM, the new distribution will include more languages, more countries and more partners than originally planned, said Holly Holt, senior product manager.

The company accelerated the global delivery schedule because of customer demand, officials said. The new schedule means that enhancements originally intended for the global release -- including value-added tax (VAT) and multi-currency functionality -- will be postponed.

There is no timetable for adding those features, according to the company.

Demand in North America for Microsoft CRM was expected, according to Holt. "It's the global demand and breadth we are responding to," Holt said. "Certainly we expected it in Western Europe, but we're also seeing countries raise their hands that we hadn't anticipated."

Microsoft has more than 1,300 partners, 250 ISVs and hundreds of customers, Holt said.

"I don't think it will be terribly long before we'll be over 1,000 [customers]," she added.

The international release will be offered in nine languages: International English, U.S. English, French, Italian, German, Danish, Dutch, Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese.


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