Microsoft Introduces CRM Upgrade for Vista, Office 2007

Microsoft plans to ship a retooled version of its Dynamics CRM 3.0 application when Office 2007 and Windows Vista ship at the end of November. The compatibility upgrade is one strategy the company is using to encourage corporate buyers to adopt the new Vista-Office bundle.

Feature-wise, the upgraded CRM application will offer tighter integration with Office and a completely redesigned user interface. The new release will also work with previously supported versions of Office and Windows, the company said.

The product now mimics the look and feel of Office 2007, Dynamics CRM general manager BradWilson told CRM Buyer. To illustrate, he pointed to a technology in Vista called “gadget.”

“It exposesCRM information directly onto the desktop,” he explained. “Users don’t have to go into the CRM application at all,” and they can view call lists, activities and other CRM data points via the desktop, as well.

“It provides incredible visibility,” Wilson added.

Upgraded Security Features

Other Vista-centric features in Dynamics CRM include role-based capabilities, data visualization andbusiness intelligence enhancements, as well as unified communications with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007.

For instance, the new release allows users to store voicemail messages in Outlook and track themautomatically in Dynamics CRM.

Vista’s new upgraded security features — long awaited and one of Microsoft’s fiercely guarded secrets — are also built into Dynamics CRM. Vista’s new BitLocker, forexample, is designed to prevent unauthorized users from accessing CRM data on laptops, according to Microsoft.

New Licensing Options

Microsoft’s new license options include both Business Ready Licensing (BRL) and Modular Based Licensing.

Microsoft Volume Licensing — the same licensing model that is used for Microsoft Office, Windows and Microsoft Exchange — will continue to apply to Dynamics CRM, the company said.

Upgrades will be free to customers with active support agreements. Ultimately, Dynamics CRM be available in 18 languages.

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